Forbes – Leadership: Success Is Not A Corner Office

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Managers today are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why the millennial generation has little-to-no interest in the traditional status symbols and perquisites.

A younger friend of mine just received what most would consider a great job offer at a telecom company as a product manager. She was offered an excellent salary, a private office and a company car.

However, she was not satisfied. She would much rather have had the flexibility and the option to work remotely, while she travels to exotic places, than being stuck in a (corner) office. She is not the only one….

Hiring ‘Gen zers’ (the generation after Millennials) will require more effort by companies. The old way of thinking and the traditional rule book no longer satisfy the current and future workforce. Fewer and fewer are identifying reaching the top of the “corporate ladder” as a proxy for success. They do not plan to stay for very long, so the desire to climb the “ladder” is becoming obsolete. 




I remember when I took on a position at HP, and the first thing we discussed was the size of my new car. I had a piece of paper with all the car models I could pick from, suitable for my position, rank and status in the company.

Today I would not know what to do with a car. I would rather have an (unlimited) user account with at a rideshare service or an account at Airbnb to go on exciting weekend retreats with my family throughout the year.

Now younger generations are defining success very differently from previous generations. Generation Z, who are now about 22-25 years in age are just entering the workforce; encompasses more than one-quarter of America’s population, making this group larger than Baby Boomers and millennials in the current workforce.


What Gen zers’ consider as success?

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  • When Gen Z talks about success, they talk about the importance of relationships and feeling genuinely valued; therefore, it is an important responsibility to make this group of employees feel valued!
  • Gen Z prefers to work in a positive and meaningful organizational culture, including having enjoyable work and a job that fits well with other areas of their lives while making a difference.

Time is calling for a bend toward a conceptualization of what it means to succeed. Younger generations don’t want to have a job and work for any company. They only want to work for a company if it serves for the greater good.






A Harvard Business Review article noted that young professionals surprisingly don’t just want money and power, but the opportunity to make a difference. Meaning over money, you can say. Around the world, young people are less driven by individual rewards and feel empowered when they’re making social and environmental impacts.

They do not want to own (a car or a house for that matter). If you’re going to attract and retain the younger workforce, you must recognize that their (personal) lives matter. They are free souls you cannot motivate or lock up in a corner office. 

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Source: forbes.com

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