Friday, April 07, 2006

Head Space

At work, we're moving offices on Monday. We're not moving buildings, just moving across the courtyard into another, larger, open plan space which we'll share with several other teams.

It's going to be stressful, and frenetic, and hard work, since I work for a charity and we do our own office moves. There will be frayed tempers, and it'll be hard to make sure everyone gets what they need out of their workspace, and what they want out of the available furniture etc. I'm one of those who hates confrontations, and although I'm fussy about my workspace, I rarely defend my preferences at work. Morale is low, and some who are moving offices don't want to.

I've also found it surprisingly emotional and difficult to organise my desk (aka The Twilight Zone) and my files (aka The Piles). I've worked at this desk for a month shy of five years now, and I've dug myself in like a hermit crab in a too-tight shell. And there are... reminders. Old foodstuffs, long past their best before. Old postcards, old notes. Photos of Piggy, who died September last year, and Merlin who died March last year. And of Geri, gone but never forgotten. I started out hating it, started to find it ennervating, and now I'm enjoying clearing the slate.

I found things in my in tray and filing tray dating from two years earlier (yes, that's how stupidly busy we are - if it's not urgent, there's no time to do it), and 95% of the contents of those trays were no longer relevant and could be recycled. I threw away papers from projects I don't work with anymore, partnerships that don't exist anymore, and reports that I know aren't relevant anymore. Then I realised I was throwing away redundant paperwork from projects that hadn't come off three years ago.... and in doing so was disposing of a load of guilt I was still carrying.

Of course, it's awful that I still felt bad about things that were not only three years old, but also beyond my control, but it did feel marvellous to ceremonially dispose of not just the papers, but the guilt, too. In clearing my space, I was clearing my head, too. I'm wondering if I ought to employ this approach in my home office and writing space... but it's a bit drastic!

So moving on Monday will be fraught, but it will be positive, too. A new start.

Wish us luck.


At 1:21 pm, Blogger Trace said...

YAY to new starts!

At 2:33 pm, Blogger Sadhbh said...

What I can't understand is why you didn't let the kitties loose on your workdesk too!


At 3:39 pm, Blogger Tess said...

Clearing things out can be cathartic :-) I know, cause I'm doing it at home, for the big move. Lots of stuff (clothes, books, paper) have been tossed or, sent to the Salvation Army so others can benefit from them (mostly clothes here)

At 5:05 pm, Blogger Sela Carsen said...

I'm in the same boat as Tess and while it can be overwhelming, it's also very heart-lightening. Enjoy the positives!

At 10:22 pm, Anonymous Julie Cohen said...

I know just what you mean. I cleaned out my in-tray before the Easter holiday and I found papers from last year that I had not marked.

I nearly held on to them, feeling very guilty. And then I realised that the kids wouldn't even remember doing the work! HA! I threw it all in the bin!

It felt great. I'm glad to see you felt the same way.

At 12:19 am, Anonymous Kim said...

Moving is a great time to clean out the old and prepare for the future.
I always find good memories in those filing cabinets.

At 8:09 am, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

LOL, I've got this rabbit in the headlights look from considering the cats let loose on the office... ggg

Thanks Trace!

Of course, you and Sela, Tess, are doing the real thing. Good luck to you both!

Exactly, Julie! Some of the things I've diposed of have survived previous clean outs because I'd had this misguided thought that I should hang on to them... all I was hanging on to was the guilt.

Yes, Kim, there were good memories, too. I'm finally getting a sense that I'm making a difference, and for the better. That's what I crave in my job, and it's good to see.


Post a Comment

<< Home