The Modern Workplace Is A Prison System

I've come to believe that many employers think like prison wardens. A prison warden, in order to keep their job, need prisoners. No prisoners, no job. Essentially, their goal, like many business owners, is to attract and retain. 

Too often "retain" turns into "imprison". Reducing turnover becomes a major focus when it should be accepted as a natural state of things. People grow and change, so do businesses. Holding an employee back from their personal growth is not healthy for the organization or the employee.

Many well paid employees talk about "golden handcuffs". A bad job that pays well. Their employers know that they are essentially paying a premium to torture talented people. Maybe they wouldn't characterize it that way but there is often an undercurrent of "well I'm paying them enough, they shouldn't complain." 

The outcome is talented people trapped in jobs where they only realize a fraction of their potential. It also results in organizations that fail to realize their potential, held back by underperforming employees who would leave the moment they could. Often they would leave for a job they love even if it meant a serious pay cut. I've seen this with a number of friends and associates. Some have taken jobs at 50% of what they were making before. I haven't heard one of them say they regret it despite a good deal of personal hardship.

Until employers realize that passion is as important as talent this cycle will continue. In my experience a passionate employee can be transformative for an organization, as long as they are given the freedom to realize their passion. 

The days of work/life separation are, for the most part, over. Technology has enabled this quite nicely whether we like it or not. Work and life must flow together seamlessly, each bringing meaning and value to the other. Employers that maintain this prison mentality will soon find themselves disrupted by companies that put together passionate teams that will do whatever it takes to realize the purpose of the organization they serve. It's time to set your people free.