Have you heard of the Golden Cage?

The first time I heard of this was when I came to Switzerland but I am sure it exists everywhere. It’s often gets mentioned when people work for large corporates. When they refer to their company as a golden cage, they mean they are comfortable but confined in some way. It often suggests they aren’t fully happy with their role but since the company offers great benefits and perks, they find it hard to leave. Hence a golden cage.

Many of us are comfortable, almost too comfortable. When we get comfortable, it’s easy to stay put. People only change when the pain is big enough. This is why you often see drastic growth when people go through crises. When people have hit rock bottom, there is nowhere else to go but up. It’s pretty messy when that happens though.

What surprises me is when employees think that there is no other option saying things like “I have no choice, I have a family, I have a mortgage, etc”. That brings a sense of helplessness as people do have a choice. They may not like the consequences but still, there is a choice. When they start understanding that, then they can make conscious decisions to change or not and start seeing things in a new light.

Rather than see a company as a golden cage, see it as an enabler, one that provides opportunities and resources. And know that you always have the key.

Know it’s always your choice – feel you would like to do something different or more meaningful? Check out our Show up and Step up Program.