Engineering desks can be an art form all their own. Readers of our sister site EETimes responded to a challenge by EELife editorial director Brian Fuller, who posited the maxim that the messier the desk, the more of a genius its owner must be. The photos came rolling in.
Click the image below to view a slideshow of 11 of the messiest engineer's desks around:
Christopher Nelson of Fort Wayne, Ind., writes of his upside-down chair: "I actually don't remember how it got there. I am 6'4" and destroyed the first few chairs when I came to work so it is probably one of those. Currently, part of what I do is help design computers for audio professionals. This area is an R&D, testing, and repair area."
At Design News, we'd like to put together our own, mechanically oriented collection. Please send your pictures to content director Alexander Wolfe at email@example.com.
Sometimes a messy desk is truly not appreciated or understood. I worked a place that had a serious 5 S mentality. It was common to have disciplinary action taken if your desk was not up to the desired standards. Sometimes people just don't understand.
I couldn't agree more. A messy desk is a sign of genius. I once was asked about this in a job interview, in which the publisher offered a "hypothetical" question about a reporter's messy desk. (His stuff was actually spilling out in the aisle).
The publisher was a neat freak. I responded that if the piles of notes, press releases and reports didn't impede his ability to break stories, then I was good with it. If people started tripplng over his stuff and hurting themselves, he'd have to tidy up a bit.
Sorry, Brian. I must disagree. Wikipedia describes a "desk" as "a furniture form and class of table often used in a work or office setting for reading or writing on or using a computer." Your slideshow is comprised of "Workbenches" - "[a] sturdy table at which manual work is done."
When I look at the "clutter", I see "work in progress" not a mess. Unless, of course, you are using the Systems Thinking definition that describes a "mess" as a "Complex System of Systems".
If I have hired an engineer and their desk does NOT look like these pictures, then I've made a mistake and hired someone other than an engineer.
To the contrary, I get a little freaked out by people with exceedingly tidy work spaces. I once had a co-worker who I suspected must have used a straightedge to align perfectly a stack of papers on his desktop each night. A little OCD do ya think?
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