Our genuine hope is that in any given week this year, or since you’ve joined Eg, that you’ve known our gratitude for you. But, in order to truly get an idea of how this goes for us, you’re going to have to go through an exercise with me here for a moment. But there are going to be challenges (doesn’t every good exercise have its challenges?).
Old-timer E-gineers, you’re going to be challenged because it’s potentially been awhile since you could remember our smaller and more naïve days of innocence. You have an asset: at least you can draw on that memory. However, you also have a liability: for some of us old-in-life (not just old-in-Eg), memory proves to be a challenge more and more each year.
Some of you newer E-gineerlings (new term, just made it up!) are going to be challenged because it may take greater effort on your imagination. You won’t have that “back in the smaller Eg days” memory to leverage, so you’ll have to extrapo-imagin-elate. And if you think that’s hard to say, well try typing it some time.
In whichever case, I hope this exercise will be helpful as we ask you to try to imagine and empathize with us in our expression to you of our deep and genuine gratitude.
There was a family of toy makers. All brothers. But the thing is, they didn’t really make toys all that often. They typically found themselves repairing existing toys. Or repainting older toys. Or working on one small aspect of a much larger toy. Or making an older toy do something very, very different from what it used to do by adding limbs and wings, or wheels, or bells and whistles, or gears and stuff like that. The thing is, they worked on toys like this because of course they enjoyed it, and it’s what they felt like they were made to do. But in no small way, they worked on those toys because they loved to see the looks on the toy-owners’ faces when they handed over those “new” toys.
Now listen, this is no silly fairy tale. Of course not all of their customers appreciated the unrequested, undocumented features that were added to (or accidentally left in) the toys from time to time. But still, all in all: toy making was good. They loved it. Their customers loved it. How could it possibly get any better?
Well… as it so happens in the “Small Good Toy Maker Grows Into Larger Good Toy Maker” archetype, there was an increase in happy-faced customer needs. So in order to keep their increasing customer base in the Happy-Face Wearing business, the good toy makers invited some other good toy makers along to help out. The thing is, as the original toy making brothers worked alongside these new toy makers, their joy in toy-making increased. To watch these other toy makers work amazed those brothers. They would learn from each other, grow in their skills together, have dinner from time to time, get to know each others’ families, play boardgames at lunch, compete with each other in fantasy leagues, and generally go to local sports teams’ games together and make some noise.
I mean, times were good before. But how could they have possibly known that it could be this good now? There was joy in the work itself, joy in the handing over a toy of very good (if not great!) craftsmanship to another smiling customer, joy in the working alongside other fantastic toy makers… And an inexpressible joy in the notion that ‘This’ is what ‘It’, or at least part of ‘It,’ is really all about.
Things were so good in Toy-gineering (for, that’s what the brothers ended up calling the “business” – even though they disliked the term “business” and preferred something warmer and closer to “family” without unintentionally invoking thoughts of the mafia or “The Firm”)… Ahem. As I was saying: Things were so good in Toy-gineering that there were people, unfathomably important people, who worked there that didn’t even craft toys. These non-toy-crafting but utterly essential people took great, often secret joy in serving the toy-crafters behind the scenes. Some of the well-meaning toy crafters probably even took the non-toy-crafters for granted from time to time. Tsk tsk. But the toy shop just couldn’t run without those folks. (Insensitive, thoughtless people sometimes heartlessly referred to some of those folks as “overhead.”)
Toy craft increased. The number of happy customers increased. Joy increased. And then the brothers tried to figure out how to appropriately say, “Thanks for that.” So they asked one of the “less-crafty” brothers to write something up, and well this is it.
What started out as a great adventure and a lot of fun, has grown into something far more enjoyable than we could’ve possibly imagined. And our joy isn’t what we see on the bottom line on some financial version of a TPS report (sans coversheet cos we’re still somewhat, if harmlessly, rebellious). Our joy is in getting to do this thing some people call “work,” but that we call “life,” with you all.
We try to share with you what we have come to know and experience so that you can more fully understand us. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete – that you may fully share our joy doubles our joy. (That’s a serious case of joy-recursion there.)
…We are grateful for you, thankful for you, and we’re just generally glad that you’re here with us as we make the best “toys” around Indy.
May God bless you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.