At Work in America – Workplace Movie Hall of Fame: The Field of Dreams
Hosts: Steve Boese, Trish McFarlane
This episode of the HR Happy Hour is sponsored by Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement, and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall, don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401(k) plan. Havnig the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. Discover how offering a 401(k) plan can play a vital role in keeping your business competitive, and how you can find the plan for you and your employees. Visit paychex.com/awiaand download Paychex’s free guide to 401(k) planning, today.
This week, we brought back the workplace movie hall of fame to discuss the 1989 movie, The Field of Dreams.
– Chasing a dream and what dictates career choice today
– Motivation, leadership, and risk taking
– Importance of investments in innovation
– Celebrating the wins in your workplace
Thank you, for joining the show today! Remember to subscribe to At Work in America wherever you get your podcasts.
Welcome to the show. We have a fantastic show today. Trish, how are you?
I’m good. How are you?
I am well Trish. It is the return of the Workplace Movie Hall of Fame.
These are some of the best shows we ever do. And can I just tell you I was just at an event last week, and had two people specifically pull me aside to tell me how much they enjoy these episodes, so shout out to all the fans of the workplace movie hall of fame. We even have a request for the next one from our friend Stacy Harris who would like us to do the Shawshank Redemption. So we’ll have to talk about that. But today we’ve got a different movie that we did review.
We are we’re going to be talking about Field of Dreams, a 1989 movie. Before we get to Field of Dreams, Trish, we must thank our friends and show sponsors Paychex, one of the leading providers of HR, payroll, retirement and insurance solutions for businesses of all sizes. As you reevaluate your benefits offerings this fall, don’t overlook the advantage of having the right 401 K plan. Having the right plan not only can help with employee retention, but can truly serve as a talent magnet for your business. Discover how offering a 401 K plan can play a vital role in keeping your business competitive and how you can find the plan for you and your employees. You can visit paychex.com/awia and download the Paychex free guide to 401k planning today that’s paychex.com/awia. Thank you to our friends there.
Trish, Field of Dreams 1989, a couple quick stats where you refresh your memory and the listeners memory movie came out in 1989 Gross $64 million making it the 14th highest grossing film in America in that year. Number one, any guess what the number one movie in America in 1989 by box office?
It’s hard to answer questions like that.
No, I graduated in 1989. Okay, let me think let me think. It’s passed Dirty Dancing so like if you give me a hint.
A superhero movie
Is it Michael Keaton Batman?
I think it’s the original Batman movie was number one that year but Field of Dreams, a great number 14 stars Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster. The kind of one of his late later in career appearances. And the movie Trish. I was surprised at this for a couple of reasons, was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture in the 1990 Awards. It did not win and was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Music 99 Field of Dreams again, synopsis real quick farmer in Iowa played by Kevin Costner, his name is Ray Kinsella, he hears a voice out in his cornfield, telling him famously if you build it, he will come. He somehow decides that means build a baseball field in the middle of his cornfields, and where he’s visited by the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson, legendary baseball player, as well as other baseball players from from those that era. And high jinks ensue, and on and on and on. So, Trish, first of all, what did you think of this movie? I hadn’t seen it in years and years myself, but what are your thoughts?
You know, I hadn’t seen it probably since about 1989. So I might have watched it one other time since then. But it’s been a very long time. Many of the movies also those movies we review after a long period of time like that do not hold up. I think it holds up. What did you think?
I think it was a good watch. It was an entertaining. It’s mercifully short, about an hour and 39 minutes or something running time, compared to some of the newer movies that seem to go on forever. So it was it wasn’t a bad watch. I mentioned being surprised by the Oscar nomination. I did not upon rewatch think, Wow, what a great movie this this. This is Oscar worthy. I didn’t feel that.
But you know what, though? I think that again, you’re looking at it from a lens of today versus the lens of 1989 and 99. There was nothing like it. It was really unique. The whole idea of you know whether or not this guy is seeing ghosts or whether he’s hallucinating or manifesting, who knows, right. So there was a little element of me mystery to this movie. Again, if it was up against things like Batman, maybe you can see why it would be a nominee. Right? Well go ahead. Kevin Costner was a heartthrob back then. So just he’s got hard thought factor.
