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Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness, But You’re Not God

, , , , , | Working | March 24, 2021

My job involves standards and policies. As most of it is paper-based, my desk gets very busy.

However, I keep things tidy and my office has a strict clean desk policy, meaning you can’t leave it looking a mess overnight or when it’s not in use.

I have a big review coming up so I have a lot of the company’s documents, plans, and the legislation open. I’m trying to make sure changes to worldwide legal requirements are reflected across the company’s standards. Unfortunately, this means going through a lot by hand.

After a few hours, I grab a coffee and step outside for some air. I return to my desk to find all of my paperwork missing. My coworker comes up to me.

Coworker: “I’m so sorry. I tried to stop her but she wouldn’t listen.”

Me: “What happened?”

Coworker: “[Office Busybody] came over and started grabbing all the papers. Something about a tidiness audit.”

Me: “You have to be kidding me.”

Coworker: “She took it to the director’s office.”

I have heard of the tidiness audit; [Office Busybody] made up this audit and put herself in charge. Most people just let her do it as it stops her bothering them. I go to the director’s office.

Office Busybody: “There he is: the company’s most wanted messy desk award winner.”

Director: “Is this all yours? I got to say, I’m surprised.”

Me: “I was working on it; I spent three hours going through it all, line by line. I came back and it was gone.”

Office Busybody: “Oh, you fibber. You were nowhere to be seen.”

Me: “I stepped out for a coffee; I was gone five minutes.”

Office Busybody: “You know the rule: clean desks.”

Me: “Clean desks at the end of the day, not while you are working on it. And by the way, it’s not an office rule until it is entered into the company’s policies — a job I do — so no, it’s not even a rule.”

Director: “I think you’re dismissed.”

Office Busybody: “What, me?! Fine. I’m going!”

Director: *To me* “Have you lost much time?”

Me: “Luckily, I recorded everything, but it is going to take me an hour to get back to where I was.”

Director: “Okay, thanks, and don’t worry. I will have a word with [Office Busybody]; she won’t be doing any of this tidiness stuff anymore.”

Thankfully, he did put an end to it; however, [Office Busybody] couldn’t work out what she had done wrong. She tried to boss some people around about their desks, but luckily, she was shot down.

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