Saturday, 15 August 2009

See, everyone, I don't have a life

I read an article in this weekend's Sydney Morning Herald called See everyone, I do have a life by Hilda Qiroga.

It was about the clutter and little trinkets and photos and things that people put on their desks at work - you know, plants, toys, photos. probably you have an assortment of stuff, whatever you choose.

Ms Qiroga went at length to discuss obvious favourites, such as pictures of loved ones and people posing with celebs or on holiday, and said looking at desk adornments said a lot about a person. "You will discover who they love, what they love, hobbies, political leanings, hopes and aspirations". Then she started to theorise why people do this - do they want to show off that they actually have a life to other colleagues? Or does it make them feel warm and fuzzy just to be near the things you love? And as she pointed out, whichever it is, it's standard practice to have stuff on your desk and you are meant to comment.

On the other hand there are people who choose not to decorate, and Ms Qiroga's tone seemed not to be nearly as 'nice' towards these! While they could be those who just are there to work, and she does theorise that perhaps these people work harder because they aren't distracted and only work - well, it didn't seem like this was something you should admire in them, from the way the article was written, but more like, who is this freak? But then, they aren't the norm, so I guess they would be a freak. She suggested that perhaps they live to work, perhaps they have no time to put up anything, or they have no life outside work. or maybe they are so smug they have no need to display 'annoying snaps' to people in the office. "So smug and self-confident are they, so private and mysterious, they have no need to reassure you that, yes I have a life".

(This leaves out those who might have a work policy against happy snaps. I don't know about any office that has a work policy which says you HAVE to have a goofy pic of yourself on the wall but that could be interesting.)

Anyhow, what type are you?

Personally, I'm one of the no-mess types, one of the freaks, but Ms Qiroga hasn't quite nailed my motivations. Yes, I prefer the lack of mess on the desk because it does get a bit in the way. Also I don't feel the need to show everyone pics of myself. I look terrible in photos anyhow, I don't travel and I don't have celebrities I've met. In fact I can't think of one interesting picture I have of me. I don't even like my graduation pictures. And I just think it's plain stupid to put your passport photo on the wall, it's like having a mug shot there.

One of the things that I don't like about pics and trinkets is a) people do start commenting on them and b) they start touching them. I have trinkets on my desk at home. I'm not too fond of the idea of bringing in something made of glass and somebody says "Hey this looks interesting" and picks it up and then whoops, they've dropped it and now you have shards all over your desk to clean up, and I'll bet you they don't pay for it either. And the fact that they start commenting on them isn't a huge plus to me because hey - see the post on jobs below - I took the personality test and I am a SIT IN THE HOLE AND DON'T DISTURB ME type.

My motivation is I'm an antisocial freak moreso than a smug and self-confident freak.

Other reasons I have never been eager to bring in stuff to work is:

a) paranoia that the cleaner would steal anything valuable
b) If you put all this stuff on your desk at work what it really means is you have to remove it all when you get sacked or resign which with me, is a good chance it will be within a few weeks. I keep it at home, I have had my own bedroom for years and it's less hassle. When I resigned from the last job it was a relief that I had very little to organise to move.
When my brother was made redundant from his last job they wouldn't even let him return to his job for security reasons so they cleaned his desk for him and returned by mail all what they considered to be 'personal belongings' - that is, stuffed them in an old cardboard box and got an Aussie Post Courier to dump them outside our house when noone was home. This included valuables like an iPhone. I find this pretty irresponsible and wouldn't want complete strangers doing that for me - just say they missed something nice or crapped it up?

antisocial, paranoid, and not very good at staying employed freak.

Anyhow, what that really says to me is "don't take anything to work and leave it there that you actually like". And then I think if I don't like it, why do I want it on my desk at all?

Then I end up with nothing, except a novel to read during lunch which I take home with me each day so I can keep reading it on the train and bus home.

Life Outside Work

By the way I guess I don't really try to convince anyone that I have a life outside work but I would say this is a lack of imagination rather than smugness. I tend to say "errrrh nothing really" when anyone says what have I been doing on the weekend. What do others do that's exceiting on weekends that's worth saying, does "Yes I had a most exciting weekend, I woke up on Saturday, read the paper, moved my bowels, searched the fridge for leftovers, searched every channel for something to eat, picked at the fridge again, had a shower, tried the fridge yet again, tried the papers again, played Solitaire for several hours ...." well you get the picture. that tends to be what some of my most exciting bummy weekends might end up sounding like.

Perhaps I should have some made up stories - you know those 'lies for the general good of everyone' tucked up my sleeve.

"Oh everyone, I had a smashing weekend! I had my first ride in a rocket ship, I discovered a new species on Venus, I'm naming it after my mother who inspired me to become an astronaut, on the way back we almost ran out of fuel but I was rescued by a very handsome creature from another galaxy who time-hopped into our Solar System and is actually several million years ahead of us time, and when I got back to Earth I decided to splurge on a facial, get a tattoo and start a new cult!"

I'd better have a few of those. The next one can be something about how I took over a small country and learned how to communicate with hamsters using nose-wiggles. Or something.

No comments: