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What Your Desk Says About You Can Affect Your Career
by Vanessa Ryan
Vanessa Ryan is a real estate broker, stock trader, and corporate recruiter.

Your desk is the one place at work where you can express your individuality. But watch out! What it says about you can affect your relationship with your boss, your co-workers, or your clients.

Here are some tips to make a positive image and still keep your independence.

1. Choose Your Photographs Wisely. Pictures of children, your wedding, or a snapshot of you and your girlfriend show you can manage relationships. You value your roots--and your job, because these people depend on you. But too many pictures makes people think you'd rather be home than at work. And of course, leave the r-rated ones of your wife or girlfriend at home (even if she is a hottie!).

2. Sports Fans Beware. Coffee mugs and stationery from the hometown team are great for career boosters, especially if you work in the same city as the team. Just don't support a rival team or you'll be on the outs with everyone.

3. What You Read At Work Is Just As Important As When You Read It. If it's cool to read at your desk, choose newspapers and over tabloids. And always keep a current copy of a publication specific to your industry even if you never read it. (You can't lose points with that one.) But of course, the less you read at your desk the more it looks like you're working.

4. Don't Be Too Neat or Too Messy. A cluttered desk means you're working, but keep it well-stocked and clean it at the end of the day, or when you're on vacation, and you'll be known as the go-to guy when your boss needs help. Just don't be too anal. Obsessive neatness or fussiness means you probably can't handle an emergency. (One last tip: if you are a messy-desk person who wants to reform, don't clean off your desk before lunch, because when you come back everyone will think you've been fired).

Published: Jul 14,2008 17:33
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