Career advice from Terry Lundgren

Highlights from Lundgren's Cats in the Corner Office interview.

Angelina Elias


For our Cats in the Corner Office series, we sat down with UA alumnus and Macy’s, Inc. CEO Terry J. Lundgren to talk about his career journey, the retail industry, and lessons he learned on his way to the corner office.

Lundgren is CEO of one of the nation’s premier omnichannel retailers, with fiscal 2015 sales of $27.1 billion. But he didn’t start at the top, nor did success happen overnight. In fact, Lundgren’s career began in a restaurant, shucking oysters and taking the initiative to work his way up.


Bloom where you’re planted.

Lundgren emphasized throughout the interview that in order to succeed, you have to concentrate on the job at hand…even if it’s not your dream job. While it is true that you have to do what is best for you and your career, job-hopping is not the answer. Sometimes you should ‘grin and bear it’ through the difficult jobs or those that are not exactly what you want.


Your work is never meaningless.

Lundgren expressed that at the beginning of his career, he felt he was a hot-shot stuck doing meaningless work. But after sitting down with his employer, Lundgren was told that even if he didn’t think the work was important, it was to the company. In short, he was told to simply do the work because the company needs it done. Being diligent with his work – whatever it was – and trying to do it better than anyone else is became Lundgren’s goal. He advises others to do the same. “Bloom where you’re planted,” he says.


Doing great work won’t go unnoticed.

If you concentrate on the job you have, it could very well surprise you. Having integrity and doing your best work will get the attention of your boss. In Lundgren’s case, this proved to his employer that he was passionate and willing to move forward with his career.


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