I am a hoarder. I’m a proverbial squirrel, rummaging through all kinds of piles of seeming rubbish to pull out stuff that seems useful and storing it away for when it will be needed.
A few weeks back, we shifted offices. Amidst the ensuing excitement were the usual moans over packing. Well I enjoyed it. It was like a treasure-hunt. In the process of emptying out my shelves and desk, I found the following:
– Several pens, only half-used
– A box of my old visiting cards. (I know they’re invalid since the contacts will all need to be changed, but what the hell its good to know one of those mysteries got cleared up!)
– All the manuals I was handed during training and which I neatly filed away (and which I’ve never touched after that!)
– Inter-office memos for a weekend party that was planned in August 2005 (and cancelled in favour of a movie later)
– Back issues of Bombay Times, Mid-day, Economic Times and Business Standard (yes, we don’t read only the tabloids!!)
– Highlighters in three different colours, and all in working condition. Now these are a prime find! Yipppeeee….I can colour-code my work besides high-lighting the important points (and umm….brighten up those flowers, stars and illegible scribbles that I doodle during meetings)
– Two staplers. This office is divided into the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ on the basis of ownership of staplers. I’m in the ultra-elite league being in possession of two! Of course I’ve hidden one away, in a manner true to all hoarders!
– The menus of all the restaurants in the vicinity as well as several outdated discount coupons (sob! sob!)
So here we are several days later in a sparkling new office. Each of us has twice the amount of space to mess around in. Remember swinging around on swivel-chairs in daddy’s office as a kid? I haven’t forgotten. Rather unfortunately my colleagues in closest proximity have an equally annoying habit of stretching out nearly flat in their chairs. This makes it rather much like an obstacle-course than a merry-go-round.
I remember reading some law in b-school that “Work expands to fill the time it is allotted.” The corollary to that is “Mess expands to fill the space it is allowed.” Within three days we managed to fill up the new-and-bigger shelves, desks and pull-out drawers. The extra cubicle in the corner for some future employee has an illusory look of neatness. All the garbage that didn’t fit into our cupboards is straining within the drawers under that table. And oh of course this ‘garbage’ includes important looking documents that no one will want to risk throwing away but without names or references….rendering them untraceable back to the original ‘trashee’. I pity our next new colleague, whoever he or she will be. Ah well….they’ll just have to get used to the laws of the office jungle.