Thursday 28 October 2010

inspire me.....

the view at my desk: click to enlarge
The other day, I was hovering around waiting for my boss to show up for a meeting, when I happened to have a closer look at the desk of the director of our department. He's only been in the job a few months, but his desk makes it clear that he means business - he's got a framed quote by Winston Chuchill and everything.

Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.

It's a quote that resonates enough to apparently form one of the mottos of the US Navy Seal special forces unit, but obviously a quote intended to inspire a beleaguered nation during the Second World War could equally well be applied to the cut-throat world of corporate Information Systems.

Me, I choose a different sort of quotation to provide me with the motivation to struggle onwards as I sit at my desk trawling through email:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

When I moved desk a couple of weeks ago, my new neighbours asked me what it was. It's "Résumé", a poem by Dorothy Parker, I replied. Ah, they said. When I came back to my desk a little later, one colleague wasn't quite fast enough at closing down the window on his monitor showing that he had been on wikipedia looking up Dorothy Parker.

Every day's a schoolday, right?


  1. (elsewhere around my desk, I also have:

    > a "Keep Calm and Eat More Pies" postcard
    > a picture of Kumar Shri Ranjitsinghji, the first Indian to play Test Match cricket
    > a postcard from Kata Tjuta in Northern Territories Australia
    > a certificate showing I have completed a Financial Integrity course, displayed purely because it has been coloured in with crayons by the 7 year old daughter of a friend of mine
    > a quote saying "The price of being a sheep is BOREDOM. The price of being a wolf is LONELINESS. Choose one or the other with great care"
    > A Dead Fred pen holder
    > A darth maul beanie figure given to me by a colleague returning from the USA
    > a picture with a large pointing finger pointing at the guy sitting next to me saying "The object to your left is now your weapon of choice in the upcoming zombie apocalypse.  What is it?".

    Yeah, so if you didn't already know it, that lot probably tells you that I work in IT.  But it's better that lot than having a photo of me from twenty years ago when I had hair and a cuddly Garfield, which is what our director also has on his desk with his Churchill

  2. The desk that cracked me up the most was that of my wife's boss. She'd been working for him for a while before she looked at a large photograph that she'd only seen the back of before. She'd always assumed it was of his wife and children. It was in fact a picture of him at the wheel of his yacht, wearing one of those sailor hats. Whatever gets you through the day, eh?

  3. (that delivery brand crap, in case you're looking closely, is something I haven't bothered moving from the previous occupant's time at the desk.)

  4. I'd like to see that photo of you from twenty years ago with the Garfield, please.

    I have photos from my trip to NYC, as well as some family photos, to remind me that there is always way more to live than what is happening on my desk. And if I can just get through the paper, I can go back there, to that other stuff.

  5. J - The hair photo and the Garfield (wearing a tshirt) are on the director's desk.