One Year with Disney

By Nate Johnson

One year ago, after traveling the world, I moved to Florida. After closing on my first apartment, I had $17 to buy groceries and get gas. My traditions class was the next morning. I spent the night sleeping on the floor of my new apartment. I had an offer to be a part-time custodian at the Magic Kingdom. A year later, so much has improved and changed. Here are the lessons I’ve learned.

  1. Show Up- It’s simple, but may not always be easy. Show up on time and ready to work. Consistently. That’s the first step.
  2. Network… to a point- Through my mentor and Disneyland network, I had a dozen meet and greets in my first few months. I enjoyed dressing professionally, learning, and getting my name out there. I met partners in different lines of businesses and with Run Disney. Getting my name out there was an important step, but pales in comparison to the next part.
  3. Put in the work- That meant pulling trash, cleaning bathrooms, and making magic along the way. It’s going above and beyond every day so when you’re not there, people notice.
  4. Say what you want- My mentor told me right away to talk with each of my managers. I told them my short term goals and past experiences with the company. I gave ideas to improve the operation consistently.
  5. Be prepared for the opportunity- I like the saying “Luck is when preparedness meets opportunity”. Three months in, the first opportunity came. Since I put in the work, I was given an opportunity.
  6. Keep Learning- At my work location they had “Career Development Toolkit Sessions”. They were free to attend. They covered networking, career planning, interviewing, and resume writing. Going there helped to grow my network and practice these skills to help me when the next opportunity would come.
  7. Ask for feedback- Feedback is the way to grow. I consistently asked my peers, leader, and fellow CMs how I was doing and what where I could improve.
  8. Concentration- A few months in, I stopped my daily blog and weekly youtube videos. I wanted to focus on being the best I could be at work each day. Starting where I was, I wanted to create a body of work for when opportunities would arise.
  9. Mentor- A lot of this wouldn’t have been possible without my mentor. He took the time to sit down with me when I first started and helped put together a game plan for my career. He’s always available to answer a question and I keep him updated on my career path.

On to the next year.

Link: Work at Disney

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