Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today's fortune: January 4, 2011

Today's fortune: Versatility is one of your outstanding traits.

This fortune is an egotistical writer's dream. And, it creates a new and popular category of cookie wisdom we haven't yet seen on "My Daily Fortune:" the Pep Talk.

A Pep Talk fortune tells the reader something great about his or herself. It's a nice little pick-me-up when you're feeling bloated at the end of a Chinese dinner.

But imagine someone was actually saying this to you. It may not be just a simple, no-strings-attached compliment, right? The speaker may be reminding you what your best trait is so you could use it in your favor. Or, even better, so you could use it to help others.

Let's talk about versatility. This is actually one of the traits in which I have prided myself. As a newspaper journalist, I always made sure I knew how to do everything in the editorial department. Oftentimes, this was out of necessity, since I've worked for newspapers where entire the editorial staff consisted of one Matt Kelsey. In situations like that, versatility is not only a good trait, it's a requirement. You must know how to do it all.

A more recent example: I worked for the U.S. Census Bureau for nine months this summer, first as a clerk in the administration department, then as a supervisor in field operations. During my time at the Census Bureau, I made an effort to at least dabble in every single department. I volunteered for jobs and I never turned down a task. As a result, I was viewed as a valuable member of the team, and in fact, except for the office managers and one supervisor, I held a job longer than any of the hundred or so employees who came through the office.

At my current job, versatility is strongly encouraged. Today, a guest speaker in our training class told us to avoid staying in the same department for too long. He said the people who move around and learn different areas of the business are the same people who will be running the joint five, 10, 20 years down the road.

Obviously, I can use my versatility to further my career. This blog is helping to expand my versatility as a writer.

But the big question is, How can I use my versatility to make the world a better place?

That's sappy, I know. But the fortune says versatility is one of my outstanding traits. If you believe in God, surely you believe God wouldn't give someone an outstanding trait just to let it go to waste.

I'm going to think about this. Today's fortune is not a one-day experiment. I have a feeling this one will nag at me the whole year. Check back for updates.