Next week IVP undertakes its annual ritual of taking stock. I don’t mean we will evaluate how well we did or didn’t hit our goals for the end of our fiscal year on June 30. Rather almost all office personnel are commandeered by those in our accounting department and our distribution center to “do inventory.” I and my colleagues will don lightweight grubbies (the forecast is for the high eighties) and partner with our more warehouse-savvy comrades to count books.
We will clamber over hundreds of pallets, endure thousands of paper cuts and inhale billows of dust as we do our mathematical best to make accurate first counts, second counts and (where we have been arithmetically challenged) third counts. All these figures are fed into a magic black box where these figures are compared with what the computer says we are supposed to have on hand. Print quantity minus sales–hopefully–equals inventory.
As soon as inventory is announced, some folks in the office (you know who you are!) immediately schedule a prior engagement. For myself, I enjoy it. It’s a nice, physical break from sitting in a chair thinking great thoughts. It also gives me a good appreciation for what a print run looks like. That helps me be realistic when it comes time to think about how many copies of a book we should print.
It’s also a good chance to mix with folks from other departments. It can be so easy to get stuck in a silo and only interact with the same dozen people all the time. As we like to say, it fosters esprit de corps, if not joie de vivre.
There’s also a clear sense of accomplishment. In the job I’ve got now, I’m never done. There’s always more. But with inventory, you know when you’ve finished, and there’s a sense of satisfaction with that.
So if you don’t get to do inventory where you work, speak up. Demand your rights. And don’t forget your pocket calculator.