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Lessons I Learned from Being A Jones: Hard Work Pays Off

Updated: Mar 20

Getting my first job in television was one of the most exciting moments in my life. It was a dream come true. When I interviewed for an assistant director training program at a local television station, the line of questioning seemed odd. Each question was related to the duties of a reporter or the news show. I had no interest in being a television reporter or news producer. Thinking I was in the wrong interview, I asked the two members of the panel, “Is this interview for the assistant director training program or the reporter training program?” They looked at each other and then looked back at me and said: “Our interview process considers all candidates for the reporter training program first. The team hiring for the assistant director training program will receive resumes for anyone not chosen for one the news trainee positions.”


My overzealous and not well-thought-out reply was, “I don’t want to be a reporter. I’m interested in the assistant director training program.” And much to my chagrin, they thanked me, and the interview ended — immediately. 


What was I thinking? I should have gone along with the process. I wondered if I had eliminated myself from consideration. A week or two after the initial interview, I interviewed for one of the two assistant director trainee positions and landed the job. I was on my way. 


After a lifetime of watching my parent’s example, in my mind, if you wanted something, you had to be willing to work hard for it and sometimes go beyond expectations. My father worked two jobs from the time I was about eleven until he retired from the federal government many years later. My parents were my models for how to be successful on the job. Work hard, do your best, and don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. 


Once hired at the television station, I was determined to learn everything I could and work as hard as possible to impress whoever I needed to remain there. At the end of the one-year training program, the station hired me as an assistant director. To this day, the people I worked with were the best television professionals in the business. Everyone had high standards. Watching them gave me something for which to aspire. For six years, my career flourished. My skills grew, and I moved from stage manager to news assistant director and promotions producer to field and segment producer. Work opened the door for trips to Taiwan, Hawaii, Montreal, Los Angeles, and more. The photo of me taken at Paramount Studios was just one opportunity to produce and oversee segments for stories that appeared on our local television station. It was a thrill and just the beginning of many places hard work and my desire to learn would take me.





I was eager to take on new tasks and willing to work long hours to grow and advance.  When I reflect on writing You Must Be A Jones, learning the value of hard work is ever-present. By junior high school, each of us had our first job. We absorbed those life lessons almost by osmosis. Mom and Dad set the example, and we each conformed. 


#blackstoriesmatter #blackfamilies #careerjourneys



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