People Who Gave Up Their Dream For A Stable Job Explain Whether They Regret Their Decision

People Who Gave Up Their Dream For A Stable Job Explain Whether They Regret Their Decision
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

When I was little, I dreamt about becoming a famous actress who made lots of money, got interviewed by big names in the entertainment industry, and attended red-carpet events.

While I would never say no if I were ever offered a movie role, I know my shyness coupled with my lack of experience means I'll never make a living as an actress. I have a proper adult job, and I focus on working, taking care of my family, and learning useful skills, such as how to cook. Acting is not a part of my daily life.

Now, I know I was never meant to be an actress. I may be able to act, but I'm way too shy to get up on stage. It's not something I'm truly sad about.

However, there are people who have similar dreams and tried to make it happen. Unfortunately, they had to face the truth that they either couldn't achieve their dreams or took their dream as far as it would go, and had to go down a different path.

Many people on Reddit are sharing how they tried to get their dream job, but were forced to give up on it, and what regrets, if any, they have about that,

Curious to find out more, Redditor GeneReddit123 asked:

"Redditors who gave up pursuing their 'dream' to settle for a more secure or comfortable life, how did it turn out and do you regret your decision?"

Some people gave up on their dreams, but found a good life, and rarely, if ever, think about their past dreams.

The Dream Wasn't What I Thought

"My dream was to become a translator for Nintendo, specifically the Zelda franchise. Studied Japanese and lived there for a year, then became a video game translator at a small studio. Afterwards a Localization Project Manager at a bigger Korean company. Worked my way up to maybe, maybe one day be hired by Nintendo. Lost more and more passion for games on the way, heard awful stories about working at Nintendo and slowly realized that this isnt the right job for me after all. Translators are - most of the time - underpaid and the whole thing isn't as romantic as it seems. Decided to do something entirely else, left the gaming and Localization industry and am now a really happy (and well paid) Product Manager for an e-commerce company. I will never go back. Knowing Japanese (well, the bit that is left after not using it for years) is a good party trick still, so no regrets. Was a fun time but it had to end."

– Odango777

"People don't realize that institutions, like corporations, often utilize worker passion as an excuse to mistreat them (pay less, make unsustainable demands). Thus why a story like yours just echoes through this whole thread. For example, it's what the world is doing to a whole generation of frontline healthcare workers rn."

– ishitar

Music vs. Education

"When I was in college, I wasn't the most enthusiastic student. I barely hung onto my grades and spent most of my time partying. I mostly hung out with a buddy of mine who played drums for a thrash punk band that was on the cusp of being something. He taught me how to play and I was surprisingly good at the drums."

"One day, my buddy broke his arm and the band asked me to sub in for him. I played like five shows with them and had a hell of a time doing it. While he was recovering, my buddy wound up moving out of state and the band asked if I wanted to replace him permanently."

"I think about that moment a lot, but wound up changing my major and getting through college. I now work in IT for a large company and think it worked out for the best. In hindsight, the music was pretty much unlistenable and the band went no-where, but there are definitely days when I'm overwhelmed at work and I wonder what could have been. Maybe it's just age at this point, but I don't think I could have kept up with it for long."

– FakePlasticSN

Not Quite Good Enough

"Turned out great, just not right at the moment as I am still job hunting after having to quit my previous job. Still no regrets though."

"I went to college to become a 3D animator. Something I always dreamed about. I was top of the class, constantly won awards for my work. I honestly thought I was going to make it big. Then the final semester started and all the seniors were required to go to a special hiring event where tons of big names would be. I got my portfolio and resume copies ready to go, and spent hours researching the big names and their projects as well as rehearsing lots of practice questions."

"It was devastating. No one would look twice at my stuff. Introduced myself, made some awkward small talk as they were so disinterested, then as I walked away they would immediately put it in the stack with hundreds of other portfolios, and not in the special pile."

"I switched up my game. I started introducing myself with a quick mention that I had a background in programming (I did). Thinking that maybe that would give me an edge. Oh boy did it work. Suddenly I was getting personal business cards, phone numbers and emails, my resume was put on the special pile."

"It was at that moment I realized I went into the wrong field. I was just a tiny insignificant drop in a sea of artists, many of whom were much more talented than I could ever be."

"Finished up my degree and went back to college for a BS in Computer Science. Got my first job right out of college from an internship I did over the summer. The job itself was heaven, and I really enjoyed it. It also helped that I made bank when I was there. Paid off all my school loans within 3 years and had plenty to invest and put into savings."

"While it sucks not having anything right now, I'm hoping to find something soon."

"Side note: The 3D stuff I still do as a hobby. Not nearly as good as I once was, but it is still fun and relaxing."

– -PM_me_your_recipes-

Not Too Surprising

"It was fine, but no one gives a sh*t if you're a professional bassoonist and there really isn't enough paying work."

"I did it professionally for eight years before quitting to raise kids. Now I work in IT. If I had to do it over again, I'd have just gotten a real job and not put so much time into an instrument that I don't like playing."


"You know what the bassoon is? It’s a cry for help!”

– but_uhm

Others do have regrets about not following their dreams, or trying and giving up too soon.

The Band Didn't Make It

"Honestly turned out great. I realised my band wasn’t going to get a record deal after a few years and then after playing for other peoples bands for a while it started to become less fun."

"I got a ‘proper’ job, started working on my career and used my new spare time to start playing rugby again. Now I’ve got a really good job in a sector I enjoy working in, married, kids, nice house all that stuff and I still play rugby on Saturdays (pre pandemic) to keep things a little different as well as keeping in shape."

"I don’t really see it as giving up on my dream. It was just recognizing that it wasn’t going to happen. I’m very fond of that period of my life and having spent quite a few years chasing that particular dream I don’t have any regrets or what-if’s about being in a band."

– jprimus

They Rose Again

"I worked in video games for almost 19 years. I worked for Sega as a tester in college, got a masters degree in education and worked for The Learning Company designing educational games. The educational software market started to collapse."

"I eventually left the industry for other fields but I miss making games for kids."

"I’ve met so many people who grew up playing the games I designed and built. Maybe after my kids are out if the house I’ll try to make games again."

– practicalm

Writing Isn't Just Writing

"Being a successful writer means taking on far more than just writing your book or short story."

"I'm a medical writer for a cancer center and love it, but I always wanted to write other things as well. I spent two years writing the memoir of a friend who served as a helicopter crew chief in Vietnam, including time in special ops running covert missions into Laos and Cambodia. I hoped to publish it, but finding an agent has beaten me down."

"Today you can't be just a good writer; you need to have a strong presence on social media, with a lot of followers on Twitter/Facebook and a popular blog, because agents and publishers expect you to be the marketing engine."

"I'm in my 60s now and just don't have that level of energy anymore. It's not the writing that's hard -- it's the hustle."

– BSB8728

Doctor, Doctor!

"Part of me regretted it, part of me knew I had to."

"I always wanted to be a doctor. No pushy parents or anything like that. I just wanted to fix problems, and medical things seemed like the most interesting problems, things change, get worse/better, and add new problems. My little brother was born and developed seizures and developmental issues. I decided Pediatrics was for me! The same problems/puzzles but with the added intrigue of the patient being unable to tell me what was wrong. Sounds a bit sick, but that's what my brain wanted."

"I didn't get the grades at school, unfortunately, my step dad died, and it messed me up a bit being needed at home with my siblings, and I shifted my focus. I did go to university, did an access course and a biology degree with the aim of then going on to medicine afterward. Sadly, I got two rejections for med school (on my birthday no less), and I pissed away the rest of my final year, because...what was the point anymore??"

"I then met a boy (now husband), and needed to get a job. Any job. Please just give me a job. Countless applications were ignored or rejected. I felt worse than useless. I finally landed a job at a call centre. Hated every minute of it. But bills got paid, a wedding and honeymoon have been paid for, and we bought our house..."

"But. In 2019 I knew I was turning thirty soon and knew this wasn't what I wanted, even if it was what I needed."

"I enrolled at a local college on an access course and last year I passed with distinction. I applied to a few university courses, and I had two successful interviews. I quit my sucky job on new year's after nearly 6 years of hating it. And in two weeks I start my course to become a nurse."

"Plans change, needs must. But I'm hoping its worked out..."

– Jynxiii

The Music Still Moves Me

"TLDR: I went from being a pro musician, signed to a label to working IT Security. I make great money but I'm kinda miserable."

