It's not easy working for your father. Just ask any son who's in the mold-making or plastics processing business with his father. It's getting close to retirement time for many of the ``founding fathers'' in the plastics industry, and a sizable number look to their sons to take over the family business. But, it's not easy filling those entrepreneurial shoes.
For the fathers, letting go is the toughest part. It's sort of like when the sons were babies learning to walk, when it was much easier to hold tight to their hand than to let go and maybe watch them fall.
Fathers ask themselves a lot of tough questions. ``Will he succeed?'' ``Will he maintain the good name of the company I've built over the past 30 years?'' ``Will he continue the legacy I spent my life nurturing?''
The sons don't have it so easy, either. They know that stepping into their father's shoes sometimes feels like when they were children, clomping around with their tiny feet in size 10 work boots.
At times sons feel their efforts go unnoticed or unappreciated - that they will never be able to live up to their fathers' expectations.
I wrote about fathers and sons in my Sept. 18, Page 47 feature article, because it is a relationship very different than fathers and daughters. I know.
My brothers work with my father at the tool and die shop he began almost 20 years ago, after retiring early from a major OEM.
Daddy trained my oldest brother first. About 10 years ago, my second brother joined the company.
I give them credit that after all these years of running a growing business, they have yet to strangle each other over the conference table.
I recently watched my one brother, now the firm's president, give a plant tour. Pride oozed from his every word. Although my father began the firm, the sons' efforts are showing.
Still, my brother commented recently that he hopes Daddy understands his efforts and appreciates his contributions in creating a thriving, growing company.
I could never work for my father. We are too much alike. It's often different for daughters.
So I take my journalist's hat off to all those fathers out there who've set an example of entrepreneurship and taught us the value of hard work.
And to the sons walking in the footsteps of their fathers, who find the stride long but the reward great.
Goldsberry is a Plastics News correspondent based in Phoenix.