Wednesday, October 21, 2009
We’re changing desks at work once again, moving from the north side of our building to the southeast corner. You may recall we did this about six months ago, but in the world of newspapers -- where jobs come and go like cars on a freeway -- people and space are in constant flux. So here we go again.
Last time my boss and I just shifted over to adjacent desks. This time the move is a little more complicated, because it’s farther away and we need to take our files, our printer and our fax machine. I’ve been trying to convince my boss to ditch the fax -- we have a central fax on our floor, and besides, who faxes documents these days? -- but she’s not quite on board with that idea.
My boss, while maybe technically not a “hoarder,” definitely shares characteristics with hoarders. Perhaps “nester” is a better term. She likes to fill her cubicle with stacks of paper, books she never opens, tchotchkes and mementos. It gives her a sense of comfort to be surrounded by stuff. Her desk is her nest.
Moving violates her sense of nesting. She hates being asked to go through stuff and throw things away. She is highly resistant to the act of purging.
I, meanwhile, am the king of the purge. Nowadays the vast majority of what we do occurs on a computer and never translates at all into paper form. So why hold on to antiquated files from conferences that were held in, say, 1994? (My boss would say they’re “archival.”)
Anyway, as you can tell, there’s fodder for conflict in this process. But I usually bow to her wishes. If she really wants to keep something I acquiesce, and I never try to clean out her personal files. (As much as I’d like to.) Every once in a while I just throw something away, and she never notices. Slow and steady wins the race!
(Photo: Meatpacking District, Oct. 2009)