How much did you earn to give up your dream?

Our flight’s movie, on the Boeing 757, was Up in the Air starring George Clooney as the earned million mile point man. Quite an interesting movie. Big companies hire people, like George Clooney’s character, to face people, fire them, and offer them ‘the package’.

George (who’s character name escapes me), says to this particular man he firing (as I improvise the lines):

You minored in French Culinary Arts. Most men minor in Accounting or Business, but you minored in French Culinary Arts. Now you can go and live your dream as a chef (as he hands him the severance package).

How much did they pay you to give up your dreams when you graduated from college?

That whole short spew of lines really struck me. Do you know what the man replied? (improvisation, again) “$28,000 year”.

Wow! I always wondered how we get stuck in this proverbial mess of getting stuck in a 9 – 5 job and playing groundhog day on repeat. Now I know. It started in our young adult life.

Now, I don’t mean to sound so harsh with that statement above. But I remember my dreams of wanting to be an artist, traveler, drinking coffee on the veranda day in and day out, or sitting at the coffee shop with a cigarette hanging from my lips watching the people around me. Just stuff that didn’t require a time schedule or deadlines.

Yet, somehow I got caught up that 9 to 5 life. And my dreams were pushed back to live ‘another day’. Yet that day never seems to get any closer.

But, as I sit in my veranda outlooking the Maui Ocean, with my family, I think to myself there is so much more to life than living in my scheduled little bubble of a life.

All it took me was $9,000 a year to work full-time at the Kay Bee Toys (or $4.25 per hour to work as a cashier) to give up on my dreams.

How much were you offered to give up your dreams?

34 thoughts on “How much did you earn to give up your dream?

  1. Moon Hussain

    That movie has gotten a lot of attention. Maybe I should rent it and watch it soon. There is something profound in that question…

    Enjoy your trip!

    Reply
  2. Financial Samurai

    It was an excellent movie and recommend all to see.

    My very first job out of college paid me almost six figures… i remember, it was $99,998 on my very first W2 out of college. After that, how could I start settling for anything less? I’ve learned to like at least 70% of what I do, and for that, I’m happy.

    Hope you are enjoying Maui!

    Reply
  3. Bucksome Boomer

    A veranda in Maui sounds pretty nice. Doesn’t the air smell great there?

    You’re right that many of us “sell out” on our dreams for immediate goals. Can’t wait to see that movie.

    Reply
  4. jpkittie

    Thankfully, as of right now, I didn’t have to sell out – I love being a stay at home mom… I am thankful every day that I am able to do it.

    Reply
  5. myfinancialobjectives

    If we’re being honest, I’d love to not work, just have a million hobbies and play recreational sports all day, that would be awesome. If we’re being honest and somewhat realistic, I’d love to be a professional ______. Whether that be tennis player, surfer, some kind of athlete/adventures things doer. Finally if we are being realistic, I’d have to say something within the finance industry or music industry, I like IT, though my passion is in other things… Like music and finance.

    Reply
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  7. James

    sitting in Maui. that sounds like fun to me.

    Isn’t it funny how people go to college get these huge student loans and never even do the work they studied and put themselves in debt for?

    I personally don’t get student loans and why people would be willing to take on any more than $20,000 in debt, I guess unless they really believe they are going to make $100k a year and know how to save $20k + to pay off debt and live debt free moving forward.

    Reply
  8. Little House

    What a great line (even if it is reworded!) I have to say that I “gave” up my dream for that same amount right after college, $28K. I thought it was a lot at the time. However, I quickly learned that it wasn’t worth it. I quit before the year was up and joined my husband in all of his entrepreneurial endeavors. It hasn’t been the easiest road, but in the end I know I would have been miserable living a 9-to-5 life in a cubicle. Teaching was a great alternative for me (lots of vacation and shorter days) and continues to inspire creative thoughts – those lucky kids ;)

    If you launch your vegan website soon, maybe you can put that 9-to-5 job behind you!

    Reply
  9. money funk

    @Moon I am glad the flight showed it, as I may have missed seeing a great movie.

    @Financial Samurai Sweet job out of college!

    I like that… 70%. And I don’t think you are to stupid to be a rocket scientist. LOL.

    @Everyone I know our goals or life paths have changed since those early years. So, you may not have those same ‘dreams’ as you did in your youth. And you may be living a great ‘dreamy’ life.

    But I am talking about the time when you went thru high school or college. You had great aspirations to be something dreamy. Did you pursue and acheive those goals? Or did your eyes see the money and those original dreams were pushed back for a later day?

    @Bucksome Boomer Love it! Could have enjoyed staying longer. :)

    Must see movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good.

    @jpkittie Yeah! Glad to hear that. That is great because there are so many of us, like myself, that are missing out due to working a two income household.

    @myfinancialobjectives But why are you not doing those things? Is it not realistic? And why?

    @Little House That is great you quickly realized. 9-5 does drive me bonkers as I feel I play ground hog day over and over. Actually, at one time, I really enjoyed my job, but now it is starting to grow too small for me. Time to rethink my course.

    And you’re right. If I get this going I may soon be out of that 9-5 by choice! :)

    Reply
  10. RainyDaySaver

    I don’t think I really gave up my dream — I’m just still trying to find a way to fully achieve it! Working the 9-5 part of it has been great experience.

