Refrigerators and data

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A couple of posts back I talked about Googledocs and the annoyances they create for me as everyone shares, shares, shares.

This morning I had a realization: The Googledocs are exactly like the staff lounge refrigerator. One of my colleagues last week explained that she never uses the fridge. “It’s filthy,” she succinctly explained. She brings her own mini-cooler with her lunch inside so she never has to open the refrigerator door.

I am less fastidious. I wrinkle my nose a little at the smell and look for a clean spot to place my food, trusting my plastic, grocery-store bag to keep any lunch and snack items safe. Someday someone, maybe even me, will nobly clean the fridge. I finally brought wipes down to the lounge last year, only to find out that one of the parapros had cleaned the monster the day before. Sometimes I take it upon myself to throw out McDonald’s sacks that have sat in the same spot for weeks. The problem’s simple: Everyone uses the fridge, but no one has responsibility for the fridge.

My Google drive is loaded with the damndest Googledocs. I know the lessons that high school social studies will give next week. I’m not at the high school and I don’t teach social studies. I have all the language arts lesson plans. I don’t teach that either. The crowd of documents obscures the documents I do need, many of them in wrong or dubious folders since we were all required to enter the world of Googledocs, but we were not trained. If there was a training, I missed it anyway. Maybe it was on a Googledoc I never saw.

Last night I tried to arrange documents until I gave up. I could easily spend a whole day cleaning up the mess that has been shared with me, but I don’t have a day. Today, I am creating a cheat sheet to tell me how to find documents that matter. Information management in my life has turned into a game of “Where’s Waldo?” and I don’t see an end in sight. Many, many people are tasked with putting documents onto the drive to prove they have met district requirements. No one is tasked with taking the old stuff off. So I dodge around the language arts lesson plans from August and move on, looking for the professional development PowerPoint I actually want to read.