Two jobs can have the same name but be very different things. Examples crop up for me on a Thursday, when I work two jobs as a personal assistant, in two very different worlds. In the morning I work for Will, in his office whose walls are held together with tiny post-it notes, attending to things like filing. His filing system is not very mad, it’s pretty organised for years’ and years’ worth of stuff. I have an unsorted pile of must-keep papers from the last eight months. Will suggests I take note of the labels on his box files so that I can group things accordingly; this is fine for ‘From Bank’ and even ‘Parental Correspondence’, but there are things I’ll have to check with him. Where, for example, do I place a photocopied A4 doodle, completely unlabelled, of various hallucinatory monsters in some kind of maze?
My afternoon PA job is for a private-practice doctor, whose office walls are held together with calligraphed certificates of qualifications. He dictates whole phone conversations to me before I am on the phone to anyone, or while his blackberry is ringing and he’s flinging it across the room at me to be answered.
Here, the two filing categories are Patients’ Records, and bills. In a way it’s a lot less organised than Will’s; huge shelves of sheets of near-identical information. Sometimes a file goes missing, and the big mystery I have to solve is a misspelled name in the appointments book.