Friday, February 05, 2010

Golden Handcuffs

Many of us who are established at large companies suffer from what a former professor of mine called Golden Handcuffs. Bound by Golden Handcuffs is where an opportunity to try something new, such as starting a business, is hampered by the fact that your comfortable. And leaving that comfort-zone is, well, uncomfortable.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because I’m comfortable. I’m compensated fairly, have a pension (yes I said pension) and have a good work/life balance. I’m on a well funded project that is looking like a stable place to be in the coming years.

If someone presented me with an opportunity to start a business, I’d have a difficult decision to make because of my Golden Handcuffs. However, if I was unemployed, starting a new business wouldn’t sound half bad.

Think about it sometime. Ask yourself if you’re bound by Golden Handcuffs. And if you are, I'm wondering if you find being comfortable, uncomfortable.


Scooter said...

I think it's even deeper than that. You were specifially recruited, or you gravitated toward a company such as the one you work for, because you're willing to wear golden handcuffs. One of the Agile presentations I was listening to noted that big corporations pay a "tax" in the form of a little bit of extra money to hire people who are willing to put up with hyper role specialization, too much process, corporate politics, and lack of direct access to customers. You get compensated for your patience and willingness not to indulge in those other opportunities at the expense of your current role. Unfortunately, that patience, focus on process, et al, are things that are ripe for offshoring. Bit of a Catch 22.

I'm usually willing to look at other opportunities (a bit of up or out), but I'm handcuffed due to my wife's lack of income (of the sort that could pay for our house, for instance). I don't always need a safety net, but I need to know my family will eat and have healthcare.

t-snide said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t-snide said...

I just posted on the Harvey Mackay book about getting fired. Aside from being forced out of your comfort zone, the benefit of losing your job (to a layoff, anyway) is that you typically get paid to figure it all out, either from unemployment, severance, or both. If I were to get laid off, I'd be paid in full for 26 weekss while I sought out my dream job.

Scooter said...

When I worked for the nurses and was coming to terms with how much I hated it, I took advantage of the fact that I was officially part time, despite having worked 40-60 hours a week forever (hourly pay) and spread my vacation out using the part time rate and agreeing to tackle the big jobs that a lengthy vacation would interfere with at work. I was off for six weeks. My time off involved a personal crash course in VB and other skills and writing and submitting my resume without the worries of having to schedule out of office time for interviews/etc. In retrospect, it was probably the best vacation I ever took as it determined my career for the next fourteen years.