Hey slob, profit from your pigsty

MyFax, a provider of Internet fax services, has launched an online search for the office or cubicle most likely to make the average neat freak go into convulsions.

Messy office
Can you out-slob this winning entry to the MyFax Messy Office Contest? MyFax.com

Does your desk look like a FEMA-level disaster area? Ignore the dispirited sidelong glances of your more organized co-workers. That tower of 10-year-old notepads spilling over into the next cube might actually be the downpayment on your house.

MyFax, a provider of Internet fax services, has launched its MyFax Messy Office Contest, an online search for the office or cubicle most likely to make the average neat freak go into convulsions. The company is offering a $10,000 grand prize to the winner, along with additional prizes (like free MyFax accounts) totaling another $5,000.

So in a culture that values efficiency, why reward those who see genuine value in hanging on to Post-It notes from 1982?

"The neatness-challenged have been oppressed their entire lives," said Joseph Nour, CEO of Protus IP Solutions, which owns and operates MyFax. "Their parents yelled at them constantly to clean their rooms when they were growing up. Their employee review forms often make negative mention of the state of their offices. Co-workers shudder every time they have to walk into the space. Yet these brave souls persevere. We figure as long as they know where everything is in their offices, what's the harm?"

Messy-office graphic

While MyFax itself aims to reduce clutter by allowing faxes to be sent electronically, Nour says the company isn't looking to "solve" the messiness issue.

"Anyone can have a neat and clean office," he said. "But it requires a real talent to keep an office that looks like a federal disaster area and still be able to function."

To enter the competition, all you have to do--besides spill sticky drinks on your dusty, ink-stained keyboard and cling to every memo sent you since the Johnson administration--is upload a photo or video of your personal squalor between now and February 25 at noon EST. Each week, MyFax "mess experts" will select two finalists. The grand-prize winner will be chosen in an online poll, with results announced by March 5.

Now please excuse me while I go dig through the recycling bin. For 10 grand, I might just be able to work alongside a crusty cascade of obsolete papers for a couple of months.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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