Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today's fortune: August 25, 2011

Today's fortune: Be on the alert for new opportunity.

Back on June 23, I opened a cookie with a nearly identical fortune: "Be alert for new opportunities - pleasure or business." It's my policy to discard duplicates, and I almost tossed this one because it was so similar, but something gave me pause.

The June 23 fortune came from the previous batch of cookies.

That means the fortune cookie gods, in their infinite wisdom, chose to send me a similar message twice in two different cases of cookies made by two completely separate companies.

I think that has significance. Maybe there's an opportunity I missed the first time around. It was on my mind today at work when something interesting happened.

At Acme Co., everyone in the widget department is constantly concerned with their personal "inventory," or how many widgets they're currently working on. Widget makers can always be heard asking their colleagues, "Hey, how many widgets ya got?" Generally, the smaller your inventory, the better you're doing; if your inventory is rising, you're receiving more new widgets than you're finishing; if your inventory is shrinking, the opposite is true.

The bosses like for us to keep our inventories in the 60s or 70s. But the department has been extremely busy lately and everybody's inventory has been high. Two weeks ago, I would have told you my widget inventory was around 85. Before that, it was in the 90s, at one point as high as 99 (thankfully, I haven't been in the triple digits - yet). But this week, thanks to a lower-than-normal widget volume in the whole department, my inventory has been in the low 70s and upper 60s.

This morning when I started work, my intentory was at 68. But then I was able to finish up a handful of widgets, and before I knew it I was at 63.

"Self," I told myself, "if you hustle, I'll be you can get into the 50s before you get your new widgets for the day."

"That's crazy talk!" I replied to myself.

But then I closed two more widgets, and an inventory of 61 stared me in the face. Suddenly I was on the alert for new opportunities to close out widgets. I had a narrow focus this morning: to get my inventory in the 50s.

Then the opportunity came up, and I grabbed it. From time to time, a customer has not one but two widgets. Usually, those two sidgets are handled by two separate widget makers. Today I found a way to handle both of the widgets for the same customer. If I could close both of them, I would squeak under the 60 barrier.

I worked and I worked. And I did it. For a brief, shining moment, my inventory was at 59.

Of course, it only lasted mere moments. Literally five minutes later, I was assigned my new widgets for the day, and my inventory was back up to 67 just like that.

However, I ended the day at 65, and five of those widgets were marked for completion. I should start out the day at an even 60 tomorrow.

I'm pretty happy with that. And I'm glad I didn't throw this fortune away.

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