A few days ago at work, I stumbled upon something…not on stumble upon. I found it outside of the online world, and inside of my quaint little cubicle. In fact, it was more like a witness to originality, a tasteful display of non-conformism, a subtle expression of individuality. Something that craftily said, “You took a second look at me, didn’t you? I’m not what you expected.”
The object is innocuous,
yet it silently mocks,
and tactfully internalizes victory.
It won my attention. It stood out from all of the standard Staples supplies, epitomizing differentiation and uniqueness. Not because of its peculiar shape or unobtrusive size, but rather its brilliant color. Glistening…gleaming…gold.
You intrigue me, Gold Paperclip. You’re the color who places others in first, and yet you’re the second—if that—to be placed by others. Races and competitions aside, Silver wins in the corporate world. Silver spiral-bound notebooks, Silver bodies of fancy pens, Silver push-pin tips, Silver computer monitor frames, Silver binder clips, Silver ridges to tear tape, Silver staples and staplers, Silver caps that cradle pencil erasers on traditional No. 2s. Silver swarms my sight.
Where are you, Gold? Aren’t you number one?
I stare at the pile of papers you crisply clip and catch your glimmering light. You clip with class…elegance…grace. You stand out, you are different, you are unique—but even more so is the one who purchased you. He chose you voluntarily; he sought you from Silver. “Gold,” he thought deliberately, “I want Gold.”
I admire the man or woman who uses gold paperclips. When was the last time you used or saw one? Exactly my point. Your hesitation to recall this time in your life verifies the unlikely probability that this time in your life ever even took place.
Now let me say this. Not only do I want to be the gold paperclip girl—I want to be the ivory resume girl, with a subtle splash of color. I want to stand out and be noticed—recognized as the gold among the silver, if you will.
Admittedly, I’m a detail oriented, Staples office supplies freak. You might say I’d spot a gold paperclip like you’d spot a haystack in a pile of silver paperclips. And in that pile of silver paperclips, I’d see the accidental gold.
But that’s who I choose to be…which are you?
I believe a gold paperclip says something about you. It says something about us, as individuals…like the way our words, actions, and appearance depict how we “carry” ourselves and influence how we are perceived by others.
The man who used a single gold paperclip stood out from the pile. He didn’t have to compete for my attention because he had it from the start. I gave him my full attention and catered to his inquiry first. In the words of Sophia Petrillo, “A fact, use it as you wish.”
But whether you’re a gold or silver paperclip, we can all agree on this: it pays to be noticed. It helps to differentiate yourself from your competitors and your co-workers. Especially in the corporate world, recognition has its perks.