This one phrase came up multiple time last week in articles I read/podcasts I listened to. I was familiar with the term but this got me thinking again.
Let me first explain what golden handcuffs are:
You're at a job that pays decently well for your level of experience. It's a good place to work. But, you're not happy. Maybe the work is not interesting anymore, maybe your manager is annoying or maybe it's just the office culture.
You could find another job, but finding a job that pays as much would take a lot of effort and you'll have to start from scratch in terms of trust and responsibility. Heck, you could go out on your own, but how are you going to pay the bills?
If this sounds relatable, you're in golden handcuffs. You want to leave, but it's more comfortable not to. Smart companies know this and make sure their handcuffs become heavier overtime.
I'd love to work for myself and make a living working on my passion projects, building fun products and courses.
The startup bro / silicon valley / "tu beer hai" culture would have you believe you should quit your life and jump in. If you don't go all-in on your passion, you wouldn't succeed.
I think that's horrible advice.
Let me explain why. This is something I think about a lot, I'd like to spend more time on my personal projects. When you have a full time 40 hour/week job, it difficult to find time and energy to work on other things.
I started a micro-startup a few months called frontend.army, it's a React training company. I played around the idea to leave my job and work on it full time. I calculated how many workshops tickets will I have to sell every month to replace the steady income from my day job. I'll spare you the math, it's an unrealistic number.
Does that mean it was a bad idea and I shouldn't pursue it at all? Hell no! I love teaching developers and building exercises that make the concepts easiest to understand.
But putting that kind of pressure on your passion project would kill it, it will negate the reasons why you wanted to pursue it in the first place. In my case, it would mean optimising for ticket sales, because that's what will make it possible, not building better content.
You have to protect your passion and create a environment for yourself where you can enjoy your craft. Isn't that the point?
What if the handcuffs are not a bad thing?
Not having to worry about the source of income for the next month, aka job security, is totally underrated. My teammates are friendly and talented, that's really valuable. Most weeks, I can get away by putting a little less than the full 40 hours, I almost feel guilty complaining about it.
And I can use my salary to invest in my side projects. I am able to host workshops that don't make a lot of money because I don't need them to pay the bill.
When the pressure of paying the bills is taken away, I can really focus my energy in making my workshop content perfect. My strategy is to slowly build up my content and reputation.
And hopefully one day in the distant future, I can make a full time living teaching frontend developers and building cool products.
In fact, I'm working on a React course right now and giving away the first 4 lessons for free #ad 😊
Your turn! Are you or have you been in golden handcuffs? Hit reply and let me know what you think.
Hope this was helpful for you on your journey!
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Highlights from this week: