Dirty Desks: 5 Professions With The Messiest Offices

If you’re proud of your neat work space, you probably accomplish tasks in the correct order and on time. When you leave for the day, you already have a to-do list ready for tomorrow. You’re a dream employee in a productivity-centered world. But what if creativity and risk taking are called for? Is a messy desk a good indicator for certain professions?

Scientific Discovery

Albert Einstein, Genius and Scientist Extraordinaire was renowned for the chaos of his office. Many of us can call to mind the photograph of Albert Einstein at a desk with stacks of papers, books and stray pieces of paper dotting the few empty spaces. Yes, his desk was a mess. But it didn’t stop there. Have you seen his hair? Yet he was a genius. The clutter, or controlled chaos, of the creative mind is well documented.


Steve Jobs, the Visionary Co-founder of Apple is a prime example of the mess power of a creative mind. Innovation is the product of creativity. His desk was a mess, but he was an entrepreneur who not only saw the future, but crafted it. He understood that creativity is about making surprising connections, and the ordered chaos of his work space, along with his brilliant mind, let him to see those connections before the rest of us.


Lawyers are highly educated individuals that, if successful, are dealing with numerous cases simultaneously. Even though their desks may hold an accumulation of battered files, each one represents billable hours of work. And if you’re wondering where the creativity comes into the profession, consider the fact that if there weren’t creativity in law, the current abundance of law-centered TV shows would have gone off the air long ago.


Writers are often known for their solitary life style while they’re writing, especially novelists. They organize their thoughts with post-it notes, cards and whatever movable medium allows them to order and reorder their thoughts. The walls of many screenwriters’ offices are covered with index cards representing as many as 100 potential scenes that can easily be moved or deleted. Due to the sheer volume of various projects and resources near them at any given time, writers perhaps rank near the top of the creative/messy scale.


Without mentioning names, have you even walked into a professor’s office and been able to see past the stack of papers and books on the desk, and in many cases, the floor? It’s like a badge of honor. You can tell who the tenured professors are by the mess in their office too. Take a school like Central Michigan University for example: professionals of a cleaning service in Saginaw might not even dare enter a professor’s office for fear of interrupting the creative mojo of their mess.

Beneath the piles of books, magazines, and coffee cups on the desks of creative people is organization that can only be seen by the creator. Although the efficiency of the method may be up for debate, the results that come out of these chaotic circumstances cannot be discounted.

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