March 26, 2007

Naming Dust Bunnies

My workspace is disgusting. Not my workspace at home. Of course that is as clean and tidy as I want it to be. Even if it’s not clean and tidy I don’t mind so much because I know I’m responsible for maintaining it any way I want. I’m talking about my workspace at my day job. The place where I spend forty hours out of my week to earn enough money to make the house payment and pay for the other necessities of life. The workspace my government job has provided for me. It’s disgusting.

And why is my workspace so disgusting, you ask? Because it doesn’t get cleaned. I have the capacity to rationalize just about anything I set my mind to, but the disgustingly dirty workspace is something I can’t get my head around no matter how hard I try to twist it. Here’s the thing: The building, from which my government agency rents space, provides a cleaning service for its tenants. Sounds good, but hold on. As we live in an age of technology and litigation I found out that the cleaning people are not allowed to clean desk tops.

WTF? OK, these cleaning people get paid. I assume they might even belong to a union. I also assume the company for which they work is bonded and insured. I lastly assume that I assume too much because the person who comes into our suite every day, as personable and lovely a lady as she is, is only required to empty waste baskets and push the carpet sweeper around on the floors. I think she brings in an actual vacuum once a week. Anything above waist level is off limits to the cleaning person. It’s not her fault; she’s just doing what she’s told. Because people don’t want their stuff touched, stolen, accidentally poked or prodded, the cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean desk tops. Because some cleaning people have been known to touch, steal, poke and prod the stuff in the offices they clean, they aren’t allowed to clean the desk tops. Because the government has invested thousands of dollars in computer equipment for their workers and they want only their workers to be blamed if something goes awry with that equipment the cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean the desk tops.

So here I sit at my work station, a work station visited and viewed by the general public, pretending it’s not my problem that there is enough dust around me to choke an army. It is my problem. I can’t stand it. I can’t stand the fact that my “bullet-proof” window is covered with hand and nose prints. I can’t stand it that the hundreds of wires giving my computer and video monitor equipment life are so covered with dust they have turned into what look like massive strands of dreadlocks twisting and commingling behind the equipment. I can’t stand it that my phone has black smudges on it. I can’t stand that between the keys of my keyboard reside the crumbs of past-eaten muffins and the husks of long gone popcorn. It’s disgusting, I say. And while I can avoid the crumbs in the keyboard and black smudges on the phone by not eating muffins and washing my hands more often, I still have an entire workspace that is covered with dust, my boss’s coffee mug rings, and all the grease and grime that accompanies actually touching things.

The cleaning people aren’t allowed to clean, and I will go completely insane if I have to work day and in day out in squalor. The only solution to the problem would be if I clean up the filth myself. Not only do I think it’s unfair to make me dust and clean my employment workspace after I spend so much time keeping my private home space clean, I will remind you that I am a government worker. I get paid with your tax dollars. I just don’t think it’s right that I spend my work time cleaning my workspace instead of doing the job I’m paid to do, especially when there are hired cleaning people here every day. I also don’t think it’s right that I’m expected to work among so many dust bunnies that I have taken to naming them.

Sorry guys, I’m going to have to come in to work in my jeans and a t-shirt one day this week and undertake the job of cleaning my desk top, computer equipment, “bullet-proof” glass window, cabinets, and miscellaneous supplies like staplers and tape dispensers instead of actually doing my job. All at the expense of the tax payer.

It just seems wrong, but do you blame me?

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