The Paperclip

You know the paperclip. You can’t deny it. And if you don’t know it as the paperclip yet, you soon will. This afternoon in training, I heard a support call between an English-speaking tech and a customer with a strong accent. Instead of focusing on the issue, which I believe was a computer not booting, the tech got drawn into the trap of a paperclip.

You see, a paperclip can be used on many computers to forcefully eject a CD. The only problem with this was the tech had no idea how to properly communicate what a paperclip was across the language and cultural barrier. The poor customer was sent on a bewildered search for a giant metal… or paper rod that was somehow used to hold large quantities of paper together. The call ended with the tech asking the customer to go talk to someone in his office who would certainly know what a paperclip was. The computer still would not boot because a CD might have been causing a problem. End of troubleshooting.

Too often, we get knocked off our path with enticing little trails. In the end, these trails only lead to frustration and unresolved problems. Maybe it is the piece of food in someone’s beard, a certain kind of lifestyle, or the fact that they put the toilet paper on the roll the wrong way. At least they replaced the toilet paper!

So, as you go through your day, remember to steer clear of the paperclips that take us in the wrong direction and make us forget about the real issue.

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