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What’s the Best Job You Ever Had?

Dear Stephen,

It’s been almost three years, but I still miss my original job at #Knoll. I loved it. After years of working together, my coworkers at Knoll became my friends and extended family. We have a common bond because Knoll was always the cool place to work in our industry.

Since # HermanMiller acquired us and have become #MillerKnoll, many friends from the original Knoll family are gone. Here’s the thing - they were practical about it and have landed jobs at companies we would have turned our noses up at years ago while working at Knoll. All of this is because they couldn’t picture themselves as a part of the new MillerKnoll family. I decided to stay, and like children of a divorce and a new marriage, we are now a blended family, and it is starting to work for me.

Part of it is because the furniture snob in me isn’t going anywhere, and I’m learning to make the best of it. Let’s face it – MillerKnoll is just Herman Miller with a little Knoll sprinkled in. But I love the sprinkles, and I like my job more each day. I read your column every week, and I see so many complaints from people who don’t like their job or boss or aren’t making enough money… The bottom line is I loved my job – and it’s still my best job ever.


The Devoted Knollee


Dear Knoll Devotee,

It’s true, everyone that worked for Knoll bleeds Knoll Red to this day.

I recently ran into many former Knoll employees at a big industry event. Some had voluntarily left the company, and some were right-sized out of it. All of them pined for Knoll—the old Knoll, no matter what.

These people weren’t just missing the beautiful iconic designs they sold, but everyone was also missing one another. They shared with me that in different cities across America—from East Greenville, Pennsylvania to New York City, Chicago, and LA… former Knoll employees continue to get together, having drinks after work, to talk about the good old days, the days of Armani suits and pink silk ties.

I’ve learned that these get-togethers of ex-Knoll employees (XKEs) seem to have become a bit of everything: a swap of news about job opportunities mixed with industry gossip, intermingled with cocktails, and surrounded by lots of reminiscing about how everyone loved their jobs when it was just Knoll.

I must admit, I don’t know as many Knoll people as I do from other manufacturers, nor do I have as large a collection of their resumes. That’s because, as a recruiter, they were always the hardest to get on the phone. Simply put, they liked their jobs, and they made good money…and that’s a very compelling combination.

So, Knoll salespeople pretty much-ignored recruiters' calls. I’ve learned since the merger that, like you, everyone at the original Knoll seemed to love their job. It's funny because I remember that the few Knoll salespeople I could reach in the past were fiercely competitive with one another. So, they may have loved their jobs back then, but, at least for some of them, it took the merger or losing their jobs to start to love one another.

As I’ve mentioned in this column, anyone from the Knoll side of MillerKnoll is considered by other companies to have an excellent pedigree. The Knoll mystique, I guess. Whether you’re a dealer or a manufacturer, residential or contract, everybody wants somebody who worked for Knoll.

Everybody has a favorite job. My favorite was one of my first jobs in sales at #Haworth, which you’ve read about in this column many times.

Dear reader, in the comments, What’s the Best Job You Ever Had?