The Golden Handcuffs You Don’t Notice Until They’re Tight

The Golden Handcuffs You Don’t Notice Until They’re Tight

There is a concept in business known as golden handcuffs.  It’s used by companies in industries with high-turnover to retain employees.  These companies offer their employees stock options that don’t vest for years, retention bonuses that they have to return if they leave, or retirement programs that get larger year by year.  When most people refer to golden handcuffs, this is what they mean.  What I mean by the term is something similar, but something pretty peculiar to entrepreneurs.

I don’t (nearly) know everyone who reads this blog personally, but I’ll bet more then a few are like me.  You dig the concept of being your own boss someday.  You have an idea or two floating around in your head and some loose concept of when you might want to start your own thing.  If you’re like me though, you already have an exciting job, an interesting one, and (most relevant to this post) a lucrative one.  You drive a nice car that isn’t fully paid for.  You have a nice house or condo that you treasure dearly.  You rarely drink PBR or IC Light at the bar anymore, and never Olde German.  Then one day it occurs to you, “I should start my own thing.” and you can’t.  You have a few weeks to two months of run rate in the bank, but that’s it.  That’s the golden handcuffs you don’t notice until they’re tight, the golden handcuffs of modern American society.

Want to be an entrepreneur tomorrow?  Start looking at ways to wiggle your wrists out of those golden hand cuffs today.  It’s something I’m starting to do now, and I’ve found it quite liberating.  I don’t know what my next step will be, hell I don’t even have any idea when I’ll make it.  While it wouldn’t surprise me to be still kicking ass for Adaptivity in 3 years, it would also be nice to know I’m still there because I want to be, not because of these silly hand cuffs.