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How to Escape The Golden Handcuffs

What do you do if you hate your job, BUT you make lots of money?

For some people, finding new satisfying work is relatively simple. They get another job somewhere else. But some face an enviable, but difficult challenge. Secure jobs, high salaries and attractive perks have turned into a trap.

That was the problem facing a very unhappy man who came to see us. "Paul" had risen with lightning speed through the ranks of a major bank. It was an exciting ride, but his career had plateaued, and he felt unchallenged, desperately bored, and trapped by the "golden handcuffs" of his six‑figure salary.

Paul, who is an astute and insightful judge of people and loves to delve into peoples' psyches, once dreamed of being a therapist. Unfortunately, his well‑meaning father wanted his son to have a "stable, well-paying career" and set him up for an interview at a major bank.

That was twenty years ago, and it had been at least five years since Paul could honestly say he enjoyed his job. Though he was friendly and on good terms with nearly everyone at work, the fact was that work relationships were pretty superficial. They weren't his kind of people.

So what can Paul [and you?] do—without giving up the fine lifestyle a lucrative job buys?  The options all require some effort, and (some of them) short-term financial sacrifice, but can pay off long term.

1) Follow your dream and the money will follow...evenutally in Paul's case.
Following his dream would have been good advice 15 years ago.  Paul might have built a successful private practice and made comparable money.  But it takes several years and lots of effort to achieve his income level. Pursuing that option would be very expensive in lost earnings.

2) Get the money first
Forget that slogan about following your dream.  Get the money first—then do what you want.

With Paul's income, he could cut back on his expenses, and carefully invest and build financial independence. This means having an income sufficient for his basic needs and comforts from a source other than his paid job. Going to work then becomes a choice, not a necessity. Once Paul achieves financial independence, he could pursue psychology or whatever interested him, without concern about the money.

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3) Explore within his industry

There are a lot of opportunities within the area of banking and finance. Paul could undertake a campaign to find a niche that he would find challenging and interesting.

4) Go outside his industry

An astute executive like Paul has the skills to contribute in many companies. In a smaller company, he should be able to negotiate an equity position. In the short term, it might require a pay cut, but in the long term, he should be able to rebound beyond what he had been earning as a salaried employee.

we'd like to report that Paul rose to the occasion, but sadly, Paul chose to do nothing. The last time we heard from him, he was still bored, unhappy, and stuck.

If the Golden Handcuffs are holding you back, give us a call:  847 673 0339.



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