Monday, 16 June 2014

Trading in your Red Paperclip.

I was recently thinking of the One Red Paperclip project. For those of you unaware of it, about ten years ago, Canadian blogger Kyle Macdonald started with a red paperclip, and started trading it - first for a pen, which he traded for a doorknob, and so on. Within a year, he finished with a 2-storey house.

Of course, this has been a common storyline in gaming, where you find a seemingly-useless item, and then find somebody who needs it, so you trade it for something of value, and before you know it, you've got a heart container or a magic sword that you need to defeat the boss.

But how about when it comes to career planning? Traditionally, the plan has basically been:
1. Get a job
2. Get enough experience and knowledge so that you can do your direct supervisor's job
3. Move up
4. Repeat.

Naturally, this process can be frustrating, as you will always be competing for higher roles, and sometimes people just don't leave.

Then there are the times when you think your opportunity is there for the taking. A vacancy comes up for the job that you know you were born to do, and have been doing your time in the organisation, grooming yourself for the role.

And it goes to somebody who has appeared out of the blue, without the traditional qualifications, to everybody's chagrin.

That person has traded in their Red Paperclip.

So, what are you going to do with yours? Will you try and wait to trade it for another coloured paperclip, or a slightly bigger one? Or are you going to go for something completely different?