What can’t you live without at work?


I got a job!

Image:  Ondrejk / Wikimedia Commons

 I’ll be proofing consultant reports for a local company, so not only will I be making actual money, it’s actual writing/editing!  Woohoo!

This afternoon, I was reading an older article on Corporette about what toiletries people keep in their desks.  It made me think about how much time we spend on the job and what we feel necessary to have with us.

When I left OldJob, I had a ton of stuff in my desk, and even more in my purse/tote that I hauled back and forth.  I know when I start at NewJob I’ll have to get used to the office, what’s available there, etc.  But I’m pretty sure there are a few basics I’ll want no matter what.

This can stay at home...for now.

This can stay at home…for now.

Image:  buycostumes.com

The bottom drawer is my stash, and this is what it usually has:


I keep a few munchies in my desk, just in case I can’t make it to lunch or I need an emergency snack.   Usually it’s dry goods that don’t stink, and they have to be in sealable containers.  I don’t want the Orkin® man zeroing in on my drawer.

  • Trail mix—the kind with nuts and dried fruit is best.
  • Soup—microwaveable bowls, or ramen packages)
  • Candy—a little dark chocolate will cheer you up on a heavy day.
  • Teabags—a must.  Green tea, peppermint and breakfast tea.  I have a cup with an electric coaster to keep it nice and hot.

OldJob provided cocoa (yay!), but if NewJob doesn’t, I’ll add that to the list.

  • Condiments—from takeout, mostly.  I also like to keep a small jar or bear of honey for my tea, with the outside kept washed so it won’t attract crawlies.

I try to bring fruit and yogurt with my lunch, and eat them midmorning and in the early afternoon, when the energy slump hits.

Drugstore items

Some offices provide lotion, sanitizer, etc., but not all do.  I prefer to keep other items around just in case.

  • Hand sanitizer with aloe—not so drying.  Avoid those with Triclosan, an antibacterial/antifungal with troubling side effects,that also contributes to superbugs.
  • Lotion—if it’s not in my purse, it’s here.  I like Gold Bond Ultimate Healing with aloe (I have eczema and it helps).
  • You ladies out there know what it’s like to get caught without certain monthly supplies.  In the desk in a discreet container, or in my purse.
  • Ibuprofen and Tums—it’s hell to be at work with pain or stomach upsets.  A friend of mine used to keep all sorts of OTC medicines in her purse; we called her Dope Lady.
"Pssst!  Need some Imodium A-D?  I gotcha covered."

“Pssst! Need some Imodium A-D? I gotcha covered.”

Image:  adamr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Speaking of a chick’s most valued accessory, I like a small one tucked into a tote.  Here’s what I need to get through the day:

My purse

Wallet, makeup, phone, stamps, gum, pens, etc.  I have been known to leave it behind if I’m running an errand, but if I’m in one place for eight hours, I want it with me.  I could write another post on the contents of my purse, but no one since high school has cared what’s in there.


I write at lunch, or sometimes surf if allowed.  This is why I like a tote, so the dang thing will fit in there.  If I get a tablet, I might try that, but unless I get a keyboard too I doubt I’ll mess with it.  Kindle Fire, which I’m currently considering, is too small.

Flash drive

I keep a flash drive in my purse, so if I think of something I want to write about later, I can just jam it into my work computer and make a note of it.   WARNING:  some companies don’t like you to do this because of viruses, etc.  If it’s okay with your IT department, make sure you scan the drive every time you plug it in, just in case.

Of course, a smartphone may eliminate some of these gadget issues.  Yes, I plan to get one.

What do you like to keep handy in your desk, briefcase or handbag?


2 thoughts on “What can’t you live without at work?

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