My Messy Desk Under Fire


I’ve written before about the chaos that is my desk at work. Unfortunately, disorder does not stop at my desk, as I discovered to my detriment earlier this week.

I was cleaning out some old voicemails when I came across one to which I had not previously listened. Being in marketing at the bookstore, the majority of voicemails that I get are from companies wanting to pitch me ad space on their respective newspaper, magazine, internet site, or whatever. Occasionally, I’ll get a wrong phone call meant for the marketing department of Baker Publishing Group, the parent corporation for the bookstore where I work. But the voicemail that I discovered was different.

Here’s how it starts:

“Hi Josh. My name is Sue Shellenbarger. I’m the work and family columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I came upon your blog while I was researching a column and I read a delightful post. It was about your cluttered desk and you wrote just a really sweet piece about how your job requires you to think outside the box and if a little bit of clutter helps you to do that, then so be it. That’s exactly the viewpoint I’m trying to get into this next column of mine…”

The date of this voicemail is from just over a month ago.

I was crestfallen. I missed a huge opportunity!

I might have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal. My blog may have been mentioned or linked to Sue Shellenbarger’s article. But I didn’t catch her voicemail until it was a month too late to do anything about it.

The point of the blog post that Sue had mentioned was that clutter can help creative types like me do our creative thing well. And while I love being creative, being disorderly, and living in chaos, my voicemail-missing lifestyle has proven that I’ve been experiencing too much of a good thing. There needs to be some order, some priorities amid the chaos so opportunities like free promotion in the world-famous Wall Street Journal don’t pass one by.

So would you like to know what I’m doing today? I’m going to clean my desk. I’m going to get organized. And I’m going to email Ms. Shellenbarger at the Wall Street Journal and compliment her on a fine article (read it here) and apologize for not contacting her sooner.

If you are messy like me, please learn from my mistakes. Accept your mess only if it does not keep you from life’s opportunities.


2 responses to “My Messy Desk Under Fire

  1. That is a terrible shame. 😦
    Moments like that are painful, but it won’t happen again, right?

    I’ve been clearing my desk space recently; we’re having a party for my sons soon and will need the space in the study. Plus my desktop computer died, so there is a lot of stuff to get rid of.
    I used to really enjoy working amongst the clutter (since I genuinely did know where everything was, even though I had to dig for it). But last night I needed one of my notebooks and just stood up and plucked it from the shelf.
    Normally that would have taken at least five minutes to find.

    I’ve no idea which I prefer and I’m not sure I’ll find out either because I know me… very soon the mess will be back with new things I’ve acquired. Ho hum. 🙂

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