Friday, April 07, 2006

Clearout day in the paperless office!

Working in the IT industry, everything's online. Email folders, document repositories, websites and even wikis. But is paper really a thing of the past?

Not when they upgrade the printers every few years, allowing us to churn out stapled, two-to-a-page-double-sided and booklet format printouts, even faster than before.

The paperless office is a myth.

Today was designated as clearout day across our floor. Sixty people ferreting in their cupboards and drawers, throwing out mountains of printouts, course notes, newspapers, torn-out magazine articles, Dilbert cartoons, old PDA cables for hardware that is extinct. All toiling away with the promise of free pizza, lasagne and beer at 4pm.

Internally, we reorganise every 18 months or so - resulting in new department names and logos etc. Amongst all the rubbish, I made nostalgic discoveries:

  • branded CD-case calendars from 5 years ago, reminding us of the organisational change that would "last for 10 years";
  • logos that we'd mocked up to lampoon some of the wackier organisational name changes;
  • two boxes of Oxfam fair-trade tea bags (best before date of 2000);
  • photos from a colleagues wedding five years ago;
  • my final year project from university (something about Fortran, eigenvalues and eigenvectors);
  • photos of my house (not the current one, nor the previous one, but the one before) - note the high-contrast colour scheme left by the previous owner.

In another two years time, I'll be able to enjoy another clearout - assuming I'm still working here and the company still exists!

And if we really want to go paperless ... let's make the printers slower and less functional, and that might just stop us from hitting Control-P so often.

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