Office Supply Joy

My first full-time was as a secretary for managers in a systems group at Vanguard.

Not exactly what I’d planned on out of college, but it was a job that paid bills. Even better was that I had an awesome boss who knew my life’s goal was outside my current position and let me take on more responsibilities such as creating a departmental newsletter.

Even even better was I was in charge of ordering office supplies.

Now, that may not sound that exciting. How much fun can it be to order pens, folders (hanging and tabbed), etc. for a bunch of programmers, right?


It was amazing.

I'm trying so hard not to order these right now.Did I think disposable fountain pens were much cooler than boring, felt-tip markers? Boom. Disposable fountain pens were a permanent fixture for the supply drawer.

Did I prefer extra-fine, rollerball pens? You could find them in black, blue or red in the drawer every single day. I made sure of it.

Did I need binders to store home appliance manuals and financial info at the same time someone in systems needed binders? You guessed it: they got what I wanted to use.

Someone wanted Post-It notes? I chose the colors and sizes. Someone needed loose leaf paper? I made sure it was college-ruled.

I would daydream over the too-expensive-to-justify pages of chairs, organizational systems and electronics. I made sure people who wanted a stapler got a version of a red Swingline.

Okay, maybe I enjoyed the control of supplies to some extent. More likely, although you may not be able to tell from visiting my house or my cubicle, I get a great deal of pleasure out of keeping things organized. Having the right tools to accomplish that (yes, systems group, you DO want a mesh pencil cup because it’s more attractive) puts a smile on my face.

I still get a sense of delight when I visit Staples or OfficeMax. I may be there just for a printer cartridge, but I’ll check out the pens to see if there’s something with a wow factor. It’s why I browse the Levenger catalog – so many cool tools.

It’s just who I am.


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