My Very First Job

business cartoon showing in and out bins

I remember setting up my desk at my very first real business world job. It was a behemoth of cold green steel that very likely had been repurposed from a cold war Soviet submarine, but it was mine all mine.

And with it came a phone, some pens, drawers full of previous owners’ paperwork, and two paper bins marked “In” and “Out.” So help me they honestly had little handwritten stickers on them.

Having never had a desk before, I did what everyone else in the office did – “In” bin on the right, “Out” bin on the left. Yes, I was a businessman now.

After a few months of cold calling, writing hard to get through all the carbons, and more cold calling, I felt less inspired by my desk and it’s trappings. And walking down the row of desks one day, noticing the rows of “In” and “Out” baskets, the above cartoon came to me.

I put up a post-it note in a similar fashion on the front of my desk, but nobody noticed. Sigh…

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Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.

Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,