Nicholas Lee of Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK, shows off "my vast hoard of electronic components, reference books, datasheets, and a miscellany of electronic projects under construction," which reside next to his desk.
It does seem that many of the more productive and creative engineers are not so very fixated on keeping things perfectly neat. But many of them are quite organized. Neatness and organization belong on separate axis at right angles, since I have seen some very neat but completely disorganized areas, places where nothing worthwhile could happen without a huge effort.
Mostly, what I have seen is that great engineers and many good engineers do engineering, while the poor and the mediocre straighten things up. It is like this: Those wo can, do, while those who can't, straighten things up. It rlates to priorities, it seems.
I noted that slide 4 of 13 shows a Jacobs Ladder with a safety screen around it and if grounded acts as a Faraday Cage for sub-GigHz frequencies, yet the caption states: "The last in the Nicolas Lee messy desk tetralogy is his three-foot-high Jacob's ladder, otherwise known as a Faraday Cage."
Sorry, no cigar here. A Faraday Cage prevents RF from entering, or exiting, a given space and is not another name for a Jocobs Ladder. A Jacobs Ladder radiates a pretty wide swath of the spectrum and should perhaps have a Faraday cage surrounding it to prevent interferrence with other equipment. The voltages present can make a person assume room temperature in short order, so another good idea is to keep fingers out of it. Think bug-zapper here.
My first job out of college, the sales lady used to give me grief for a messy desk. Her office was always spotless. She wouldn't even leave a pen out at the end of the day, and often I would walk by her office and for a brief second wonder if she had been let go. But then I would remember that she was a neat-freak.
I tried to ignore her harassment of my messy desk and one day I got justice. Turns out, she had put something away one day, something very important and forgot about it. It was a request for proposal for a $50 million dollar contract. Well guess what, we didn't get that one and she got in BIG trouble.
Had she left it out on her desk, chances are that we may have got a legitimate bid in on time and had a crack at the job.
I think that generation is gone, Bobjengr. That was a certain culture, and that culture has passed. Perhaps for the good. Many of the tools and books left on the desk represent the most efficient way of handling materials. The time spent putting everything away at night and taking it back out in the morning is not productive time. It's time that is spent just for appearance sake.
Bobjengr, Based on the engineering desktops I have seen over the years, I would say your work environment was definitely in the minority. But a good idea. I would say most of us fit somewhere between the two extremes.
Hello apresher. Years ago when I was working my way through the university, I worked part time for an archetict. He was German by birth and received most of his formal education in that country. His family moved to the United States in the mid-50s where he attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta. At the end of my very first working day, I wrapped things up about 6:00 P.M. I left my drawing tools on the board, including books and other reference material needed for completion of a piping layout I had started. Prior to leaving, my employer indicated to me that in this office we put away our materials and leave the office as we found it when we entered. Desk Cleared. Books filed. Drawing board in the fully horizontal position. Even the telephone sitting on my desk was put into a special drawer crafted just for the that purpose. I looked around the office to find all of the other draftsmen had done likewise prior to leaving for the day. I wish I had a picture of this office to show you. This was his only idiosyncrasy (thankfully) but we all adhered to his desire for a very very clean office.