A Desk With A View

This distracting vista is the view from my desk – if I turn my head slightly to the left, this is what I see.  Left of the frame: Houses of Parliament, centre of the frame, London Eye and Thames River.  There’s more of a panorama I didn’t photograph: out of shot to the right is the Gherkin and the Shard.

Don’t let my physically elevated state fool you – I may have a view that many CEOs could only dream of, but I am still a middle-tier staff member on probation struggling to come to grips with what the hell I am doing.

Everything good about my desk space is situated outside the window.  Inside the window, the office takes on a kind of minimalist utility approach to decor.  There are no pictures, few plants, and ‘clear desk’ policy.  The ‘clear desk’ policy means not leaving a single piece of paper on display, lest it suddenly find itself all over the internet from Arse-ange to ZOMG.  It also means pretending nobody works at your desk, least of all you.

In previous employment, I have adorned my workspace with various cynical cartoons.  This one was a particular favourite:

I also had a few plants, a giant Tube map, and a world map where people who visited my desk could stick pins to mark the places they had been.

I’m slowly plucking up the courage to ask long-standing co-workers if it is acceptable to decorate.  I wouldn’t normally ask, but after close observation, other people’s decor is very very small and inconspicuous, and predominantly consists of photographs of their children.  I think I’ll start cautiously, possibly with a succulent on the windowsill (the windows don’t open, naturally) since some colleagues do have plants.  With permission, and once I’ve proven myself a useful worker, I could consider moving on to an inoffensive poster to cover up the putrid green wall behind me.  My desk-neighbour (also a newbie) and I have discussed it and while she doesn’t object at all to decor, she wasn’t sure whether The Management would view this display of individuality with fear and opprobrium.

It is somewhat soul-destroying to arrive at a desk which every day looks like a newbie desk.

In days past, I wouldn’t care.  I would do what I wanted until someone asked me to stop. But those were days before I suffered a prolonged period of under- and un- employment, and I am not into taking risks while they can still fire me at will.

I am even becoming accustomed to the commute.  One hour there, one hour fifteen minutes back again.  I barely even notice it now – I spend it reading and trying to ignore the rancid stench that often curls its way into my nose.  I mean, really: if you’re going to be in a crammed hot train please ensure you fucking shower beforehand.  That way, the rest of us don’t arrive at work feeling like we need a shower when we just had one an hour and a half ago.

And now!  For another episode of Colleagues Who Look Like Famous People:

Seriously.  Certain things seem designed to test my focus with this job – the view, and the uncanny resemblances to movie stars.  I must not give in to daydreaming…

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6 Responses to “A Desk With A View”


  1. 1 Jen August 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    I covet that view, but am delighted that if I can’t have it, you can. I imagine it’s lovely even on a cloudy day.

    I find the clean desk policy to be perplexing. What is the point? Are you allowed to have papers on the desk while working?

  2. 2 Jenn @ Juggling Life August 28, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Having a hard time picturing working at a totally clean desk. And I’m a neatnik who has the cleanest desk of anyone in my office.

    That is a wowza view!

    • 3 Nic @ Life, Smudged. August 31, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      I should have explained the clear desk policy better – I can have papers out during the day, but before I leave I have to remove all of it from my desk and put it in a locked cupboard. It’s because what I do involves hyper-confidential information and there is a fear that if someone broke in (or, I suppose, if cleaning staff simply looked or took) there would be a major data protection breach and potentially damaging consequences for individual members of the public.

  3. 4 mrs. g. August 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    That really is a great view. I would slowly decorate. You might start a trend. It is your office, right?

  4. 6 ohio virtual office July 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    I every time emailed this web site post page to all my contacts,
    for the reason that if like to read it then my friends will too.


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