Yeah, that was prime Kevin Costner in the year he got nominated, I don’t think was the most stellar year for movies. The actual winner that year. That’s picture I wrote this down was Driving Miss Daisy, which is also thought of as maybe one of the one of the worst best pictures to ever actually win Best Picture. So maybe not the strongest year ever for movies. But again, well known movie, if you build it, we will come trying to kinda the farmer bit of chasing a dream and trying to chase a dream for his late father who perhaps didn’t have the chance to chase his dreams. So just, this is a little bit different for us to work with movie hall of fame is it’s not really a movie about work. Much not not hardly, honestly. So for me, it’s maybe slightly trying to explore for more ideas around motivation and leadership, and maybe risk taking is some of the things I thought about as I watched this movie. I don’t know what was one or two things you felt like, boy, this kind of stood out to me.
Well, you know what, it’s interesting, because you’re right. It’s not a workplace movie. But I even in the first like, 30 to 30 to 45 minutes, I was finding quite a few things that I thought, well, these are interesting choices, these characters are making that that do have a little bit of a work element. So if you haven’t seen it a long time, kind of one of the first things I jotted down that happens is that Kevin Costner’s character decides that he wants to get away from his dad, he has this whole dad issue going on. And he decides to go to Berkeley, which is far away from his dad as he could get. And then once he graduates, he decides he’s going to scrap all that and buy a farm in Iowa and become a farmer. So from a workplace perspective, though, I just I feel like that’s still applicable. Right? How many of us back in the in the 80s, or even the early 90s, you know, who are now in human resources? Number one, we didn’t probably think we’re going into human resources, most people, right, or business in general. And but how many of us went to college? A just to get away from our parents, you know, if you went or B went to college and got a degree in something you completely do not work in you. And I could both raise our hands for that. So I do think that’s interesting. Because if someone you know, now both have kids that are in college, my kids I think, are not going to get away from me. I don’t think that was it at all. So I just wonder how many people in the workplace today, right, but that how many of us went away to get away from something instead of running towards something and then wound up getting a degree in something that we’re not working in? So that was kind of right out of the gate?
Yeah, I guess that’s a great point and think of it, but it’s certainly a great point. As we see more and more you kind of figure out your career path much later in life, we see lots more career changes, right? I think people are apt to change careers much more, or change industries or change completely different kinds of jobs. Much more so maybe in the past where you kind of narrowly set down a path and stuck with it, perhaps and that happens less? Yeah, I thought that was that was pretty interesting. Yeah, I kind of thought about it. As you know, he was a guy sort of when we see this a lot, and maybe early career folks just really just trying to find himself just trying to figure out where he fit, what type of job or type of industry or type of career made sense for him. And he was struggling a bit to find it. And then when he arrived at this farm, and all of a sudden, you know, found his place, if you will, before all the the voices in his head start showing up to me to maybe mess around with that with that plan.
Yeah, you’re right. I think too. It makes me think about what dictates today, what kids become. And I don’t know that I have an answer for that other than, you know, is it what they’re learning in school? Is it what they’re hearing through the media? Is it what, you know, as parents are those of us that have kids? Are we telling our kids something different than what we heard? And so the interesting thing is, instead of being maybe a generation that that falls into, or runs away from something, and falls into something, is this generation will say Gen Z, who’s kind of currently in college and maybe recently out, are they running towards something more than than prior generations? And will that impact the jobs they have?
Yeah, yeah, just movies a fantasy Right, of course, right? It’s very I wouldn’t call it science fiction or anything like that. But it’s, you have to sort of suspend disbelief while you watch.
Maybe, right? Imagination, right?
