Many years ago I noticed that when my dreams included my workplace, the workplace was a weird amalgam of all the places I had worked at previously. Usually it was populated with the people I worked with at the time, but furniture, physical layout, and so forth, would include things from older work places.
Lots of dreams are that way. Frequently when I dream about family, any family, a lot of the dream will be set in the living room of my paternal grandparents. Except that the carpet is usually the giant persian rug that had been on the floor of Great-grandma S.J.’s living room. And often the ugly orange couch from the house Mom, my oldest sister, and I lived in after my parents’ divorce makes an appearance.
Over time my dream workplace has morphed, taking on some physical characteristics of each office or building I’ve worked in since. The resulting space is one that only makes sense in dream logic.
I could spend a lot of time trying to figure out why one detail is kept from one building and not another. Some people spend a lot of time mapping out the symbolism of their dreams. But while our subconscious includes details for a reason, the reason isn’t always SYMBOLISM. My dream workplace always has desks, presumably because pretty much everywhere I have worked there was a desk somewhere. I didn’t always have a desk of my own. Most of my jobs back in my teens didn’t require desks, but there was always someone at the work place whose job did require a desk.
A desk, then, is a prop that adds verisimilitude to the notion of workplace. Most of the time.
Certain desks may have slightly deeper meanings. I’m pretty sure that the desk with tons of drawers that never contain what I need represents frustration, while the
emaculate immaculate desk with a place for everything and everything in its place represents insecurities.
If you thought that the clean desk would represent something positive, you don’t know how my brain works. See, the only way a desk of mine would be that organized were if I had just cleaned it out because I’m leaving the desk and/or job, or because someone else has messed with my stuff. Yeah, because of clean desk policies, I have had to move the piles off my work surface… But that just means that my sedimentary filing system has been moved out of sight.
Symbolism is always subjective, so if you’re looking for the meaning behind a set of choices your favorite writer or artist or director has made, just remember the words of Freddy Mercury: “If you see it, darling, it’s there.”