“How much did they pay you to give up on your dreams?”

Here’s something I posted to the Screw Work Let’s Play Facebook page recently that got shared more than anything else in many weeks. It’s a short but brilliant clip of George Clooney from the movie Up In The Air.

George’s character, Ryan Bingham, makes a living telling people they’re being made redundant. It’s a tough job but sometimes he manages to make a very profound point during the process – like in this particular clip:


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  • Michelle drake

    Most people don’t come from a privileged family background so when they have to pay excessive rent and general living costs to survive in our society they usually go for the highest wage they can get.Add on the fact that children and mortgages usually follow you can appreciate why a lot of people don’t follow their dreams and stay in jobs that they don’t love.

  • Good point there. When I worked in IT I met many people who abandoned their dreams many years ago. Sometimes more than 20 years ago and they were waiting to get retired to perhaps continue where they started long time ago. I didn’t want to have the same scenario so that was one of the reason to quit job and start living on my own rules. I didn’t regret that decision.

  • Amanda Harrison

    Hi John, Brilliant!

    Sorry not been in touch for a while! Following the dream! Fuel tank sprung a leak this morning however still expecting to take off for Australia next week!
    It was this time last year for the 30DC!! Have got paid speaking events since then and am living the dream of following Amy Johnson solo flight to Australia.
    Hardest work I have ever done, never mind your 20mins a day. At the moment I have only 20 mins off. In fact being naughty writting this when should be writting to MOD for more permissions.
    Thank you to all the 30DC and you John, (still in the bank for the last chat when get back?). You are all part of making this happen, as the most important thing when following your dreams is to surround yourself with other positive voices! Go do your dreams, everyone!


  • johnsw

    Yes I’ve been following your progress on twitter & Facebook, Amanda – it’s so exciting! We should feature you on the blog here.

  • johnsw

    Wise move, Eva. Retirement is a long time to wait – and not everyone is even going to get there!

  • johnsw

    There are certainly tough decisions to make in the modern world of work, Michelle, but the world is a better place when we’re doing work that really suits us.

  • Andrew Cairns

    See the point you’re making. However, in this film, Clooney is using a rather cynical technique to get the people he’s firing to ‘go quietly’. i.e. we’re actually doing you a favour by firing you, since now you can go and pursue your dream. Also this means we won’t have to pay you much of a severance package and you won’t take us to any labour tribunal for unfair dismissal.

    As for me, my current break for it is a novel “The Witch’s List” – out next year: http://www.facebook.com/thewitchslist
    But I’m not leaving ‘the corporation’ just yet…

  • johnsw

    I think it’s open ended isn’t it? Perhaps even Ryan doesn’t know if he’s trying to inspire them or whether he’s just manipulating them. Either way it’s a powerful point.

    Good luck with the novel!

  • jane

    Michelle does make a good point. Also what we think we might be good at or think we might like to do may turn out to be wrong. How do you know? It can be a risk to break out when you are responsible for the mortgage etc and potentially you could end up unhappiest than before

  • Andrew Cairns

    Thank you, John!

  • Michelle drake

    I agree and happily I did choose to follow my vocation which I still do after 25 years.That choice came with a sacrifice of monetary insecurity but I would rather be my own boss.

  • johnsw

    Glad to hear it, Michelle!

  • johnsw

    I don’t recommend anyone quit and take a chance on something untested. Always get it started while you’re making money in your current work. Then build it until it’s making money and you can see the potential of it.