Ask Dr. Job’s chief contributor, Sandra Pesmen, is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide.”

Winner of several journalism awards, Pesmen is a graduate of the University of Illinois Media College at Urbana, and is listed in several Who’s Who editions. She also has been Corporate Features Editor of Crain Communications Inc., founding Features Editor of Crain’s Chicago Business and a reporter/features writer for The Chicago Daily News.

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Neat Desk Indicates Neat Mind

Q. My boss insists that a "neat desk indicates a neat mind" and she walks around the office monitoring the clutter. I do a lot of different things during the day and I always have piles of paper scattered across the desk, even on the floor, both on the left and right of my legs. I know exactly where everything is. No one ever accused me of being disorganized, yet she keeps pestering me to clean up the area when she walks through here. Do I speak up and tell her this is how I work? Or do I put my head down and keep working?

Ans. How about getting more in, out, and holding baskets to set on the floor, and on your desk. Mark them clearly so they aren't scattered like wastebaskets. She does have a point, though that people who are well organized usually do work better even if they don't realize it. Also, if you're really efficient, a lot of those papers should be in your computer, your paperless office. Try and do that organizing and point out to your boss that you've taken her advice and are working to improve the situation. That's bound to impress her more than complaints.

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