Piler or filer?

Yesterday's guest blog from Angela P. 'Mrs. Repman' Cody got me
thinking about her many traits and qualities. Most, of course, are highly
admirable (and, that was a paid political announcement).

But one, in fact, runs contrary to conventional wisdom about men and women.
Angie, you see, is a piler.

By that I mean, she tends to, shall we say, accumulate things that I would toss
away faster than Lindsay Lohan can get into trouble. Some might also label
Angie's piling ways as hoarding and, based upon the number of empty garbage
bags that routinely rocket out of our kitchen drawers when opened, I'd tend to

Angie also likes to hang onto ancient artifacts from our adult kids' childhood,
defending her actions by noting, “Hey, their kids' kids will need them one day.”
I'm hard pressed to think Chris, Jr., will aspire to one day lay claim to Aunt
Catharine's badly battered, circa 1991 desk. But, whatever.

Angie's piling ways are not dissimilar from yet another member of the distaff
side with whom I've worked for well over a decade. I've found that, she, too,
is a quasi-horder. In fact, I distinctly recall walking into her office on more
than one occasion, sitting down in a chair across the desk from her's and being
unable to see her due to piles upon piles of dead client folders blocking my

Let the record show, however, that this executive has changed her ways since
relocating to new space on a new floor and is now the very picture of

Despite the findings of a 2005 survey of office workers by long-time Peppercom client
, I don't think sloppiness is gender-specific. And, I've
sure met many women who defy the neatness trend Steelcase spotted. In fact,
highly placed sources within our New York office have revealed that the person
who has daily left dirty dishes behind in our pristine kitchen is, in fact,
female. So there.

Before concluding, though, I must share a brief anecdote about the ultimate
filer: my former, alpha male boss at Brouillard Communications.

This guy put the A in anal retentive. He was so obsessed with neatness and
order that he insisted our brow-beaten secretaries equip conference room tables
with agency-branded writing tablets and agency-branded number two pencils that
HAD to be finely sharpened, turned logo side up and be of the number two,
S.A.T. test variety.

I remember the ruckus he created when our unsuspecting office manager placed a
new order for pencils and mistakenly selected a hodgepodge of numbers one, two
and three pencils, respectively. The CEO went positively postal, and screamed, “Brouillard
has always been a number two pencil agency, and will remain so as long as I'm
at the helm. Cancel that order and get me nothing BUT number two pencils! And
deduct any extra costs from your next paycheck." I kid you not.

By the way, this guy's life motto was: 'Organization is liberation.' Again, I
kid you not.

So, what about you? Are you a piler or a filer? And, does being too neat or too
messy impact one's image and reputation? I'd go on, but I need to polish my
Blackberry keyboard and buff the screen.

10 thoughts on “Piler or filer?

  1. We should form a support group for filers married to pilers, Peter. The latter could be called Slobs Anonymous. Not sure what our friends and family of slobs should be named. Suggestions welcomed.

  2. I’m a filer married to a hardcore piler. It makes for a rich, if occasionally heated, emotional life.

  3. Great story, Jon. The man was really something special. I think I told you the tale about Malcolm End one day telling Mr. Foster that the entire agency needed to …loosen our collective spinchter muscles…

  4. I hear you, Goose. It’s interesting how one doesn’t really know a friend or spouse until time passes and personal traits such as piling or filing become too large an issue to overlook. Ah well, such is life.

  5. Lorr Sorr is a filer for SURE. We had an old TV sitting in our closet for two years before she convinced me to finally throw the thing out….

  6. I, too, could be taken for a piler. His Royal Roundness at one point declared my office a fire hazard and issued a dictum ex quadratus ordering all agency personnel to parade past my door and offer words of disgust. I still think of it as one of my more important accomplishments in my time there.

  7. I think there’s a difference between hanging onto personal memorabilia (i.e. Your fifth grade report card) and, say, thousands upon thousands of empty food bags that Angie will re-purpose at some far distant date as garbage can liners.

  8. I subscribe to the Angie mentality and am, regretfully, a “piler.” We once had a client here at the firm who’s motto was “a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind” so my boss, who is also a piler, would hide all the crap in his cabinets any time this man came in. I agree, all genders and I also have boxes of crap of my children’s up in the attic. I don’t know why I can’t throw out 5th Grade report cards. My bad.