Imagine you are sitting in a chair. It may not be the best chair ever, but because you feel like sitting in it and you know you can get up at any time, it makes the experience pretty enjoyable. Now, imagine that all of the sudden you realize that you are tied to that chair. Pretty quickly, your perspective shifts and all the good feeling related to sitting in that chair is gone. The overwhelming feeling of being stuck makes you uncomfortable and the only thought on your mind is “I want out!”

That’s what can happen in your job too. You get a well-paid position that aligns with your skills and things are OK for a while. And then over the years you become more and more dependent on that job – now you have a mortgage to pay, benefits to keep for your family, and the status you are known for.

Suddenly, you feel stuck.

People call it “the golden handcuffs” – it’s risky and difficult to leave, because who knows what’s out there. When you depend on something (or someone), you’ll undoubtedly start feeling resentful towards it (or the person). You’ll feel as if you are tied to a chair and you want out.

But here is the twist! When you are on that chair, instead of trying to figure out how to get out of it, maybe you just need to find a way to get loose. Remember? You actually wanted to sit in that chair, so maybe it’s not about the chair at all.

Chances are that it’s all about the handcuffs

So, when you are feeling stuck at your job, it may have nothing to do with the job itself and everything to do with the dependencies you feel. The question is then, “How can you feel free again?”

1. Strengthen your independence

Instead of indulging yourself with vacations that you so much deserve after working so hard, maybe you should streamline your expenses and pretend you only have half of the income. You may need to make huge decisions, like taking your kid away from her private school, or downsizing, but once you can operate on a lower budget I bet it’ll feel like the cuffs are not that tight.

2. Strengthen your self-confidence

You may feel stuck because you lost perspective. You are not aware any more about how valuable you may be for the world around you. Talk to people around about what other possibilities you may have in your career. Feeling you have options will relax you more, for sure. When you ease the dependencies you’ve created over the years, you may very well re-discover the passion you once had for your job.

The truth is, you tied yourself up to that chair and you can also get yourself free.

And when you do, you may very well decide to continue sitting in that chair, because now you know you can get up any time you want.


Henrieta Riesco is a founder of Intentional Career. She is all about meaningful conversation to empower professionals on their career journey. After experiences of being a teacher and a corporate trainer in Slovakia, a customer advocate and a training consultant for 10+ years at Microsoft, she is comfortable with calling herself a Career Coach. You can follow Henrieta via Twitter, or via her blog.