    Reply
  11. Belmont Thornton

    Dreams are priceless. No amount of money can justify giving up your dream. Well, about the 9-5 job, it is most important that you do what you like. A day at work is a day at play if you are in a job of your choice. By choice I mean not situational, but unconditional.

    Reply
  12. Darren

    Hmmm… that’s a nice thought-provoking quote. I guess that the challenge for me is that I’m not exactly sure what my dreams are at the moment. However, I doubt that it’s related to what I’m doing now.

    I’d like to think that I’m spending my off-work hours and weekends trying to figure that out though.

    Reply
  13. Simple in France

    Interesting. . .I don’t ever really remember feeling like I gave up my ‘dream’ for money. I always just wanted to live and work an odd job in France. . . maybe do a little writing on the side. (I have no idea why it’s a very random dream) While in France the first time, I realized I enjoyed teaching and became a teacher–eventually rambling my way back to the States to work in public schools. I think it was because I was passionate about what I was doing–but the work was too intense, and I wasn’t in France.

    So we moved back. I suppose you could say I’m living my dream, as unsettled as we are.

    I may see that movie though. George Clooney always plays characters that just crack me up–so pompous!

    Reply
  14. Money Reasons

    I always dreamed of living in a cabin by a lake in the woods. Not a good dream for me since I have allergies (I always thought I had a cold)…

    During high school, my dream evolved to be a traveling one. So far, I haven’t accomplished that goal (the farthest I’ve traveled to date is to San Francisco).

    My dream is not totally dead though. At this point in time, hopefully, I’m just turning the financial corner. Slowly, as I’ll build up my financial base, I’ll start taking more elaborate vacations each and every year. Perhaps someday (after Hawaii in 2 years), I’ll make it to some country overseas!

    We’ll see, that’s the beauty of dreams, it’s the carrot that keeps the horse (me) plodding along ;)

    Reply
  15. money funk

    @RainyDaySaver That’s great!

    I used to love my job. But now, as with every job, the ‘politics’ have set in. And I am outgrowing my job. I am happy to say I set up the department I man now. But it is about time for me to find my next excursion in the career world.

    @Darren Oh, I know that one, too. What did you dream of doing when you were younger? Flexo wrote a great piece called, Starting the Decade off Right: Do something you love. You might find some solace in that piece.

    @Simple in France Oh, I envy people like you and Alice. Living your dream, especially with a mate that shares your passion. Good luck with getting your French driver’s license!

    @Money Reasons I’m right there with you on building up the vacations. Now, that I finally took our 1st big family vacation… I am itching for Europe.

    I am clearly making up for bad financial mistakes that set my travels back. But I have the same goal to travel parts of the world (hopefully, while I am still fit enough to bike, walk, and jolly around without aches and pains – LOL).

    Reply
  16. Stock investing 101

    Hopefully I will not be giving up my dreams for much longer. I still don’t see how people are able to work 9-5 for 40 years making someone else rich. I have as much respect for people willing to do that as I do for anyone.

    Reply
  17. Girl Starup

    “But I remember my dreams of wanting to be an artist, traveler, drinking coffee on the veranda day in and day out, or sitting at the coffee shop with a cigarette hanging from my lips watching the people around me. Just stuff that didn’t require a time schedule or deadlines.”

    He he you just described what a typical day is for me, but without the cigarette dangling from my mouth ;)

    It really is fun :)

    Reply
    1. money funk

      I am just a social smoker. And very seldom at that. But it sounds fun. So, I take it your business is making your dinero to support that lifestyle???

      Reply
      1. Girl Starup

        Kind of…I do some sessional teaching as well, as freelance design. So the two help me have this lifestyle. Eventually I want to ditch the teaching, but I have to be patient :)

        Reply
  18. Len Penzo

    I’m not sure I gave up my dreams… I’ve only postponed them. Like Sam, I got a high-paying job out of college and have been diligently saving for the past twenty years so I can retire early and then do what I want for the rest of my life! :-)

    Five more years to go – barring a severe bout of high inflation brought upon by our country’s insatiable urge to spend more than it has.

    (sigh) On second thought, maybe I’ll never be able to retire…

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

    Reply
    1. money funk

      Good for you. I wish in my youth I was as clear minded about my goals as you and Sam. That will be sweet to retire early.

      I wouldn’t mind working long-term, for myself, if it’s something I enjoy and take mini-retirements (as T. Ferris suggests). I could be happy with that, too. But first is paying off that debt and barring up that savings for me. Its a long road ahead.

      I have no doubt you’ll do fine. And even if it take a bit longer to retire, it sounds like you will retire in style. :)

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Reply
  19. Adrienne

    I loved that film! And that part of the movie really touched me too. I sold out for 57k. Before becoming a rocket scientist (I know, I know…) I had traveled the world, been a river guide, a snowboard instructor, and loved life. Once that 57k was offered to me, those dreams were long gone. Then I went through a quarter life crisis and since then have been slowly working my way out of my cubicle jail. Now that I am nearly making 6 figures, I have finally put myself in a position where I don’t need to make 6 figures. I will be happily NOT making 6 figures before the year is out. :)

    Reply
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  22. Austin @ TheOrangePaper.com

    Ah, what a post – Excellent! It reminded me of the book ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ and how we get caught up in the 9 – 5 rat race and give up our dreams. And yes, I truly agree that ‘other day’ never comes.

    Reply
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