"I go back and forth. Mostly regret. Covid has given me a strange new perspective on what is and isn't worth pursuing in life."

"I was a former professional musician in my late teens to mid twenties. Got the degree, started a band, worked our butta off and got signed to a label that later became notorious for ripping bands off. (Name rhymes with Prick Story Bread Chords)"

"I toured the country, played in front of thousands of people, recorded a couple of kick-@ss albums and played gigs several days a week for nearly a decade of my life."

"Problem was, that entire time: I didn't make a nickel. I was broke ALL the time. I didn't officially move out of my parent's house completely until I was 24. I had apartments and roommate situations, sure, but for many years I had to have my safety net of my Mom and Step Dad, which is embarrassing."

"I remember the day I decided to quit the band I was in. We drove 12+ hours to Atlanta for a music festival, only to be told on arrival that we were bumped from the bill. Not only that, but the promoter decided to compensate us with a measly $100 for our inconvenience. $100 split among five dudes. It wasn't worth the hard work anymore, living in a van and eating gas station food and military rations to survive. I quit the band not long after."

"Long story short, I transitioned into IT."

"I make six figures, own a house, have a wife and a top of the line Nissan Armada Platinum in my driveway and frankly, I couldn't be more miserable if I tried."

""Fx this!""

"What's the status on this situation?"

"Sorry you're on your honeymoon, but software just went down and we need your help"

"You aren't professional enough. You need to work on your communication."

"Good job getting all of your work done without ever needing help. You're super good at your job, but it isn't quite enough for us. You need to be perfect."

"You did 99% of your job perfectly but didn't send an email fast enough. You're useless."

"Sorry... got lost in the rant but my point stands. I'm half tempted to move to Vegas and work as a hired gun in a casino band. Those a-holes make money hand over fist playing covers from the 80s."

Deleted User

A few people dreamt about having a good job or a lovely family, and have achieved those goals.

There's No Such Thing As A Dream Job

"I wish I'd realised sooner that work is just work for me, there is no dream job. I just want something I'm good at with decent pay and no stress, think I've found it."

– SlightlyIncandescent

"Same. I think some adults really need to stop pressuring children to find their ultimate passion and translate it into their future career. That line of thinking led to a lot of anguish in college, and some adult depression. I still kinda feel like I’m adrift in the ocean. We need more talk about how work is sometimes just work, and that’s OKAY. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure."

– YeOldeOrc

"The biggest scam ever to exist is making you feel like your dream is a job"

– DiaryoftheOriginator

A Good Life Is The Dream

"When I was younger my dad told me to find a job I don’t hate that allows me to live comfortably financially and provides a good work/life balance, because no matter how much you love your job to start, it’s still work. So that’s what I did. The best advice I’ve ever recorded honestly. I put in the hours and fully focus on work when I’m there, then I leave it at the door."

– ashboify

"Right? The dream is to be able support myself, not completely hate my job, and be able to take vacation like, once a year."

– Sun_on_my_shoulders

"Yup. I stopped really giving a damn about two years ago- now it doesn't really matter what I end up doing, as long as I can support myself and my cat and I don't outright hate my job."

– Deleted User

Ultimately though, most people were able to achieve a different dream and are happy, even if they miss their old dreams a little bit.

Making Movies...Sort Of

"A little bit. I bounced around the lower levels of the film industry, earning nothing, earning $5 a day, earning $8.20 an hour. I really enjoyed most jobs, got some great stories. But after 10+ years of missed opportunities, missing out on jobs to those more connected, of not having enough to do (I could blame the early days of digital but I just didn't go hard enough), it was time. My 30's were approaching, I had less than 5 figures in the bank despite still living at home and having next to no expenses, my romantic life consisted of admiring the actresses from afar and being an @ss to anyone who got close."

"I switched to teaching and I mostly enjoy the work. I still tap into my skills occasionally, I make movies with my classes, last year made a whole bunch during remote teaching. I actually had the self-esteem (and cash) to start dating and am now engaged to a girl I don't deserve and have been trying to marry for months."

"I don't regret it, but I do miss it."

– goodie23

We can't always achieve our dreams, but sometimes there's something even better waiting for us!

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