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In defense of organizational skills

What are they teaching kids these days? I should not have to tell people that when filing a title like "The Painters Inc." or "The Henson Co.," you do not put it under The. Seriously.

And people smirk and shake their heads and make patronizing pat-her-on-the-head ain't-she-cute remarks when I express this fierceness about keeping files in their intended order. Fine. But my theory of filing, which I know is pretty radical, is as follows: It does you no good to file something if you cannot find it later.

Being organized does not, in itself, indicate psychosis or obsession or a lack of a social life. Yeah, 'cause you hear that all the time, right? "Dude, you've got to get more excitement in your life. Like, try misfiling something! That is a blast." In fact, organizational skills give you more of a life, because you get to spend more time having a life and less time bumbling around trying to find your stuff.

So, patronize all you like, but don't come crying to me when you're tearing your hair out because you can't find that contract you know you put somewhere, or you've misplaced your keys for the 400th time.

Did we need further proof that I should become a librarian? Heh.

In other news, I met Sean Astin.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2004 12:05 am (UTC)
My pet peeve: people who file "Mc" at the beginning of the alphabet. I don't care, people, "a" comes before "c"!

And I just happen to work at a library. ;)
Dec. 10th, 2004 12:05 am (UTC)
Rather, people who file "Mc" at the beginning of the "M"s. :)
Dec. 10th, 2004 05:17 am (UTC)
I would put "Mc" under M-C. Though it gets tricky when someone's name shows up in alternate spellings, sometimes "Mac___" and sometimes "Mc___." I hate that. :)
Dec. 10th, 2004 01:28 am (UTC)
I know, everyone laughs at how anal-retentive I am at work. But when they finally caved and let me re-design their filing system for results (which, before the advent of my Great Plan was not so much a system as it was a lack thereof) they discovered the joy of actually finding stuff after it's been filed and not having to assume that once something has been filed it is Lost Forever. I mean really, people.
Dec. 10th, 2004 05:21 am (UTC)
Whew. Glad I'm not alone in this. :) It's quite dumb how people tend to view the archives as some mysterious place where you need a Ph.D. to figure out the filing system. It is not the labyrinthine set of tests and riddles in the third Indiana Jones film, folks. It's meant to be as simple and straightforward as possible, the goal being to help you find stuff. *shakes head*
Dec. 10th, 2004 06:07 am (UTC)
Exactly! The point of a filing system is so you can find the stuff later!! What other reason can there be for filing things? If you don't need to find files why would you file it? Why not just toss it?? You would not believe what a novel idea this is for most people. Or maybe you would. It blows my mind, anyway.

*huffs* Disorganization drives me to italics.
Dec. 10th, 2004 03:34 am (UTC)
"I think it's indicative of your problem of not being a team player. Even if you think it's better, that's not the way everyone else in the group does it and they're going to resent you for acting like a know-it-all."

LOL. I actually had a manager tell me that once after I kinda singlehandidly redid a organizing system. Mine made sense, their old one didn't. They stuck with mine, but they almost seemed to hate me for it.
Dec. 10th, 2004 05:22 am (UTC)
Hah! Gawd, I hate it when they pull the "because that's not how everyone else does it" argument. Well, what if everyone else's way is stupid? Not trying to be a know-it-all by saying so, but really. :)
Dec. 10th, 2004 06:09 am (UTC)
Well, what if everyone else's way is stupid?

I am going to paint this in three-foot letters across the ceiling at work.
Dec. 10th, 2004 04:10 am (UTC)
Haha...well we don't have a filing system per se, but people laughed at me when I alphabetized our training documents and put them in categories of positions in the hotel. What can I say? I like organization.
Dec. 10th, 2004 05:23 am (UTC)
Yay! See, in my world, that makes you a desirable person to hire. Why would an employer want somebody who didn't value organization, you know?

I alphabetize my books and CD's at home, which people also smirk at. But, once again, it sure makes it quick to find something; and who's laughing THEN? :)
Dec. 10th, 2004 06:08 am (UTC)
I like your approach. My DVDs and CDs are alphabetized. The books, unfortunately, are beyond help. (Given that I ran out of bookshelf space ages ago and now have Many Many books in paper bags stashed around the place, this isn't really surprising.)

Want "cheap filing entertainment"? Work at a university with lots of international applicants. Asians tend to interchange the order of their names at will. Many Arabic students abbreviate their names on various documents in ways that make No Sense to westerners. About every other applicant from certain parts of the world uses the surname Singh, legal or not. Lots of students adopt westernized first names that they use on their applications but not on their transcripts, INS forms, etc. And that doesn't even address the whole idea of maiden vs. married names and the joys of hyphenated surnames. OTOH, it always leaves one with something to do on slow days. "Wanna go through the orphan GRE scores and see if you can match any of these folks up with a real person?"
Dec. 10th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
Likewise a background check company trying to verify the employment of people originating in India, China, South America, etc.

Also: I realize that there is probably a very good reason why most Latin individuals feel compelled to string together every surname on their entire family tree and list them all (never in the same order twice, naturally) as alternate middle/last names on their applications. I just don't know what that reason is. I only know that it has caused me more than one headache.
Dec. 13th, 2004 04:49 am (UTC)
Hehehe. Honoring one's entire ancestry does get tiresome for the archivists, eh? I think everyone should just assign their child an entirely new last name and leave it done.
Dec. 13th, 2004 04:48 am (UTC)
Oy, vey. Good points. I have heard that file organization is a nightmare in Asian countries, where they do not have an "alphabet" as such, and therefore they put stuff in some sort of order that makes sense to the creator of the file system. *head explodes* Thank the gods for our trusty old Greco-Roman writing roots.
Dec. 10th, 2004 06:12 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you thank you THANK YOU!
What ARE they teaching people?!
I work in a pharmacy and I hate when I see some who will place a drug alphabetically in the wrong place. Numbers seem to throw people too....Last I knew 600 came before 800... .:sigh:.

Dec. 13th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC)
6 and 8...I always mix those up. ;)
Dec. 24th, 2004 08:57 am (UTC)
This made me think of you...
...especially given that the person on whom it is based is from Seattle. :-)

Librarian Action Figure!
Dec. 29th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
Re: This made me think of you...
Oh yes! Not only is Nancy Pearl something of a cult celebrity around here, but that store (Archie McPhee) is Seattle-based too. I used to live quite near it. Terribly fun place. I hope someday I have an action figure... fangirl of doooom!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )