One aspect of corporate life I truly despised was the hierarchy of importance within the office. It’s understandable that the more experienced or long-term employees deserve upper positions based on loyalty and expertise, but I never understood why this also created a level of entitlement for respect. A CEO is treated as a god, the messiah, and you best wear your nicest clothes in their presence or lest you be shunned with disrespect.
Employees are also treated as if they only have one skill, one ability, and they must work like monkeys performing that one duty. It’s impossible for Judy, the designer, to help with a blog article because what could she possibly know about writing after working in Photoshop?
It’s this isolated, sheltered, and egotistical atmosphere that bugged me about traditional employment and companies are missing out on a vast wealth of talent by not tapping into their employees lesser-known abilities.
Companies that embrace their employees’ full capabilities not only allow for great ideas to arise, but also open up potential opportunities for growth in the business that can’t be seen from one perspective. Tony Hsieh mentions a great system implemented at Zappos that allows any employee to pitch ideas and have them be undertaken by the company if enough people agree to it. Tony also, even as CEO, sits among his employees in an open space not hidden behind a walled office with a door.
We must all value the perspective of others because we learn the most from those who are most different than us. We thrive when we’re able to empower those around us and bring out the best in them. Our best work is when we can fully be apart of something bigger than ourselves, not seeing impending tasks as work but as something meaningful and purposeful. If it’s something you’re proud to put your heart and soul into, then you aren’t working anymore — you’re just living.