The Post-lockdown Blues

PHOTO PROMPT @ Jan Wayne Fields

The chair was uncomfortable.  Very uncomfortable.  I didn’t remember that.

I studied the desk, toying with various objects on it.  Why in the Hell did I need any of it?

Paper, paper, everything had to do with paper!

Scissors, tape, stapler, highlighters and paperclips.  Paperclips!  There were more of those than anything.

I had been working from home for over a year and discovered that 99.999% of the paper we used in the office was completely useless.  Despite not being face-to-face, our productivity was up and our expenses down. 

Bob dropped a ream of paper on my desk.

“Welcome back!”

***

Word count = 100

Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  This week’s prompt is here and uses a photo © Jan Wayne Fields. Read more or join in by following the InLinkz “linky“.

57 thoughts on “The Post-lockdown Blues

  1. pennygadd51

    Same old, same old, I fear! I wonder if people really will stick with paper? I’m lucky, being retired, but an awful lot of my work was computerised even before that. Our organisation, the Environment Agency, was very keen to discourage the use of paper, and quite successful at so doing.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      My agency discourages paper, but so many people disregard and print huge amounts. I’ve printed as little as possible for well over a decade. I do hope most people learn a few lessons during all of this so there will be at least a little silver lining.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          There are pluses and minus to both… One problem I have is that, with the VPN and all, I have a hard time using video on my work computer and still stay attached, so try to avoid video or use my personal computer if needed.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I do draw and take notes on paper, but I try to print as little as possible, and since I have been teleworking for a few years, I almost never print for work. But sometimes you just have to have that hard copy…

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  2. Eugenia Parrish Author

    Sure had to chuckle at this. It’s so true. My writers critique group always insisted that we bring paper copies of our submission for everyone. What an incredible waste. So when we went to Zoom, I thought “Hooray!” Well, not so much — I haven’t yet figured out how to share my Zoom screen with my Word document! :D

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  3. elmowrites

    I want to believe we can learn some of the lessons of these times – less paper, less commuting, less pollution from travel, etc – but I suspect many of us will be happy enough to revert to type when the restrictions lift. I enjoyed your character’s insight… and the ream of paper representing the inclination to learn nothing.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I do hope we will get benefit out of all of the restrictions, but there will always be those who want to return to “the old ways of doing things”. Thanks.

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  4. Ocean Bream

    Hahahaha, paper may be useless (we have had paper that dates back to when I was born, sugar paper my aunt bought for me to colour on, and she has saved for me to use with my son… 26 years of un-used paper!!!) but it feels precious. And you’re right, if all our systems are digitised, why do we need paper?!!? I worked as an editor for a year and a bit and only used paper rarely.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I’ll admit that I do use paper in my private life – I draw and take notes on it. But as far as work goes, there is rarely a time when paper is needed. I’ve very rarely printed something for work in the last decade or so, and teleworkign for the last two or three years, not at all. But it can, as you say, be precious. An image on a screen has a hard time hitting the heart as much as an old photo…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Funny, I am almost completely paperless at work, but I do like to use pen and paper for notes, and I draw and such on paper. I don’t think it will go away for a while, but a typical office wastes so much! I don’t think I have printed anything work related in over a decade.

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      1. granonine

        I was actually the first therapist in our office to use a computer and printer for case notes. Our boss admits to being a computer-phobe who resisted all efforts to computerize the office until he realized no secretary was going to put up with all that paper! We were all independent contractors, and I supplied my own computer and printer. All the other therapists followed suit in the next couple of years, but our boss never did :)

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Very cool that you were an early adopter of the technology. I know it was a hard change for many. My father is a brilliant man, smarter than I am, and had a computer on his desk by the mid-1980s, but to this day has problems figuring out what I feel are simple things. I worked with a lot of people who had an even harder time than my dad.

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  5. workinacresnothours

    I had a little giggle to myself reading your always great blog. I always approach subjects at an odd angle. haha. As I have a notepad(exercise book in size) amongst other diaries & sketch books. I fill every bit of each page that I can back & front sideways, upside down. It looks psychotic, lol. My dilemma is finding a number I wrote or a list of some sort as I tear each full page out & leave it on my desk. Till I sort it in the winter, then its great fireplace lighter.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Thanks :) Despite being paperless at work, I do keep a lot of notebooks. I have drawing and sketch pads, but I also take notes and such on paper. But at work, I don’t think I have printed anything in a decade or more!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Funny, I bought the first Kindle reader when it was made available and read mostly electronic for a few years – it is much easier on my eyes. But at some point I transitioned back and now read 100% paper books when it is for recreation or entertainment. But work? I haven’t used a printer at work for over a decade.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          It will be interesting. I’m sure a lot of companies will go with what saves money in the short term, but I think most people will, unlike me, want to return to the office. (introvert – I like my home office ;) )

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  6. msjadeli

    When I still worked in 2018 we were going over to a paperless system but we still went through boxes of the stuff. When I was in school I went through many pages. These days everything is saved as an electronic file.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      We have had paper reduction programs for many years, but a lot of people still waste paper. I went almost totally paperless before I started telewroming, and have been teleworkign full time since the end of 2019, so I succeeded in this paperless thing a while ago. These days it does make sense to save things electronically when possible, though backup is important!

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      1. msjadeli

        Good for you, Trent, that’s awesome! I know my kids keep telling me to save my stuff in “the cloud” but I’m not up on all of that. I do need to back up my writing on a flash drive or something though.

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  7. bearmkwa

    Totally there, dude. I realized last night that I had bought 4 reams of paper last fall (back to school sale) and had plans to write something… enter covid, and plans shot to H****. Still have the paper, the jar of paperclips… it’s the writing that’s not there. Maybe reality is just too pressing with its sense of urgency…

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      My wife still uses our printer and we have a few reams of paper in the house, but I have been 100% paperless for years – I only print if there is no way possible to do it electronically. I do use paper to draw, and I do write in pen or pencil sometimes, but that’s different ;) I hope you can get back to writing.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I do back up all of my writing, typically in multiple places, just to be safe. I occasionally write things with pencil or pen, but I could never use a typewriter! And with writing by hand, I put things in the computer at about 10 times the rate, so i just do notes and things by hand, or if I am someplace were I can’t type it in but want to keep the wording. Anyway, whatever works for you and whatever makes you comfortable.

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  8. ceayr

    I remember a few decades back that the ‘paperless office’ was the big dream.
    Until someone suggested, with great prescience, that it was as likely as the paperless toilet.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      lol, I do think that 99% of what is printed in an office is pure crap, so a good analogy… I don’t think I used a printer for work since the early 2000s. I always assumed that when the people who grew up on paper retired, it would go way, but young people in my office would still print books, carry them to someone else’s desk, just for that person to glance at it and throw it all away. Oh well, I will continue to telework full time for the rest of my career, so at least I won’t see it ;)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Nope, no more PJs for those poor people who have to return when this is all over (hopefully by summer!). Ironically, I started teleworking full time Jan. 1, 2020, so I, for one, will never work in an office again.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I was in a meeting yesterday where one of the people had his daughter just behind him. She was in school and making a racket! Nobody minded too much, but small homes, a lot of people, and on-line meetings and classes can be difficult….

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