The ghost baseball team showing up in the cornfield. And there’s nothing more a fantastical in this movie that the fact that the Kevin Costner character, the farmer, who when he explains to his wife, who also lives there and works on the farm, as well, his plan for tearing up a lot of his cornfield and building a baseball field that she more or less goes along with, it doesn’t really put up too much of a stink, right and allows him to glue allows him the permission or gives him the permission to chase this weird dream. And doesn’t really seem to question it all that much, oddly enough, which I also thought was crazy. But I thought, you know, I was trying to find some some work and kind of workplace parallels here. And I thought about this one, there’s a scene where they’re sitting at the farm table, they’re going through and she’s going through the accounts, and she’s got the ledger book out and trying to figure out like, what’s going to happen to the farm if they more or less stop farming, which it seems like they Kevin Costner does for most of the movie and does chases this baseball dream. Then she says, Oh, at some point, oh, well, we should be able to break even we should just about be able to break even or something like that. And I thought to myself, hey, there’s a good lesson here about like investments in kind of innovation, or big bets are crazy ideas, right? And the, the need to always keep in mind even even smaller organizations even like ourselves, Trish, we’ve done some investing lately, and some some newer things, which maybe we’ll talk about later on if they pan out or not. But you always should have something whether it’s 5%, or 7%, or 10%, or even 1%, if you’re a really big organization for these crazy, risky moonshot kinds of bets, right? Google was famous for this for a really, really long time that you don’t have to necessarily have a return on investment, you don’t necessarily have to have a payout. They’re basically just, let’s take a shot at x. And that could be money, it could be budget, or it could even be people’s time. Again, Google right was the famous company for the they used to be 10% time, I don’t know if they even do that anymore. I haven’t heard about that story in a long time. But it used to be you are allowed to spend 10% of your working time doing whatever you want it and chasing these big bets. So I thought there was a lesson there about if you’re able to write keeping that budget or time or energy for chasing these crazy ideas.
Yeah, that’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought about that particular scene in that way. So you’re right, though, I think that you should have some amount of time put to these dreams, to talk about how the wife to you’re mentioning her not really pushing back very much. Back in that day, women were still not really pushing back very much, I think on what their husbands wanted to do. So that was definitely still a time where even now, even now, I think women still probably acquiesce quite a bit to what their partner wants them to do. So, but you’re right, 1989 That was certainly happening. I think too. One thing I wrote down was should you stay focused on your dream? And I think that goes along with what you’re saying. So I do think if you if you decide to go ahead and have whatever, whether it’s people resources, whatever on some longshot idea, right? Something super creative, then you should make sure that you’re you’re having focus around that if you’re going to do it, do it right get people focused on it, get money focused on whatever right and do it right to actually see if it will work. So I do like that they had that commitment together once they decided okay, we’re going to do this field and in and then they went all in like right to make it perfect and beautiful. And exactly like he had imagined it. So I did like that part.
Yeah, he the field was beautiful. It’s still there to you at the end of the show. Maybe I’ll give an update on the actual Field of Dreams The real place.
Then, I have run the bases on Field of Dreams. It’s absolutely stunning. It looks just like in the movie.
Yeah. So I think there’s a couple of other things it is out of this movie that come from some of the supporting characters in the movie. So once the field again for folks who don’t remember once once Kevin Costner builds the baseball field on the farmland. The ghost baseball players begin to arrive and the first one is Joe Jackson, and who in baseball lore is famous, along with several other players in the 1919 Chicago White Sox, who were basically found out they went to a court of law or baseball law. But anyway, they were found to have conspired to throw the World Series The 99 team to basically to fix the games to lose the series on purpose, which they did. They lost two To the Reds that year in 2019, and all of the players were on the White Sox team were banned for life from baseball. None of them ever got reinstated. Joe Jackson went to his grave claiming Yeah, he may have accepted some money from the gamblers who are responsible for fixing the World Series. But he didn’t he played to his best ability. During the actual game itself. He did not he basically stole their money. That was a weird argument to make about your innocence, that he stole the money from gamblers and played well. And the statistics show he played very well, you hit very well you hit the only home run recorded in the entire series. I bring this up because once the the the Joe Jackson character emerges from the cornfield, he really kind of tells Kevin Costner once he got kicked out of baseball, he lost the the job that he loved the thing that he loved doing the most, and he never got over it. He went the rest of his life. And he lived to be fairly older guy, or he didn’t, you know, he was probably, I don’t know, in his late 20s, when this all happened, right when he got banned from baseball, and he lived a long time after that, but he never got over it. And so I thought to myself, Well, I wonder if that’s, you know, that the parallel to finding that job or that career that that vocation that you love so much that if indeed, you were to lose a job or, or a career and, you know, often you don’t ever get over it right? There are some times I think there’s lots of folks who have that one awesome job or that one awesome situation that they’re in, and it may be it ends or it doesn’t work out as long as they want, they never really get over it. And you can’t, it’s hard to get past it. And you know, especially if what you transition to is not as good or as fun or as lucrative or you name it. So I thought that was kind of interesting, too.
