I think the fact that my desk at work was often covered with paperwork, labels, charts, and post-it notes was just a sign that I had a lot of work to do and that I was doing it. But some of my coworkers had clean desks and I know for a fact that they were still getting their work done. I think they did something that I only did once a year or so: THEY FILED THINGS.
When I first started at this company, I was the IT Secretary. I have no clue why they didn’t change the job title to Administrative Assistant, as that seems to be the PC term, but I just wanted a job with benefits while I finished my last classes for my ever-useful English BA so I took it, job title and all.
And then do you know what I found out?
THEY MADE ME FILE.
But thankfully there was a cubicle next to me that was empty so I used it to store things to be filed. Strangely enough, it kept getting filled up with more and more papers. I swear, I filed things, though. Friday was filing day.
After several months of spending Fridays filing (and wearing Capris… Friday was also Capri day, oh, and it was also Friday High Five day, but people didn’t always play along with that one), I decided the best way to get out of File-for-Fun Fridays was to get a new job.
So I transferred.
They paid me more for doing it, too.
I moved around the corner, we hired a new secretary and I trained her on how to file. Luckily, she, too, had learned how to alphabetize back in elementary school so the training was pretty easy.
In the new job, I had minimal paperwork. Mostly, I just had documents on processes for how we built things in the computer system. They started out in piles on my desk, but I was sitting in a large cubicle and sharing it with a very neat coworker, “Stacky.” She never said she didn’t like my piles of paper, but her side was so neat. Eventually I decided to use the filing cabinet that my new boss had purchased for me and wrote some labels on a hand full of folders.
I filed my paperwork and had a clean desk.
Then they promoted me. That meant they paid me more… again. Nice.
I even got my own desk and now I sat across from Stacky. By this point, we found ourselves getting even more paperwork, which actually meant that we were getting even more work, but can I tell you what was GREAT about this paperwork? It was REQUIRED to be filed. And guess what your boss does when everyone in your department is REQUIRED to get their paperwork filed and she doesn’t want you to get behind or forget to do it?
SHE HAS THE SECRETARY DO IT!
When I finished with my paperwork, I put it into an outbox and it went on its merry little way to the filing cabinet at the end of the row on the new secretary’s Filing Fridays.
My desk remained clean.
And then I decided that I should find a way to get some more money again so guess what I did? I transferred.
And they paid me more. Nice.
And then I found out there was even MORE paperwork in the new job. So I did what I did best. I put it in an outbox on my desk (which really meant that I put it on a pile on my desk). Filing Fridays came and went and NOTHING HAPPENED.
Oh man. They were paying me more because now I would have to file MY OWN PAPERWORK. They didn’t pay me enough.
Before long, there were papers that needed to be filed on top of my label printer, then in between my computers, then in the corner of my desk. I kept telling myself that this way, I wouldn’t have to dust my desk ever. Just add to the paperwork pile every now and then and there would be a new top paper to gather a wee bit of dust. Good plan, right?
I did this for a couple of years.
And then I decided to try the whole transfer thing again and guess what? I got THAT job, too. And they even wanted to pay me more. Wow. I started to wonder: would I have to file EVEN MORE?
When leaving the old just two weeks ago, it took me an entire day to go through those piles of paperwork on my desk and file them. Not bad, actually. And then I moved to the new desk and it was lovely how nice and clean it was. JUST LOVELY!
It lasted for a week.
I have four small piles of paperwork on my desk today.
Oh, and the secretary is out on maternity leave.
Looks like for today, the Filing Friday will be so much fun! And when I get all the small piles put away (which I will do, oh yes, yes I will), then I will dust all of the empty desk space. And by dust, I really just mean wipe it down with a Lysol wipe.
I really missed Filing Fridays for the past four years. Glad they’re back.