The Paperclip Matters

Do you work in an office setting? Whether you have a corner office, share a cubicle, sit in an area with a few others, or just report occasionally to your supervisor’s office, integrity is necessary to live with a clean conscience and to find favor with God and man. This is why the paper clip matters.

For the sake of this blog the paperclip will represent anything supplied to you to help you with your job. It can include everything from ink for the printer and office supplies to office furniture, a secretary or assistant, time off for conferences and more. Some of these items are small and easy to rationalize if you just “borrow” them. Many of the supplies fit easily into your work bag brought from home. It would be easy to take one or two items from work every now and then and rationalize it. After all, they aren’t likely to be missed, at least not right away. Other things like time off to attend a conference, but not attending the conference when your work is paying for your hotel,  the conference fee, or gas are more obvious.

Stealing is when you take something that isn’t yours without permission. It is #8 of the Ten Commandments. Integrity is living a moral and ethical life in the sight of God and man.

We rationalize so much in our lives and our work place is subject to our mindsets since we spend a great portion of time working. Here are some examples of rationalizations:

  • The company won’t miss it. I’ll replace it when I get a chance.
  • I need this now so I can help my child get a project done.
  • My boss isn’t here with me. No one will ever know I didn’t attend the conference.
  • If I run a few errands in my company car, no one will know.
  • I’m so busy and I already work overtime. I don’t have time to go by the store to pick up my own supplies to use at home.

The mindsets can get much darker and destructive and highlight the reason why the paper clip matters. Every time you “borrow” these items from your workplace, you are setting a new precedent for your conscience to tolerate. It’s the small decisions we make every day which define our destination.

If any of the resources given to you in your work is used for personal gain then I humbly submit, this is wrong.  If you go back to the definition of stealing, then taking the paperclip matters. Being a person of integrity may be a quieter life, one marked by humility, but a rewarding life is yours as you sleep at night and enjoy a sense of well being during the day. Why negotiate with your conscience, or even with the Holy Spirit when you can simply live your life in peace?IMG_0031

We’ve started a new year, another beginning. Do you want to be a person of integrity? Integrity doesn’t care who sees. Integrity doesn’t need an audience although people do notice and appreciate a person of integrity. Integrity is a decision to be who God created you to be whether anyone is looking. Integrity is a core value for a Jesus follower and shines light in the darkness. No matter the ethical environment of your workplace, you can be the one to change this environment by being a person of integrity. Let’s love the narrow road and may the Lord be praised by our lives.

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:14

Integrity is what you do when no one is watching; it’s doing the right thing all the time, even when it may work to your disadvantage. Tony Dungy


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