Abandon the achievement economy

Our status symbols are in the midst of a seismic shift, with significant implications for business leaders and brands.

The collapse of some of the world’s biggest corporations has brought with it a reappraisal of what really constitutes success. 

Facing up to unprecedented economic pressure and the constant reminder of the life they are not living, via the heavily edited social-media profiles of their peers, it is little wonder that Milliennials are questioning the ‘achievement economy’ which underpins our corporate world.

Academics warn that Millennials are encountering an ‘epidemic of perfectionism’. This is contributing to rising anxiety rates, according to Dr Gordon Flett, a psychology professor at York University. In turn, this is driving a search for a more diverse set of business role models, who define themselves not through what they achieve, but what they experience.

This shift was aptly reflected in a post on Medium by Ellen Huerta, a former Google employee, on why she left her lucrative role at the search company to spend more time baking and launch the start-up Mend, a project intended to help people get through break-ups. 

Huerta wrote of her decision to step off the corporate ladder: "For the first time in my life my identity is not 100% tied to my accomplishments, I care less about what people think of me and spend more time on work that feels right. I am improving my ability to listen to my inner