Five Lessons Learned from Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Career

As news broke about Dick Clark’s passing, it was distinctly clear the man certainly left his mark within television. While the obituary illuminated his countless accomplishments, several items immediately stood out as tips we can learn from the late legend’s incredible career.

1. You gotta start somewhere. According to the obituary published by USA Today, the TV icon began his career in the mailroom at WRUN-AM when he was a teenager. Yes, the mailroom. Needless to say, he worked his way up throughout the decades. (Need proof? According to the piece, he sold Dick Clark Productions for $137 million in 2001. That’s a long way from sorting mail!) So, if you’re underemployed at the moment or feel your media job is too menial, just think: There is literally nowhere else to go but up!

2. The type of degree doesn’t matter. Did the man major in communications at Syracuse? No. How about something related to mass media? Not quite. Instead, Clark earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Sure, it probably served him well for building his production company but the fact that he didn’t have a specific degree in the field he was pursuing as on-air talent mattered not; he still pursued. And more importantly, he succeeded. Don’t let the specific degree you earned hold you back from pursuing your passion if it appears to be even slightly unrelated.

3. Always do your best, even as back up. In 1952, a new show hit television called Bob Horn’s Bandstand, as pointed out by the USA Today obit. When the host went on vacation, Clark pinch hit for him. And when Horn was arrested in 1956 for drunk driving, guess who replaced him?

4. Blaze a trail and branch out. In addition to the indelible mark he left with American Bandstand and breaking the color barrier by introducing black artists, for Gen Xers and Yers, too, he’s known for TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes, The $25,000 Pyramid and oh yes, how can we forget his rockin’ New Years Eve? Awards shows, game shows, New Year’s Eve — you name it, he stamped his name on it.

5. Possess a sunny outlook no matter what. In December during an email interview with USA Today, Clark wrote, “I’m encouraged by the many people who tell me I’m an inspiration to them and attack every day with the thought things are going to get better.”