In August, writer Jonathan Brill contributed an article to Forbes regarding the things people could do to raise their kids to become entrepreneurs, and the reason behind doing so was simple. Let's face it, the prospect of becoming a self-made mogul has filled the hearts and dreams of many in this day and age. His article also elucidated the feelings that push businessmen and women to reject the idea of simply being a part of something instead of taking on the task of totally creating another.
“Working for someone else felt very unnatural and made them unhappy to the point where doing their own thing was inevitable,” Brill said in this article. “The best founders I’ve worked for never thought about the risk of entrepreneurship vs the alternative because the alternative was never viable.”
It's simple to understand why some entrepreneurs just had to do it their way. Working for everyone else was so unfulfilling that really the only option was for them to create work for themselves.
But then, what does that say about "everyone else." What does it say about the tons of established companies out there in the world and the broad brush strokes that people paint them with?
If we're going by immediate assumptions and impulsive reactions to simple words like "work," "the office" and "cubicle," then the question is easy to answer. It's no secret that people associate these terms with a repetitive, mundane lifestyle and, at worst, the potential for misery with the "traditional" and stiffling office setting.
That idea is likely to be even more common amongst the millions of students who are about to trade in the comfortable, social activity-filled life of the college campus for a world of unknowns.
But for the seniors whose time at the university has finally ended, there's good news: the picture of the standard office place is changing and, better yet, some of the world's biggest and best companies are at the forefront of this progression.
In a report released last week by CNN Money, discussing the 50 top employers for new college grads, Google was ranked at the no. 1 spot, while companies like Microsoft, Apple and Ernst & Young also made the list. The names are significant not just because they represent some of the most respected companies in the world, but also for their status as some of the most innovative institutions out there.
They make good products and provide exceptional service, but they are also renowned for there enjoyable work cultures. Besides being the world's undisputed leading search engine, the world's most popular video sharing site and the Android mobile operating system, Google is also known for it's service to its employees, with their offices typically distinguished by scooters, free laundry and dining in an all-around atmosphere that oozes creativity.
Microsoft has been described by CNN by as a company looking for employees who will bring “energy and ideas” as opposed to a willingness to be static pegs fitting into tightly defined holes. Oh, and the mention of break rooms stocked with Xboxes doesn’t sound too bad, either.
Ernst & Young has been praised for undergoing sweeping changes and a revamping of its brand. Then there's Apple, which needs no description. The company has arguably defined an era of innovation with its groundbreaking products.
Regardless of which leading company we’re talking about, the point is simple. At time goes on, the biggest of names are continuously updating themselves. The cob webs are being shaken off, new ideas are coming in and new ways of managing the people who bring in those ideas are coming along.
But even that fact doesn’t form the meat of this argument. It isn’t the upper echelon of businesses that should give hope to the young employees who are dreading their entrance into the workplace, it’s the next generation of companies that should inspire them.
Startups are all founded in a different source of inspiration, but they do seem to share one similarity: breeding a work environment that embraces youth and energy, which usually propel the youngest of companies.
An uncomfortable tie and a pair of slacks are no longer necessary; jeans and t-shirt will do. You can actually tolerate your co-workers now and your bosses are no longer distant and unapproachable. Whether it’s San Francisco based startup Jack Rabbit, or online shoe-selling giant Zappos, it’s no surprise to see bosses sitting side-by-side with their subordinates, locking arms in a spirit of togetherness that is now typical of the most enjoyable office places.
In summary, our old folks may have created a standard for the office place that suited them (fair enough), but we hate it. Now, though, as younger and younger CEOs emerge, as newer ideas become priorities, so will newer styles of business and, inevitably, a much different, improved and more enjoyable office place.
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