What’s that number?

Saturday 16 November 2013, 3.53am HKT

What IS that mysterious number at the bottom of my every post?

job number

It’s a job number.

Almost everything I do has a unique job number and a ‘slug.’

I’m a printer by trade and a lawyer by background — but a couch potato by inclination (or “ouch potato” as I call myself).

I have a job number for every business project I handle, every business enquiry, every design work and every blog post I put out. This is how I keep track of every job or task.

Additionally, I give it a ‘slug’ or ‘slugname’ — a keyword or keyname for the project, kind of like “Operation Pettycoat,” “Project Manhattan” or “Plan X.”

For example, this very post is Job No. B13379 and slugged “jobnumbers.” For year 2013 (“B13”) this is the 379th job. Therefore, the first job for next year will be B14001. Some of those 379 jobs this year are company projects.

The “B” is just a series label. When Grandma was still living and running the family business, all her job numbers were “A” series. When I took over, it became “B” series, into which I lump everything personal and business-related. I don’t need to finetune things into “personal vs. company” because the job numbers are unique already.

Those relatives of mine who took over the business before me — with their fantastic MBA degrees and whatnot — never had job numbers or slugs, so it was a f*cking shambles.

old rolodex

(Above) The late and lamented Rolodex rotary file system. Mine’s a double card unit that uses standard 3×5 inch index cards … and I have a rare card puncher that makes the required slots. (via Shane Burnett)

I have an “R” series too. As a non-psychopath with no known OCD or “psychpathetic” tendencies, my “R” job numbers are for every thought, every overheard quotation and every personal note I write. And then I file those scribblings away in my Rolodex or file cabinet.

I’ve been using this “two-digit year/running job number” system for years, courtesy of “The Professional Practice of Design” by Dorothy Goslett (1978, London: Batsford Ltd).

Almost everything I buy or spend on has a unique purchase order number.

Every disbursement (expense) and acquisition (purchase) under each job number has its own purchase order number (or “P/O number”) under a “P” series.

Perversely (that is, perverse for a non-random “oldtype” model of human being that I am), I give a job or P/O number even for every personal purchase that I make — which becomes the “asset number” for that item. Obviously, I don’t do that for daily expenses like meals, travel fares, etc, but every major personal purchase has a job or P/O number.

My refrigerator has a Dymo tape label that says “Asset # B01003.” That wreck was my third major purchase for 2001. So I’m reminded every bloody day that my Fridge From Hell was bought 12 years ago.

My ‘Doomsday Book’ is just like William the Conqueror’s — big.

Every year the job numbers run into hundreds — even four figures for some years — and these are logged into a ginormous book called a “Job Register” — which, if you think about this carefully, is tantamount to my own Domesday Book.

Right now, my Job Register is around 15 cm (6 inches) thick — 30 years’ worth of entries — with sheets fastened by binder posts and screws.

binding posts and screws

(via Jay-Cee Sales & Rivets Inc.)

The really hilarious part about my Job Register is seeing the office people becoming totally flummoxed by personal entries mixed in with purely commercial entries, such as:—

“B13200. 18/2 2013. Robert. Purchase, homeware, $27, Jusco.”

“B13375. 13/11 2013. Robert. Photofinishing, 17 enprints, $27, Fotomax.”

“B13376. 13/11 2013. [Client]. Delila SEC Filing. Completed 14/11.”

“B13379. 16/11 2013. TNL. Jobnumbers. Completed 16/11.”

paper piles 2

(via Learn IT! Anytime)



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2013. (B13379)

2 Responses to “What’s that number?”

  1. Ed Hurst said

    You do what makes sense to you. I’m the complete opposite but my head is organized differently than yours. Also, I really don’t do anything :-D


  2. But it IS nice to have an organised head like yours though.


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