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3:30pm on Wednesday, 26th August, 2009:

Where I Work #11


Continuing the occasional series...

The top third of the cabinet to my left has a pair of doors which open to reveal this:

I primarily keep my MUSE Ltd company records on these two shelves. Yes, I know that I closed down MUSE Ltd. two years ago, but UK company laws say we have to keep the accounts and supporting documents for seven years. This requirement was introduced to the statue book some 20 years or so ago as a means to cut red tape...

So, what I have here on the top shelf is a credit card machine and a bunch of carbon copy receipt slips (remember those?) on top of a brown wallet folder containing print-outs of Access (now Mastercard) transactions. Hmm, I could probably throw those out right now... Above the credit card machine is the big pink folder containing all the MUSE Ltd. VAT account details, plus some brown envelopes with receipts in them. This was bequeathed me when Simon Dally died; I took over the form-filling myself, and the equivalent from me is the big pink lever arch folder on the bottom shelf in the middle. Atop the pink folder is a pink lever arch folder containing the details of fictional people I have in the past created in order to play MUD2 incognito (see Designing Virtual Worlds pages 197-204 for details).

The middle pile of the top shelf has a shoebox at the bottom. Inside this is a second shoebox almost the same size. Inside that is every letter or card my wife has ever written me. I shouldn't keep it there, but that's where it is.

On top of the shoebox is a short stack of print-outs mainly for MUSE-related work. Some of this is perhaps of historical interest, and I may blog about it one day. The green folder contains a description of the API for the MUD2 client/server architecture, so people can write their own clients for it. The orange folder has some documents that came with mud.co.uk when I first bought it. On top of that is a pile of various loose sheets of paper plus spare mouse mats; some of the paper has designs for mouse mats on it. I wonder how many years from now it will be before schoolkids ask what a mouse mat was?

The small pile to the right has my screen-cleaning stuff in it. I dont know why I bother keeping this; when my screen finally gets so dirty I want to clean it, all the cleaning fluid has usually dried up since last time and I have to chuck it and get some more.

There's a small notepad also in that pile, revealing the interesting information that I bought £2.79 of stamps in 23rd March 1990. It has 5 pages of such expenditure (written on both sides of the paper), then the rest of it is empty. Hmm, I'll recover that as soon as I've finished typing this, I could do with more notepad...

Beneath the notepad is an expanding document wallet that my dad gave me 30 years ago. It has a pouch for every letter of the alphabet. Because it's so good, I kept it to use for something important; said something important has yet to present itself, but one day I'm sure it will. Beneath it are some more nice pieces of stationery I am keeping for best, plus some membership information for the Federation of Small Businesses that I can now safely incinerate.

Moving to the shelf below...

The left section has my business cards and address book. The address book contains mainly the addresses of relatives and other people whom I occasionally send actual letters rather than emails. There's also an empty cash box for when MUSE Ltd. had petty cash; in practice, it was only used for storing records of things I'd bought out of pocket, because the company rarely had any cash...

The vast middle pile on the bottom shelf is full of envelopes containing tax returns, documents telling me how to fill in company tax returns, superseded documents I have to keep to show how I worked out company tax returns in case a company tax inspector asks, and helpful booklets explaining which other booklets you need to read in order to fill out company tax returns. There's also that folder I mentioned earlier containing copies of VAT returns plus envelopes of receipts (each one of which is keyed either to a bank statement entry or a petty cash voucher from the cash box). These days, you can do all this on computer. Actually, those days you could, too, but it wouldn't save you much time because you still have to type the information in (which is the most tedious part).

The pile to the right on the bottom shelf is dominated by a burst folder of MUSE Ltd. bank statements atop a burst folder of official letters to MUSE Ltd. atop a nearly-burst folder of contracts and NDAs signed by MUSE Ltd.. Underneath them all is a work log for external consultations I did under the MUSE Ltd. banner.

Yes, folks, if you decide to set up your own company then you, too, will wind up with shelves of useless bureaucratic trash like this...

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Copyright © 2009 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).