Waste I

by zenquaker

15 inch pile of paperMonday we got the new version of our data manual at work, which is updated once a year. This catalyzes the annual measuring of The Pile. See, I’m a bit of a minimalist. I try to live simply. I got rid of most of the stuff I own. And generally I only have four things on my desk at work: a computer, a phone, a statue of the Buddha, and The Pile. There are also no pictures hanging on the sides of my cubicle.

The Pile dates back to one of my late coworkers, who we shall codename Brass Sock. Soon after I first minimized my cube (not in the size sense, management is working on taking care of that), Brass Sock started going on tirades about about how people with clean desks obviously don’t do any work. Brass Sock’s desk was a mess, with random piles of paper covering everything, including some of the chairs. If you work in an office, I’m sure you know several slobs, er, people like this, and they all have the same quote: “But I know where everything is.” Well so do I. It’s all in The Pile.

My response to Brass Sock’s tirades was to start The Pile. It contains all the standard paper that I would have otherwise recycled (although not the burn bag stuff). The start of it was the data manual from three years ago. If you look closely, you can see the orange sheet at the bottom which is the cover of the historical comparison section. The second one doesn’t show up too well, but the third one can be glimpsed near the ten inch mark on the ruler. The full measurement of The Pile at this point is 14 and 7/8 inches. Of that, 6 and 3/32 inches are 2009, 3 and 1/4 inches are 2010, and the rest is 2011.

I’ve already got a huge chunk ready for 2012, on top of the 2011 data manual, which I added to The Pile after taking this picture. One of my project managers printed out a two inch stack of information for each person on the team. Single sided. That and the rest of 2012 will require me to move The Pile. You can really see it in the picture above, but The Pile is only a few inches below a cabinet hanging from the side of the cubicle. I’m sure I will be required to move it out from under as 2012 continues and The Pile marches past two feet.

I’ve grown to rather like The Pile. I think of it as my rubber band ball. If I stay in my job until I retire, and keep The Pile up the whole time, at current growth rates it will be over 10 feet tall. I’m just dreading the day when it falls over.