Trapped In A Golden Cage ?

Gilded Cage

A Well Paid Job Or A Gilded Cage? (c) R Dennison September 2013

I’ve blogged before about the intriguing work-life issues which the Guardian newspaper features.  Here is one issue from last week, which is well worth a read.

The key points are these, he:

– seems keen to get off the work ‘treadmill’ and out of the gilded cage of a well-paid, but all consuming, job.

– is also clued in about the employment situation he wants for the future.

– values interesting work (with adequate downtime to maintain a social life & his personal relationship).

– has a job currently at right angles to his values.

It would be great to coach him, as he does some action planning.  He may want to decide when he wants his values to complement the other elements in his life.

Once those timings are clear he can get the support he needs to plan his steps to reach his destination.  The actions he takes from now on will help him reach his ideal situation, at a pace with which he is comfortable.

Value Added




Best Ever Value (c) R Dennison September 2013

If you were to list three of your core values what would they be?  Dedication? Reliability? Thoughtfulness perhaps?  Now the tricky question, where did you acquire those values?  How many of them came from your schooling?

This is a topical question.  Research by Populus for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values suggests 84% of parents sampled want school to instil key morals and values in their pupils.

I don’t know if there is a consensus as to what particular values should be transmitted.  If a top three set of positive values could be taught (like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph), they would be a powerful foundation on which to base some goal setting later in young peoples’ lives.

They might also lessen the number of young people who end up within the criminal justice system.   A revealing feature story by BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Tom Symonds, touches on one young man’s value system which led him to commit a second knife-point robbery and end up in prison.  The young man sounds like he considers his own needs first and foremost, when he says he did the robbery because “[he] was going shopping in the West End the next day and … wanted some money to spend”.

If in future that young man was motivated to identify more positive values he could be coached successfully.  It would take time to build enough rapport to support him in action planning.  The key achievement would be to help him identify a decisive action, to answer the question ‘what else’ does he want to do with his life after his sentence ends.

Prime Numbers

A Slower Pace At Mid-Life (c) R Dennison September 2013

A Slower Pace At Mid-Life (c) R Dennison September 2013

If you are 23 years of age your life may be coming together nicely in line with your life plan (although recent figures from the Office for National Statistics on young jobless people show an upward trend).  Nonetheless hopefully you will be gaining life experience through working or studying.  Perhaps you are settling into a steady relationship.  Fingers crossed you are enjoying the best days of your life.

Three decades later, at 53, you will still be in your prime: using your life experience; enjoying time with your partner and wider family; these could be the best days of your life for different reasons.  Time to stop and smell the roses?

According to the recent Benenden Health survey many people identify that as the point which middle age arrives.  The survey suggests there are downsides to this milestone (like losing touch with technology, youth culture and fashion).   With demographic changes the ageing members of society are also in the majority.

My experience of people in that age bracket is that they are well in tune with their inner wisdom.  That is reassuring and would be more so, if employers were more motivated to take on staff in their fifties.

From a coaching perspective it would be powerful to build on that idea by:

–          exploring a 50-something client’s attitude to reaching their mid-life point

–          establishing what they wanted to do as a first step towards an even better future

–          energising them to take that step and the ones which follow it

It would be wonderful to support clients ready to look into those topics, as they are now in the prime of their life.