They say there are only 2 things that are certain in life; death, and taxes. I’m sure that there are any number of other things which could be added to that short list. My candidate for item number 3 on that list is clutter. Some might say that junk mail should be on that list as well, but then again, isn’t junk mail a subset of clutter?
And what about those machine-generated phone calls that we get on our answering machines? Or those software-generated emails that get sent to us only because we responded to a job posting on one of those job boards, which do not tell us whether or not we are being considered further for that job? These 2 types of clutter are not on a piece of paper.
To me, all of the examples above are some form of clutter. We have some choices when it comes to dealing with clutter. We can ignore it, and hope that it goes away. We can dispose of it. If we choose to ignore it, sooner or later it will get in our way again. When that happens, it becomes like that pesky project that you had to keep coming back to at one of your jobs.
The better alternative here is to deal with it. And we have ways of dealing with each of these forms of clutter. The “Delete” key is very useful for disposing with the machine-generated phone calls and software-generated emails. And junk mail eventually ends up in the trash, either directly, or via the shredder.
But what do we job-seekers do with other kinds of clutter? There are those job postings that we responded to and subsequently printed off, in the hope that the prospective employer would contact us. That’s where a system for storing all of those forms and other documents can come in handy.
Finally, there’s that clutter which exists between our ears. It has nothing to do with our search for employment. To me, the best way to deal with this is to somehow get it out of our mind, either by forgetting it, entering it in a document on a computer, or by writing it on a piece of paper, to be retrieved later. Again, a system for storing what is written would be very helpful. Any system you choose. But keep in mind, even the best system for storing documents can have its flaws.
Now, I have to find the paper with the notes that I took from my most recent networking meeting. It’s on my desk somewhere. It’s somewhere among the clutter.
Dave Vandermey is a web developer.