D is for: Desks. At first glance, mine would have won any award going for the tidiest and most organised. I hated having anything on there other than my computer, keyboard and mouse and a wire tray or two containing my address book, diary, schedule book and a neat pile of manuscripts. But crack open any one of the drawers (which I always kept locked through shame) and it was a woefully different story. The accumulated detritus of layers of 29 years’ worth of stale sweets, melted chocolate, crumbled biscuits, packets of tissues, old post-it notes with indecipherable messages on them (that’s right, even I can’t read my own handwriting), long-lost bits and pieces of stationery, grainy photos of assorted leaving dos and retirement parties, old copies of the magazine kept for reasons long forgotten, enough plastic implements to supply the entire building, sachets of salt and pepper, old pens missing their lids and old lids missing their pens…you get the picture. Every time there was an office move, I lost the will to live at the thought of going through it all, so it just used to end up in a huge plastic sack, only to be decanted straight into the new drawers as soon and as discreetly as possible. Once, my gleeful boss caught me in the act of transferral and took a sneaky photo as evidence of my slovenly, sluttish ways.
However, with each office move our space dwindled until, with the final one, we had to embrace the delightful “hot desking” (or “agile working” as it’s also known. Not sure which is worse) and lockers. No more room for anything other than the bare essentials and certainly nothing was allowed to be left on our desks overnight. I still tried to cram as much as I could into my locker box, of course but most of it had to go and the rest – well, it came home with me when I left. And it’s still here.