Yeah, and I think you’re right, they highlighted a couple of the characters, the baseball players who maybe had gone on and done other jobs that were were even maybe rewarding, but sort of that message is you can never go back. You can never go back once you’re, you know, away from what it what it is whether good or bad, right? So, yeah, kind of, I don’t know, makes you think about your own career when you watch something like this, if you’re thinking of it along the lines of work in that way. So, yeah, are there times in your career where you were maybe, maybe living your best life and you don’t realize it? You know, I’ve sort of honestly, and maybe it’s having been, you know, cooped up for so long, during this pandemic, we were all sort of away from each other. But I was thinking of that even now, this fall, you know, conferences and events are kind of back to normal, if you will. And, but we’re all suddenly, like, a decade older, and it’s different. Everyone’s different things are different. So I don’t know, do you? Do you sometimes not even realize when you’re living in the magic moments of your life, until all of a sudden, it’s 10 years later? And you can’t go back?
For sure. And I do think there’s, there’s a story, there are a lesson there and thinking about, you know, certainly appreciating what you have, when you have it with the understanding, like you may not have it as long as you’d expect to, or you’d care to because all kinds of things can happen. Right? And we, we see that in the workplace all the time, right? Whether it’s organizations changing or changing strategies, or, you know
or I was just gonna say, Steve, I think too, it’s a little bit of when you’re in the workplace now, even us, right? Even just a small workplace, you’re always thinking about what’s next, right? We’re always building toward what’s next. And so you’re you’re taking care of what delivering whatever it is you’re making or services you’re providing, right in your job, you’re always thinking about what’s next. And I don’t know that we take time to appreciate and enjoy and even celebrate, when things really like, if we get a big contract, do you and I are like going out to dinner and having a toast about right. So we don’t really celebrate probably I think that’s the point, right? I think even in workplaces if you’re delivering a big product if you’re some big service provider, right? If you’re working at Amazon and you know, delivering more packages than ever before. I don’t know that we take time to really let our employees celebrate and enjoy the the little day to day or week to week wins that we have. And we’re always until all of a sudden like said it’s 10 years later and when you’re thinking like wow, that was a great time. We really should have celebrated more. I don’t think you ever I don’t think you ever look back and think yeah, I’m really glad that we didn’t celebrate more honestly.
All right, that’s the same thing right? The joke I make about like no one’s like gets to that their end of life and on their on their deathbed and says things like Boy, I wish I would have eaten more salad. You know, no one ever says that right? Yeah.
So that we should that’s just it, the baseball players are coming back and that’s what they’re saying. They’re saying, Wow, we are so glad we get those sort of second shot at this right. We’re gonna make these plays. We’re gonna have these moments.
So do you think so? With Joe Jackson and some of the other player characters in this movie and you hear from what they say and how they’re acting in the scenes that they’re in They really do kind of impress upon you that at least for them, but playing baseball was that that their their apex, right that the highlight of their Pinnacle the perfect thing for them, and there was never going to be anything that was going to be as perfect for them or provide as much fulfillment for them at least in terms of a career. Do you think that’s really true, though? And sort of normal, quote unquote, life? Is there? Are there perfect jobs for people, you know? And if you’re, maybe we don’t ever find them? Or maybe you do? Or maybe you think you do, but is it? Or can you be really, really fulfilled and happy doing different jobs and different types of careers in your, in your in your lifetime?
