Monday, July 21, 2008

My office is a wreck and I like it that way

Ever since I got out of college (and even before) and started working, I've had to live with the shame of being a messy Hawg.

Yes, I stack papers, have dirty coffee mugs here and there and have trouble finding my stapler. The drawers in my desk are filled with all manner of things, business cards are strewn all over the place and my piles of paper are roughly divided into the following categories -- must be done now, should be done eventually and who cares?

Regardless, I'm comfortable in my office and I like it. If I'm meeting with people, well that's what a conference room is for, right? I've always been able to get my work done and actually find comfort in my odd, free-form style of organization. It works for me, so that ought to be good enough, right?

Well, no.

Every now and again, I'm reminded to clean up my office by my employer, I say "uh-huh" and generally ignore him. The one time I didn't ignore him, I got three, 60-gallon trash bags, jammed them full of stuff and hauled it all downstairs to the dumpster.

My office was so clean, in fact, that rumors started that I was about to quit. So, these days I tend to just let it ride -- let junk fall where it may and clear stuff off when it starts to cover the Bose speakers hooked up to my computer (the Hawg likes his music).

For years, then, I've had to live with the shame of having a messy office. But, then I found this article suggesting that a sloppy office is actually OK. It seems that a fellow by the name of Eric Abrahamson, a professor of management at Columbia Business School and co-author of A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder, suggested that people who are messy may just be efficient.

Being organized takes time, after all, and it could be that us unorganized slobs are simply busy with other things. Ah, there's a revelation!

Another revelation in the article is that only 11 percent of people making $75,000 or more per year claim to be "neat freaks." It's also worth pointing out that none other than the great Albert Einstein was a renowned slob.

I'm no Einstein and I'm not getting rich in the public relations game, but the point is made -- a sloppy office isn't necessarily an indication of a lazy employee as the same employers who think cubicles and florescent lights are good ideas would have you believe. So, take that, The Man!


maria said...

lol, my working place is a mess too. once i try to rearrange and put things in order, chances are, i won't remember where i put something and it would take a lot of time looking for it.

you're not alone, hehe.


The cup is half full of something I don't like said...

11% huh? I'm going to have to mess up a little.

Regarding your reply to me on Stormin's blog, yeah. I think we failed our children. Even Reagan looks better in the rearview mirror. He sort of lost his mind the last 6 years or so. He also started us down the path of deficit spending my grandkids (not yet born) won't be able to pay off.

The Natural State Hawg said...


That's always been my argument -- if I file all this stuff, how will I be able to find it? What if I throw out something important?

So, I stay messy and don't apologize a bit for it!

The Natural State Hawg said...

The Cup:

Hate to disagree with you there, but I do ;)

The problem with the Reagan years is that he wanted to shrink the government by cutting taxes so that Congress would be forced to cut its budget. Great idea, provided that Congress actually makes some cuts. Those cuts weren't made, thus increased deficit spending (such irresponsible spending was in place well before Reagan).

Reagan's entire term was centered around the novel notion of making the government smaller, thus putting people in a position to succeed or fail on their own merits. That is a core value of the Republican party and, alas, one that has been largely abandoned by the current batch of spendthrift rascals.

Of course, Reagan can be blamed for building up the military, but remember there was a real interest back then in grinding the Soviets into the dirt.

drAnn's ART said...

When I was in alleged "Management" I used to get unsolicited advice from self-proclaimed experts who warned that if a worker whose desk is usually messy starts keeping it all clean, this is a danger signal where the person is either emotionally unstable or looking for a better job. What a crock! An emotionally stable person, I should think, is always looking for a better job.

I do the best I can and expect others to do the same. Clean happens, but the work comes first.

The Natural State Hawg said...


I do believe I agree with every bit of that.

Heh. Even the part about sane people always looking for better jobs. I'd wager than anyone who is less than, say, 50-years-old and isn't looking for a better job has either settled, has the ideal job or if completely nuts.