Golden Handcuffs

Apr 11th, 2010 | By | Category: abundance, Career advice, career challenges, challenges, fear, mentor, office problems, personality, success

Good job with great benefits, nice place by the ocean, active social life with lots of friends, what more could you want?  Isn’t it everyone’s dream to be financially secure, live in a nice house, and have lots friends?

The term “golden handcuffs” is often used to describe a state where apparent benefits hold us captive in a situation that we may not enjoy or may even despise.  Although the situation may afford the income, lifestyle, domestic situation, or popularity that are usually the basis of most career goals, they come at a price that may not be worth the reward.  In many cases staying in a job that you can’t stand affects your ability to enjoy the rewards it offers.  Many of us convince ourselves that the temporary discomfort is worth the long-term gain.

There are few, if any, career paths that do not have some rough spots.  Sometimes it is worth the perseverance to get though the rough patch to enjoy smooth sailing on the other side.  On the other hand the rough spots have been known to damage or even sink a ship before it reaches safe harbor.  How do you deicide when to stay and when it is your best interest to find a new job?

Unfortunately there is not always a clear answer.  Some analysis may help in deciding the positives and negatives of staying in a situation where you are paying an emotional price for financial rewards. However it is often difficult to think clearly when you are emotionally involved, and there are no guarantees that the next situation will be any better.  If it is the work itself causing the problem then a change of career would be more likely to solve the problem.  The same is true of location, and environment.  For some the commute to work is overwhelming, and the traffic seems to getting worse.  A change of jobs or residence many solve the problem.  The same may be true if you work in a depressing location.  If it is your co-workers or boss that is the problem, a little more thought should be given to your decision.

Over the years I have worked in several different environments from field hand to upper management.   If there is one constant thread through all my different jobs it is people.  While most of the people I meet at work are likable and easy to work with, there always seems to be a few who are hard to get a long with.  There seems to be no escaping them.  If your biggest problem is with your co-workers it may be worth your while to learn to work through the problem.  Usually there is a way to either avoid the situation or to compartmentalize it to a controllable level.

A  bad boss is probably the worst situation to encounter, and may be the most damaging long-term.  A bad boss can make your day-to-day life miserable, and can ruin your career.  Dealing with a bad boss is a separate topic; the issue here is should you endure a bad boss?   In my experience how well I got a long with my boss determined to a great extent on how well I liked my working environment, and my promotion potential.  Of all the reasons to change jobs, a bad boss tops my list.  This does not mean that you should spend all your time boss shopping and changing jobs.  If you are have a problem boss there is advice on the PracticaL Mentor website as well as others, plus you may seek advice for a particular situation.

Finally there are some people who do not like the corporate world.  The 9-5 grind and petty politics are not for them. What are they to do?  A primary goal in life is to be as happy as possible.  A big portion of your time is spent at work so the more enjoyable you can make your work life the more you will enjoy life in general.  Although the American dream is more, bigger, and better, these may not be the building blocks that make you happy.  Happiness is an elusive and changing goal, and like any other goal it takes hard work to achieve.  I recommend that before you start off on an alternative career path that you consider it carefully.  Living the vacation life of the rich and famous first requires that you are rich and famous.

The PracticaL Mentor

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