hoarding in the profession

Part of my career is founded on using authentic resources from other countries. As such, I have spent the last 15 years transporting precious items from one country to another. This isn’t unique to me: most of my colleagues do the same, and many of them bring back trinkets for the rest of us. All these years of compiling treasures and souvenirs adds up. I now have countless little items that are either too valuable to be used or too intrinsically valueless to give away.

This problem resonates with most of my colleagues, but no one really talks about it. I just brought home three bags of Fauchon tea that I have been saving because I cannot easily get more – and it’s probably lost its flavor by now. I have tons of books that I have accumulated from tiny publishing companies during a variety of research trips. They are not available electronically and most libraries will not quickly provide them for me. But now that I’m confronted with moving to another country, I have to consider the value of each book. Will it cost more to move it or to chance forgetting or replacing it.

I posed the question to a colleague on Saturday, “What do you do with all of those beautiful Clairefontaine notebooks that you can only find in Europe?” She responded, “You use them up so you can buy more.”


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