How much would it cost to buy you out of pursuing your dream?
For Jon Horst, it was $40,000.
As a player at tiny Rochester College, Horst was so committed to getting everything he could out of the game of basketball that he spent the summer between his freshman and sophomore years on campus, working on his game, and took a job as a superintendent at a trailer park. That job required him to manage all the needs necessary to keeping a trailer park up and running, which included cleaning up trailers after residents have been evicted.
“They get evicted, and you’ve got to go, like, clean out their place,” he said. “(I’ve) seen stuff that you can’t imagine … just cleaning out someone’s trailer.”
Horst interned with the Detroit Pistons in college, which led to a job paying around $7 an hour, taking care of whatever needed taking care of. The job was great but the pay… well, life’s expensive, so Horst took a job working nights at FedEx to pay the bills. After some time, FedEx offered him a full-time job, paying over $40,000 a year with benefits.
On one hand sat his dream and in the other, money.
Well, the Washington Post‘s sports section doesn’t write profiles of mid-level FedEx employees, so Horst turned FedEx down and remained with the Pistons.
A few years later, Horst’s mentor was named general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks and brought Horst along. A decade later, Horst is 37 years old and a candidate for the NBA’s Executive of the Year award, having succeeded his mentor as GM and then built one of the most dominant regular-season teams in NBA history.
“I kind of saw it out and just continued on with it,” Horst said of his stay-or-go decision between FedEx and the NBA. “It worked out.”