I RECENTLY RE-WATCHED “THE KARATE KID.” IF YOU’VE NEVER
seen the film, it revolves around Daniel, a New York teenager transplanted
to suburban Los Angeles. Daniel quickly discovers that he’s out of place.
He is bullied by classmates until the Japanese handyman at his apartment
complex comes to his defense, chasing off the bullies with karate.
The handyman, Mr. Miyagi, then agrees to become Daniel’s karate
instructor in exchange for help with household chores. He has Daniel wax
his antique cars, always in a particular circular motion: “Wax on, wax off.”
He makes him paint the fence, always up and down with the brush, never
side to side.
Daniel soon becomes frustrated, feeling that he’s
being taken advantage of and will never have a real
karate lesson. It is only later that he realizes that all of
those circular and up-and-down motions were training him in karate moves he would eventually use to
win the karate tournament, get the girl, and become
the hero by movie’s end.
Why am I bringing up a film from 1984? It’s because
most of us have been there. We’ve all had moments
in our careers where we felt stalled, that we were just
spinning our wheels, that nothing we were working
on was bringing us any closer to our long-term career
I graduated from Penn State with a broadcast journalism degree. My first job was at a very small UHF
TV station in Pittsburgh, so small that we had to learn to do everything.
I worked for our news department, which consisted of the news director
and me. I had to learn to write copy, shoot stories, edit stories, and be
on-camera for the stories—basically just about every task required for
news and video production.
There, and at several other jobs throughout my career, I felt frustrated,
stuck, and that I was going nowhere. I had planned to be the next Walter
Cronkite, but sometimes life has other plans. Often, the paths you take,
and some you choose because you feel there are no better options, shape
you in ways you don’t realize until many years later.
Along the way, I learned about managing people, handling finances,
supervising an HR department, and of course honing my skills as a print
and video journalist. Looking back, I can see how all of those experiences, both good and bad, shaped my career. They gave me the knowledge I
needed and opened doors to do the work I now love.
As all of us begin a new year, my hope is that the situations, challenges, and opportunities you face in 2019 will prove to be valuable learning
experiences that prepare you for good things to come. Oh, and remember:
Wax on, wax off!
Senior News Editor
Editor at Large
Editor at Large
Director of Creative Services
Director of eMedia
Managing Editor - Digital
Mitch Mac Donald
Group Editorial Director
Tower Square, Number 4
500 East Washington Street
North Attleboro, MA 02760
or call (630) 739-0900
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