Back in the halcyon days of my early twenties (remember those? When ramen noodles were an acceptable dinner and you looked so damn cute in your Forever 21 jackets?), I was installed at my very first grown-up desk.
Having previously only experienced the cramped joys of hot-desking at a work study job, I was thrilled at the prospect of having (and decorating) my very own slab of Ikea’s finest green lucite. I decided I’d always have fresh flowers and would dedicate a whole drawer to healthy snacks and supplements to share with the rest of the office. My plastic paradise would be immaculate!
Of course, three very important things happen when you’re a) the closest desk to the door and b) the most junior person on staff:
1. Your desk turns into an absolute garbage dump.
Stray packages, doggy chew toys, Palm Pilot chargers from 1999, scribbled-upon Post-Its, half-chewed pens, denatured plutonium – if you can name it, it will end up on your desk. And it will somehow asexually reproduce, leading you to believe that spontaneous generation is totally real.
2. Fingerprints, fingerprints, fingerprints.
Have a little pressed powder and a makeup brush you don’t care about? Great. Dust your desk for fingerprints. It’s fine to feel a little bit faint – normal even! Just put your head between your knees and breathe deeply until the bad thoughts go away.
3. You will hold Sharpies and Dry-Erase markers for ransom.
Everyone who has ever worked in an office has thieved one of these items. It is a rite of passage, and it is a fact. Keep your favorites in your purse.
Four years and five desks later, I’m slowly learning to accept the fact that unless I suddenly start working for Poppin (or Kate Spade’s office line) there’s a really good chance that my desk will never be the pristine space I’ve dreamed of.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped me from color-coordinating the hell out of everything on it and hoping for the best. So there’s that.