My wife was cleaning out boxes the other day and showed me a couple of books she wanted me to take to the used-book store. I’m a bookkeeper. No, not the accountant type (after all, I am an internal auditor – I don’t do original work); but the kind who hoardes books. I greatly resist (nigh onto sickness) the idea of taking anything to the used-book store (except myself – to buy more books.) I opened one of the books, read one line, and instantly agreed to take these vile, demon-spawned tools of really yucky advice out of that bastion of sensibility I call my home.
That advice? Keep a clean desk.
Everyone works different ways. I know people who maintain desks in such a manner that you could eat your bacon and eggs directly off that desk. In my case, there may well be bacon and eggs on that desk.
But it works for me. And 30 years of work habits will not fly out the window because of the ill-advised suggestions of a goody-two-shoes who thinks, like a nuhdzing mother, the best way for you to run your life is to “clean up your room.”
And think about that the next time you are talking to an auditee and you know — you just know — you have the spiffiest, most absolutely perfect idea for ways they can make their business run better, their profits soar higher, their expenses plummet deeper, and their room get cleaner. There is a good chance they have 30 years of experience on how to achieve those things, and there is a chance, just an inkling of a chance, that they’ve already thought about the way you’re going to suggest, and it’s been tried before, and it has failed before, and the way they run things is the way things need to run.
I’m not saying don’t come up with ideas and suggestions. I am saying that, just because the desk looks messy to you, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right way to run the business.
(And, as an extra present [if this thing actually works], a picture of my desk at work.