How Much Did Your Dreams Cost?

It’s the holidays, do yourself a favor and go out and download or Redbox the movie “Up In the Air“.  It’s a great movie for HR pros. One of the best scenes is this one (below) between George Clooney and J.K. Simmons:

Enjoy your time off, if you have it. Either way, answer me this, how much did you get paid to give up your dreams?

I got paid $20,000.  That’s how much I get paid, salary, for my first Recruiting job right out of college.

I wanted to be a college volleyball coach.  I was good at it. I loved doing it. I found my wife because of it.


It seems silly, now, looking back on it.  $20,000 is nothing.  My life has worked out wonderfully, but it’s a lesson I’ll pass along to my kids. Dreams are wasted on the young.  Don’t give up your chance when you are young. All too soon, you’ll reach a stage in life where your dreams won’t seem that important any longer.

We are told that the key to a happy work life is to find a job you love, and you’ll never ‘work’ another day as long as you live. About .01% of people actually find jobs they truly love. The rest of the 99.9% work jobs that are fine, but not love. You only fall in love with a job when you follow your dreams.

It’s not 100%. Sometimes your dreams end up sucking. Don’t get down about that. Many, many people suck at their dreams. That’s life. You’re allowed to change your dreams.  Just don’t wait too long to do it!

One thought on “How Much Did Your Dreams Cost?

  1. I spent about an hour over the holidays shredding paper tax returns for the past 11 years. With each year, I would look at my earnings and take a mental note of key events in that year, the birth of a child, a promotion, a move etc. What really struck me when the final sheet went into the shredder was that I was no “happier” in my highest earning years than I was in my first job out of my MBA program.

    The difference in the personal price paid however was significant. Time away from family, time not spent with friends or developing myself. Missing the formative years of my oldest child etc.

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