Even at the United Nations, where legend has it that the building was designed so that there could be no corner offices, the expanse of glass in individual offices is said to be a dead giveaway as to rank. Five windows are excellent, one window not so great.

Enid Nemy


The Quote in Other Words

Even in the United Nations, where it is believed that the structure was intentionally designed to eliminate corner offices, the amount of glass in an individual’s office is believed to indicate their status. Having five windows is considered impressive, while having only one window is not as desirable.


Explanation of the Quote

This quote highlights the idea that even in organizations that claim to value equality and fairness, there are often subtle indicators of hierarchy and status. The United Nations, which is known for its commitment to global cooperation and diplomacy, is not immune to this phenomenon. Despite the building’s design, which was intended to prevent any one person from having a corner office, the number of windows in an individual’s office is seen as a clear indicator of their rank.

This quote raises important questions about the nature of power and privilege in organizations. How do we define and measure success? What are the implications of these definitions for those who occupy positions of authority? And how can we create more equitable and inclusive workplaces that value the contributions of all employees, regardless of their rank or status?

Ultimately, this quote reminds us that even the most well-intentioned organizations can fall short of their ideals. It challenges us to think critically about the structures and systems that shape our workplaces, and to work towards creating more just and equitable environments for all.