If you were around in the 80s, you undoubtedly have a mental flashback when you hear “wax on, wax off.” The scene is from the original Karate Kid movie, and it features Mr. Miyagi training a young Daniel, played by Ralph Macchio. It’s an iconic movie moment (worthy of a meme) and one that is entertaining a new generation of viewers with the breakout hit Cobra Kai – currently streaming on Netflix.
The Karate Kid spinoff follows the characters of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence decades into the future. It offers a heartwarming combination of obvious cheese, flashbacks to the 80s and, of course, multiple life lessons – set in current times with a new throng of karate students.
As I watched, I began thinking – how could these life lessons apply to emerging IT pros? Surprisingly, there’s a lot of common ground!
If you haven’t seen Cobra Kai, don’t worry – there aren’t any spoilers here. Just a few life lessons that you should keep in mind when pursing a career in IT.
#1 The Best Defense Is More Offense
Johnny Lawrence’s Cobra Kai dojo is pretty aggressive. In fact, its motto is “Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy.” While we’re not advocating for striking anyone, the concept that a good offense negates the need for a defense is worthwhile.
For instance, if you’re looking to start a career in IT, the best way to get your foot in the door is by taking the initiative to learn new skills and gain new experience. By being proactive and taking the time to train, you’re not only adding valuable skills to your tool belt, but you’re also showing potential employers that you are dedicated and willing to put in the work.
Your next step: Decide what you want to achieve and then map out the steps to get there via the CompTIA Career Pathway.
#2 Balance Is Everything
This is more of a Miyagi thing, but it holds water. Daniel LaRusso practices the less aggressive karate technique that focuses on inner peace, focus and balance. These are concepts that may be more commonly associated with yoga than karate, but they round out the state of mind needed to win.
This is similar to how you may not associate soft skills with a career in technology. In actuality, soft skills like communication, cooperation, flexibility and resourcefulness are a huge piece of the puzzle for IT pros – and one that must be balanced with your technical abilities.
Your next step: Take inventory of the soft skills you excel at and learn how they can transfer to an IT career.
#3 Flip the Script
A large part of Cobra Kai takes place in high school – and let’s face it, high school isn’t always the easiest place to find your happiness. However, certain characters (again, no spoilers!) learn through their training that they are in charge of their life and they have the power to flip the script.
This can be a lesson for all of us at one point or another. If you’re unhappy in your current job – whether it be in technology or an entirely different field – you are not stuck. There are resources out there to help you flip your own script and start living the life you were meant to live.
Your next step: Get inspired to change your career and live your best life.
#4 Always Compete with Honor
It’s always nice to win – but winning isn’t everything. In the beginning, Cobra Kai places a huge emphasis on winning – remember the “no mercy” part of their motto? At first, the Generation Z Cobra Kai students push back, but eventually they start to fall in and the ramifications aren’t pretty. It’s a question of honor.
It may sound cheesy, but IT pros are put in this position all the time. Think about the sheer amount of personally identifiable information (PII) and confidential data they handle. Sound ethics are really a big part of the job and something that isn’t always formally taught.
Your next step: Learn how ethical decision making impacts IT pros.
#5 Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future
A hit spinoff naturally involves the past – and the past beef between LaRusso and Lawrence is fuel for the fire that is Cobra Kai. There are moments when these two actually get along. But, for the most part, they can’t let their past perceptions of each other go. Eventually, their rivalry fans an even larger flame that quickly spirals out of control.
Diving into a career in IT means dedicating yourself to lifelong learning, trial and error tasks, and yes, mistakes. If you can learn from your mistakes, you’ll be better off.
Your next step: Plan ahead! Avoid these 10 common career change mistakes.
Before watching Cobra Kai, I would have never equated getting into a career in IT with learning karate. But the lessons taught by Sensei Lawrence and Sensei LaRusso are life hacks that could be applied to anything. And you can bet there’s more to come. Season 3 of Cobra Kai is said to be released to Netflix sometime in January 2021.
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