Consider the hours you spend in your work space, be it corner suite or cubicle. Your work area usually says a lot about who you are.

Consider the hours you spend in your work space, be it corner suite or cubicle.

Is it really surprising that you keep papers piled in the proper box oh-so-perfectly? Or that you’ve dedicated substantial real estate to a temple of snow globes from family vacations? Or that your coffee mug has etched a circle in exactly the right place next to your computer?

In describing their home-away-from-homes, four Rock River Valley women make it clear that work spaces reveal more about us than simply how we view work.

Clutter Hater

“If you come in my office, it’s how my house is,” says Lisa Jackson, whose co-workers at Life Center compare her to USA Network’s compulsively clean detective, Adrian Monk.

1. “My motto is ‘Less is more,’” said Lisa Jackson, a 38-year-old medical case manager with a desktop neat enough to sit on. “Growing up, Mom was like, ‘Keep a clean house.’ It stuck with me.”

She keeps cleaning supplies in her drawer to tidy up. She vacuums each Friday before leaving.

2. Not a junk-drawer type of person, Jackson uses organizers in her desk, not just on it.

3. The artwork on her walls isn’t expensive — “I got it at the dollar store” — but the colors in her African prints are coordinated with each other, and they match her curtains.

Perfect, Not-So-Perfect

“My neatness factor is rather bipolar,” says 42-year-old Lisa Youngblood of Durand, who gives herself nearly a 10 for the desk she shares with another teacher at Christian Life High School, but a lower rating for the home office where she operates a scrapbooking business.

1. Gifts for her Creative Memories customers contribute to what Youngblood calls “general chaos” on her home desk.

2. The digital camera is for school, where she advises the award-winning yearbook, for her business and for recording family memories.

3. She takes her four-year-old Mac Powerbook G4 everywhere: “It helps to organize my ‘lives,’ keeps me connected, has all of my photos and nearly all of my music on it.”

Hugging Amid Chaos

“It is like Grand Central Station,” Maddie Haskell said as she juggled visitors, phone calls and a daily to-do list in her office at Beth Eden United Methodist Church.

1. The 69-year-old is never too busy for visitors. “I’m a hugger,” said Haskell, who has a candy dish on her desk, a framed portrait of Jesus on her wall and a shelf with such books as “Holy Humor” and “Laughing Matters.”

2. She posts her favorite Scripture, 1 Corinthians 13, known as the Love Chapter.

3. Haskell has gifts from grandchildren and a photo of her husband of 41 years, Don. “We’ve never had a fight. We got married later in life, at 27, and we’re just verycompatible.”

CEO of Fun

When 56-year-old Becky Genoways became executive director of On the Waterfront in 1998, she changed her beige walls to pumpkin.

1. “I was like, ‘Excuse me! Aren’t we in the business of having fun?’” said Genoways, whose office also has guitars and stuffed party worms.

2. Along with festival posters, she has an editorial cartoon of words to live by, including “Be sure to try to the cream puffs.” “On the Waterfront is part of the fabric of the community. People are very proud of it.”

3. Her daughter created construction-paper artwork of Mom in a polo shirt, shorts and a walkie-talkie. “She totally grew up with this. Now she’s old enough to drive a golf cart.”

 Edith C. Webster may be contacted at 815-987-1394 or ewebster@rockford
woman.com. In the next issues of Rockford Woman, she’ll ask: What does your holiday meal say about you?