Organized Chaos

Welcome to Mike’s workstation in San Antonio, Texas, USA!

Does this type of setup look recognizable or unusual, ordinary or unfamiliar? While everyone has a “workstation,” not everyone works in a cubicle. What does your workstation look like?

Take a peek at Mike’s responses to the three questions to find out a little bit more about him and what’s going on in his space.


What type of work do you do at your workstation?

“I write reports and conduct research via computer and phone conversations.”

What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?

“I like that it’s mostly quiet around my cubicle. I hate how small the area is underneath my desk due to the awkward placement of the attached file cabinet. It’s too small for my chair to roll under.”

How does your workstation reflect who you are?

“It’s kind of messy. Like the information in my brain, it’s there but not always easy to access.”

What do I see when I look at this picture and read the responses?

I can see what Mike is talking about. The attached file cabinet on the right is thwarting his chair from getting too close, causing Mike to lean forward. Can you say, “ergonomically incorrect”? Like so many people out there, Mike has to put up with a too small area to work in for 8+ hours a day. In spite of this, Mike has filled his desk with those all-important items that help him with his job (drone survival guide on the wall), help him stay hydrated (I see at least three cups), and help him remember that his life isn’t just about the current job (do you see the set of coins to the left of his chair?).

Mike also isn’t afraid of adding a bit of whimsy to his workstation: a Cubeot (that strange wooden creature keeping watch over Mike’s domain) and the red and white handkerchief hanging on the wall and cheerily proclaiming Chili Night 2013.

What is positive about this space, in my opinion?

Working in a cubicle can be tough, but the close quarters keeps all of Mike’s chaos contained and within easy reach, which probably makes his coworkers happy because the cubbyhole prevents Mike’s miscellany from spilling out into the aisle. Mike is the prime example of someone who appears to surround himself with mayhem but knows what he has and the general location of each item. A messy brain and a messy desk aren’t necessarily bad things. Mike is bursting with ideas, and his workstation is bursting at the seams, too.

This is Mike’s space, and it says that while at first glance it appears to be a jumble, it contains the work bits and non-work bits that propel Mike through his day. Everyone’s space tells a story, and Mike’s story is one of organized chaos (stacked files, piles of stuff, and bags on the floor) and one of entrenchment. Mike seems to be hunkered down and ready to get down to business, fighting his cabinet/chair every step of the way.

Are you interested in participating in this informal anthropological project? I hope you are!

Send me a picture of your workstation (preferably with you in it, but you don’t necessarily have to look into the camera), along with your answers to these questions:

  • What type of work do you do at your workstation?
  • What do you like the most and dislike the most about your workstation?
  • How does your workstation reflect who you are?

Is it okay to include your first name and your city, state, and country, or would you prefer to remain anonymous?

By choosing to share your workstation (your desk) with me, you agree to have your picture(s) and words publicized without expectation of any remuneration other than the sheer joy of sharing a snippet of your life with others. I will also provide a bit of observational commentary.

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