I think you can be really happy doing different jobs at different times in your life. But what I what I worry with, and you know, for the record, I’m 52. So I’m sort of at that weird age where you’ve got enough to look back on and hopefully enough ahead of you to kind of cage I’m fearful, though, that we sort of I had a conversation with someone recently about this, I’m fearful that we sort of look at our lives or other people’s lives is like peeking much earlier. And that everything else is never going to be as good. So whether it’s a job, or whether it’s a time where you’re in a relationship certain way or whatever, right? Or maybe it’s it was in the context of someone saying that a lot of people peak in high school. And Isn’t that sad? Right, or you peak in college? Maybe? And Isn’t that sad? And I’m thinking like, I really hope that that’s not the case. I hope that we each as we go through our life can like, just take a second and appreciate what we’re doing at work, right? We’re smart people, we’re trying to do good work most. Again, most people I would venture to say are trying to do a good job when they go to work every day. They’re trying to be meaningful about it. In have good friends and good relationships, right? So I don’t know, I think a movie like this kind of, especially because of the sort of mystery around these these magical ghost baseball players. Maybe that’s what the message right that there’s an appreciation we should have for our own lives and what we’ve, what we’ve got in front of us and a little bit too, Kevin Costner and his wife too, right? No one else could see this. No one else could see these players. Their daughter, right? Yes, was sort of like maybe a message to them. Like, you know what you need to? You need to reevaluate what you’re doing. Make sure that you’re appreciating your own life.
Yeah, yeah, I, I’d say the movie doesn’t do a great job of sort of explaining who can see the ghost baseball players and who can’t and why or why not? Maybe the this movie is based on a book, it’s a novel called Shoeless Joe was written about eight or 10 years before the movie came out. Perhaps the book dives into a little more detail about how that all works. But I do think in addition to though, this idea of keeping some time and space and energy for these big crazy ideas, and these big bats, the last thing I remember, noting anyways, I watched the movie that I wrote down was towards the end of the movie, when the big bad banker guy has shown up now to try to tell Kevin Costner his wife that the bank is going to now take over the farm because they’re not paying their mortgage, because Kevin Costner is busy running around the baseball field and the other hygiene sees up to, you know, he the daughter of the Kevin Costner and the wife says, Oh, don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine. People will come and they’ll just pay you, people will just come and want to see this field and be in this place. And they’ll pay you. Which it turns out that they will, right in the very, very departing scenes spoiler alert for 35 year old movie is, you know, people starting to show up in their cars and these country roads to visit as long as you can see, yeah, and visit the baseball field on the farm. But my thought was this was it. Let’s not forget that crazy ideas sometimes do pan out, right? Wild Things that maybe make no sense on the surface. And maybe the smart people or the mature people or you name it, right? The experience people if you will, don’t understand them to leave space in the organization for those ideas, right? This idea came from the little girl’s like seven year old girl. The idea doesn’t make any sense. But yet, she turns out that she’s right. So the really great idea doesn’t necessarily have to make sense to you, individually. Or maybe everybody else in your little small circle that you walk around with who thinks that maybe you that that could be a really good idea anyway, and it could come from any place. So giving people the space and the opportunity and the freedom and the safety I guess I’d even say in a workplace to share those crazy ideas no matter who they are. Right is a good lesson, as well. So that was the kind of one other kind of work slash career slash business. Thought I had as I was watching this at least towards the end of the movie.
Raise your right I think you have to make room and I kind of say that it’s a safe place for to encourage people to bring those those wild ideas, every single great thing that we have in our life and use in our life was someone’s crazy idea, really. So you’ve got to leave that space. The last thing I wrote down was, you know, there’s there’s a lot of time in this movie where he’s sort of outside whether it was looking at the cornfield before he built the baseball field, or when he’s got the baseball field, and now he’s looking at the field and nothing’s happening yet. Or once all the baseball players arrive, and he’s back looking at the field, he spends a lot of time being quiet and just sort of thinking and looking. And I wrote down to, from Workplace perspective to listen to your environment, because that’s also where some of your best ideas come from. So I think that when I think of my own work, your work, people we work with, and partner with, we’re often very busy, busy, busy, right? And it’s a badge of honor almost in our society to see, you know, yes. And how are you doing? Well, I’m really busy. I think that this movie sort of tells you slow down, take some time to just sit to just look around to just see, because that’s where your ideas are going to come from, they’re not going to come when you’re, you know, working 15 hour days, you know, six days a week trying to get that project out the door. Right? It they’re going to come in those quiet moments that you allow yourself time to just think so. Yeah, but they i They just put that all throughout the movie. Right? Yeah. Really important.
