Soon, the office supply closet will be locked, just like the classroom supply closet.  There will be a requistion list we can fill out to ask weekly for a supply of things like copy paper, pens, writing tablets, tape, paper clips, and staples.  And allegedly, someone will come along and dole these things out to our waiting desks. 

Just pass out the paste, the crayons, and the paper, please.  Raise your hand nice and high, don’t call out, and you’ll get yours.  Dot, dot, not a lot. 

Now, maybe you’d think this would encourage us to keep track of our supplies better, to count each paper clip, to ask ourselves if we really need to make that next copy, to be mindful of our impact on the environment and our company’s bottom dollar.

Or maybe it’s stooping to the lowest denominator about alleged disappearance of alleged supplies (nothing mentioned overtly), or alleged rapid use of some supplies.  No investigations, no chances to see if anything actually gets used up any faster than it can be accounted for. Not sign-out lists so we can account for our own use, so we can track supplies.  Not even a memo, a staff meeting, or an announcement.  How did I find out?  The door was locked.

So I asked the secretary, who told me what is coming down the line. 

Just another instance of not treating us like adults.  This kind of management, if you can call it that, encourages, at the very least, hoarding.  And greedy grubbing for pens, push-pins, and post-its.  Mine, mine, mine.  No more “Sure, use my stapler; it’s in my top drawer.”  Now it’s every woman for herself, and every supply is sacred. 

I’ve seen this in children who are barely 3.  They’ve usually been in daycare since they were 6 weeks old.  At the least, they’ve been in daycares where there aren’t enough supplies for them to do their work.  A child’s work is play; his play is his work.  If he doesn’t have enough materials, enough blocks, enough sand, enough balls, enough tricycles, he will hoard, he will guard, he will become territorial.  I see this in all manner of preschoolers.  They’re the ones asking me, “Save this for me,” as they press a precious toy into my hand when they line up for the bathroom.  They’re the ones losing playtime in the gym because they’re concerned they’ll lose access to the one desirable/functional tricycle.  They dump out bins of toys and scoop the bulk towards their bodies.  They don’t actually build; they’re more concerned with defending turf.

And this is exactly what will happen in my office if I cannot go get a pen when someone’s made off with mine for the 4th time that day.  This is exactly what will happen when we start making storehouses deep within our desk drawers, with secret stashes of copy paper, file folders, and Sharpies. 

No one better touch my post-it notes, or I’m telling!

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