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While those not familiar with the dynamics of office life may not see the difference between a corner office and a cubicle, there is actually a very complex social structure at work. Most employees in a typical office setting work semi-privately in open cubicles placed in the center of the room. Managers, supervisors or executives, however, often work out of finished private offices located around the perimeter of the office floor. The most coveted location on the entire floor is the corner office.
The corner office is almost always reserved for the highest ranking employee or supervisor on the floor. Other managers or supervisors may have well-furnished offices, but the occupant of the corner office is traditionally viewed as the one most likely to advance through the company ranks. The corner office is considered a tangible reward for years of dedicated service or a promotion with higher responsibilities. While cubicle-bound employees must often work in a frenetic, noisy environment, the corner office provides much more privacy, along with a view of the outside world from two different windows.
While the atmospheric and logistical benefits of the corner office are important, its real appeal lies in the career advancement that the corner office symbolizes. In many college business courses, students are encouraged to strive for the corner office, or at least develop the drive necessary to earn such a promotion. The corner office is often described as the desired destination for an employee working his or her way up from the mailroom to the boardroom.
There are hundreds of self-help books on careers which use the corner office as one measurement of career success. Few employees will ever see the inside of a company's executive suite, but through hard work the corner office, along the perks surrounding it, can be reached. The corner office gives its occupant a real feeling of accomplishment, and recognition for his or her years of service.