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Today’s History note about young Walt Disney getting his first job got me to thinking about career paths. We all know about Walt Disney’s rise to fame and success, but is it what he always wanted to do?

In 1920 Walt first applied to several leading Kansas City newspapers for work as a cartoonist. At the time cartoonists like Winsor McKay, Raymond Outcault, Bud Fisher and George McManus were minor league celebrities. But he was turned down. Finally his brother got him in a commerical art company as an apprentice doing ads. After taking out of the lending library Edwin Lutz's manual on animation, he fell into the new technology and found a niche to make filmstrips. Later when he moved from Kansas City to Hollywood, at first he made the rounds and applied to all the studios for work as a director of live action moving pictures. He was turned down. So he went back to what he knew, making cartoons. And the rest was History…

Jules Verne first studied to be a lawyer, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle studied medicine, Josef Stalin studied for the priesthood, James McNeill-Whistler failed the entrance exam to get into West Point “ If I hadn’t identified phosphorus as a gas, maybe I’d be a Major General by now!” I applied to Disney three times and was turned down. I finished my eight years there as a director who looked at portfolios. I never knew I’d be writing so much, now I’m starting my third book. My English teacher at Meyer Levin Junior High School 285 in Flatbush is probably more surprised than me.

The old saying goes If you want to make God smile, tell him your plans for the future.”
Career-wise, be certain about what you want to do and keep your eyes on the prize, but don’t be afraid to adapt as conditions change. We rarely make it to the finish line thinking as we did at the starting gate. There’s nothing wrong in that. Life is a big wild rollercoaster ride, and lets see where it takes us.

Have a good career, where ever you go!

Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks