Thursday, February 2, 2012
Longtime friend, colleague, and DA associate Norman informed me that his and my desks were some of the messiest in the office, and that "someone" wanted to move us to a less-visible place in the office so that our mess was not so easily seen by visitors to our firm. That "someone" turned out to be Prudence, head of interior design and owner of one of the most hideously-disorganized desks the office has ever seen. I was, needless to say, furious at this news/judgment, and Norman himself wasn't particularly pleased either.
"I bought us a chance to not move," said Norman after a facility committee meeting. "I got everyone to agree that you and I would clean our desks in the next week to a level that was more acceptable."
"Whether you and I move or just clean, the problem is the same," I fumed. "We need time to clean, and we need to make sure we actually have somewhere to put all this shit when we clean or file or throw away or whatever!"
I've been slammed busy since August of 2010, with at least one deadline a week of some sort or another, and Norman has been one or two deadlines a week for the past two-plus years. If you want me to have a clean desk, relieve me of the pressure of my workloads and deadlines, or at least explain to my bosses-all three of them--that I won't be getting their billable work done for the next three or four hours because I'm cleaning in order to placate the capricious needs of someone who doesn't sit anywhere near me, someone whom I in fact very rarely see in my part of the office. Furthermore, if we don't have somewhere to put the boxes I'm filing, or if we don't have big-ass empty recycle bins for the mounds of papers I'm recycling, then it doesn't do much good for me to clean, does it?
I did a little cleaning on Friday, and I approached Howie with a stack of folders with meeting notes and various ephemera from projects dating back to 2007. "Howie, what should I do with all this?" I asked. Howie replied that I would need to go through it and scan what needed to stay, then chuck everything once it was scanned. I then fumed that I didn't have that kind of time, and he sighed.
"We don't have time to be cleaning," he said wearily. "We have work to do." I told him that he was preaching to the choir, but that I was cleaning because someone felt that my desk was offensive to God and humankind and was so dreadful to behold that it frightened children and bruised fruit by its mere existence. Howie waved his hand dismissingly at the accusation. "We're too busy to be messing with that," he replied. "I need your help with this program..."
I then realized that it was perhaps unlikely that I would be moved anytime soon. Yes, I sit in a very visible place in the office, but I also sit in direct eyesight of Howie. If he and I stand up at our desks, we're practically staring at each other about 15 or 20 feet apart. Howie needs to be able to see the people upon which he most relies so that he can say aloud, "So-and-so, I need your help with X and Y for the next hour" and make it so. If I move now, I can only move closer to him--away is not an option.
And Howie outranks Prudence.