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Thread: Deskfort construction/ office takeover

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Deskfort construction/ office takeover

    Ok, here's a sticky wicket:
    I started a new job 3 weeks ago. Before starting, I was shown the office I would be sharing with someone. I was promised that the other person in the office was going to clean her things up (maps rolled up en mass sitting on floor, piles of paper everywhere).. started the job, no appreciable change in the cleanliness of the office. Took a preplanned vacation, before which my office mate promised the office was going to have a total makeover while I was gone. Came back, no changes.
    A week later, she has straightened one of tens of piles of paper on her table.
    One day I came back from a meeting and she had piled maps on my desk and my chair while I was out!!
    Here are my issues: I feel that messes grate on people's productivity and nerves
    When I put my jacket on my extra chair, I was winding up with thick dust on my sleeves. Yuck!
    I am basically relegated to a space not much larger than a desk while she has the rest of the office completely cluttered. Fortunately, I face a wall and don't have to look at her stuff all day. However, when you walk into our office, the first thing anyone sees is this mass of maps sitting on the floor and piles everywhere! How unprofessional and embarrassing for me when I have people in!
    When is it time to say something, and to whom do I say it? To her, to our supervisor? Should I just start moving **** around? This morning I vacuumed, dusted and got rid of an empty box of hers and moved her extra chair further from my little space.
    Please send help before the dustbunnies eat me!
    (One day she laughed and showed me a rotten apple from her windowsill that a mouse had chewed on)
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Funny you bring up that situation. I tend to be very organized in my office and my house is the exact opposite. I guess I would like to be sloppier, but because I am juggling +100 open projects at any one time, I cannot afford to be messy.

    Is this your first planning job? Is she in a senior position to you? How much influence do you have, and more importantly how much influence does she have if you get on her bad side?

    Ask yourself, is having a ton of papers on a desk keeping you from doing your job, or is it just a matter of incovenience. Being a army vet, I follow the school of "do what you are told, speak when being spoken to (with the notable exeption of this forum), and don't complain."

    If your job has either a performace review or an annual review, wait until then. If not, wait at least 90 days. You dont wan't to immediately be established with the reputation as a whiner. If paper is piling on your desk, just shove it off. Just deal with it the best way you can. Not everyone will have the same system of oranization that you prefer.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    If your job has either a performace review or an annual review, wait until then. If not, wait at least 90 days
    I absolutely disagree with the first part of this. NEVER let a problem fester until an evaluation of YOUR performance.

    I would wait the 90 days, but in the mean time, leave some subtle hints about that promise.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    i will rephrase that, don't bring it up to your superiors until sufficient time has past, by all means bring it up politely and tactful with your officemate first. If the messy office is significantly damaging the quality of your work, i would address it much sooner.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    Thanks for the input. This woman has been with the organization for multiple years (not exactly sure how many), but she and I are on an equal footing. I don't have a really good feeling for the politics of her position in the organization yet though.
    This isn't my first planning job... I was recruited by this organization to do a specific role which I have apparently proven myself as a leader in. So, I think I have some influence, but I won't delude myself either
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  6. #6
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    She obviously made an attempt to organize, albeit small, so here's a suggestion: offer to help her. Mention to her that you noticed she organized a couple of piles, but that she seems so busy that she might use some help. You might even offer to pay for pizza and turn it into a working lunch.

    I think this might work because it gives her credit for trying to organize, creates an excuse for her not getting it done before so you don't come off as threatening, and creates an opportunity for you to build a positive relationship with someone in the workplace. It also shows you proactively tried to deal with it in case it comes up later during job evals, etc.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Clore's avatar
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    That sounds like a great approach! Thanks for the help!
    ...Moving at the speed of local government

  8. #8

    Hmmm

    Maybe upper management saw you were neat, therefore stuck you with this unorganized lady to help "influence" her to become neater.
    Here's how I would handle it - although I will preface it by saying I am an office smartass and sometimes jokester. I would take leftovers from Christmas gifts (cause everyone has some left) and "plant" them in obscure areas in which she will never look. Meat sticks duct taped to bottoms of office chairs, Olives and cheese stuffed in the backs of drawers that are piled full of stuff. Fruit hidden in the backs of drawers and to the bottoms of desks work well also. Eventually this rotten food smell will drive curiosity to a point where one SHOULD start looking for the source of this odoriferous emination all while subconsciously cleaning drawers by throwing away items no longer of use and by sorting papers into files where they belong. This technique has worked well for me in the past. Usually the sloppy gets the idea that the co-workers are paying attention to their mess.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Are the items cluttering up the area things both of you would use, or just her items? If they are things you both would use (plans, etc), and you are having difficulty doing your job because you can't find anything, then by all means try to form some sort of organization system. If they are only her things, I think it would be more difficult to encourage improvement just because it is cluttered.

  10. #10
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    Slip the fire marshall a $20 to stop by and declare it a fire hazard...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    C'mon and get me you twist of fate
    I'm standing right here Mr. Destiny
    If you want to talk well then I'll relate
    If you don't so what cause you don't scare me

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    Slip the fire marshall a $20 to stop by and declare it a fire hazard...
    Swing by your building inspector's desk and pick up a CONDEMNED sign and plaster it to her desk.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

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