Yeah. I enjoy watching this movie. More than I thought I would, I think because it feels when you read the description of it. And you think back on it, even as someone who probably I would say most people listening to this show probably have seen this movie, or at least heard of it. Right and interesting. I worth a rewatch worth worth once again, for a 35 year old movie. As you said, Trisha, I think it holds up pretty well. Not really an enjoyable watch and a good relaxing kind of a watch as well. So I’d recommend it. Just one last thing Trish before we I think we sign off quick updates on the Field of Dreams itself. You said you went out there to the actual field.
Yes, I was in Iowa for a wedding. And it was close enough to where it was like, Hey, should we go to Field of Dreams. And it was so cool. I got the little baseball hat. I got to run the bases. It was really, really cool. I don’t know I’d make it a destination like.
I think maybe you can because I’m not sure you’re totally aware of this development. And some listeners might be sure subsequently to your visit to the field dream 2011 the site and the field there was purchased by someone named Denise Stillman and a group of investors with a goal of preserving the Field of Dreams sight, as well as kind of making expanding upon it and expand upon it. They did Trish they partnered with Major League Baseball to build an actual 8000 seat field, which is adjacent to the movie site. And now MLB, baseball has had a couple of games on that field of dreams field. The first one was in 2021. It featured the Yankees in the White Sox, which which is kind of a callback to the movie and to the original book, where the White Sox and the Chicago the Chicago White Sox and Yankees were the favorite teams of the author’s father or Kevin Costner character, father and movie so there’s an actual field out there as well like a bigger field still. Field. Oh, yeah. And they call that also the Field of Dreams. So I guess once a summer Major League Baseball will have a real game out there. They’ve done it twice now. And so yeah, it’s still a thing it’s alive and well, the the movie site is still there. And you can go visit that and you can go check out what’s happening there. So it’s a good story, feel good story, if you will, for what’s happening at the Field of Dreams.
Well, I love that you know what I heard? I heard they played a major league game there. And in my head, I was thinking like, I remember what it looked like and I’m thinking like, I don’t know how that worked, but Okay, now that makes a much much greater sense to me. So yeah, absolutely. How fun.
Good stuff. So check out Field of Dreams and let us know what you think and Shawshank Redemption apparently next on the list. So I don’t know.
We’ll have to talk. I mean, I know you love to do the old Tom Cruise movies, but I feel like here’s why. So what is it Mansfield where Shawshank takes place? Is that right?
I don’t remember. Okay, I believe you.
Anyway, Stacy Harris, fellow analyst, friend of the show, I guess grew up in the town where Shawshank is located so and so not only is she a big fan of the movie, she’s like, I want to do it with you guys. And like we could so she could give us like the lowdown on the actual real place.
All right. I don’t know maybe. Maybe she can guest with us when we do that show. So like yes, yeah. Good, good stuff. Thank you Trish. Good to check back in with you talk about Field of Dreams I am for folks who are listening can’t see this. I’m wearing baseball got my New York Mets shirt on my Kansas City Royals hat I’m fully garbed up for baseball. But thanks to of course our friends at Paychex of course for all their support.
I want to tell you we have a new fan of the show a relatively new fan, Toya del Valle and she is the Chief Customer Officer at Cornerstone and let me tell you what, what I want to do with her because she is a huge fan of the actual field of dreams and is going there soon. So is on her bucket list to go. So maybe after she goes we do have a work break with her and just get the update on the real Field of Dreams. Like what’s going on there. She can share some some details. I love it.
Love it too. All right, Trish. Well, thanks so much. Thanks for listening everybody to the HR Happy Hour Show. At Work in America Show, all the shows on the network news. New shows coming. Check out Mervyn Dinnon, Jack and Nick on The Play by Play. Great, great stuff. All of it is at HRHappyHour.net. Thank you so much for listening. We will see you next time and bye for now.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai