Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Darius Thigpen, December 8, 2014

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, his second installment, Darius Thigpen compares, contrasts and makes an apropos reference to the pride of Tallahassee. 

Read all of Darius’ posts HERE.

DariusThigpen

Day Two at the Winter Meetings: Can I Buy U a Drank?

Juxtaposition (noun) —  An act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.  In a sentence: The juxtaposition of the frantic, nervous energy of job seeking at the Winter Meetings and the relaxed nature of the veterans of the meetings plus the beauty of San Diego made for a curious day two.

In my Vine attached to this entry I initially pointed out the madness of the job seeking compared to beauty of the San Diego area. First off, I couldn’t get any shots inside the job posting room because I don’t want to get kicked out (no photography allowed). Secondly, Ben Gellman-Chomsky, who graciously invited me onto his podcast for the meetings, corrected me by responding to the Vine with “Not enough madness in my opinion.”

Dude was spot on.

After going into the job postings room and checking to see if teams wanted an interview, job seekers did A LOT of sitting around. We’re here looking for work so hanging around the events we’re not invited to (league meetings, owners meetings, the set of Baseball Tonight) doesn’t do us a ton of good. However, most of the people hiring the job seekers ARE in those meetings so we have to wait around for them to get done before we take the bottled up anxiety from hours of waiting for the interview that could change our lives and let it loose on the people who have been in meetings all day. It makes for an interesting scenario.

So you like the title of this post, right? For those who don’t know it is a reference to T-Pain (Tallahassee’s finest!) who had a song by that name reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s also a good summary for what happens at the Winter Meetings after dark, sort of. You don’t have to drink to be able to socialize, but you have to be able to socialize to make it in this industry.

The people hiring have to know they can trust you over the course of the longest season in sports and if they’d like to be around you that whole time. I’m not saying go to the bar and try to drink the first executive you see under the table, but definitely show that you can hold your own in conversation and be comfortable in a room full of (pretty important) strangers.

I loved getting to meet other broadcasters. Jon Chelesnik, CEO of STAA, is one of the nicest guys you could meet. He is energetic, personable, understanding of where we are in our careers and willing to help us take the next step. He’s the guy who you want to talk to about breaking into the industry because he knows it well. He’s willing to give you as much time as you’d like to talk and ask questions. He gives off the vibe of someone you’d love to hang around.

Meeting the creator of this very blog, Benjamin Hill, and the other job seeker writers was awesome. You can pepper Ben with questions about Minor League Baseball because he’s lived it. He travels around the country to different parks capturing the best the minors have to offer.

Sean was the first of the job seeking journal writes that I met. In his job hunt he’s kind of my mirror opposite. He wants to find jobs in media relations, writing and do everything that doesn’t have a broadcast element to it. He wants to be the guy who would make my job a whole heck of a lot easier as a broadcaster. That makes him my boy right off the top.

Then Katie entered. She and I were able to talk college baseball. Yes, many people scoff at the thought of the silly “ping” of a ball being barreled up, but Katie and I had a connection to the collegiate game. She works for Stanford baseball and I broadcast Ohio State games as an undergrad. Stanford beat Indiana in the NCAA Tournament this year, but Katie actually had a vested interest in the Hoosiers. She knows Sam Travis and Joey DeNato, a couple of the Hoosiers who helped lead Indiana to its first College World Series in 2013, leaving my Buckeyes in the wake. Thanks for reminding me of that.

Finally Julie arrived. She and I spent a short time gushing over how awesome Wayne Brady is (seriously, I wish I had his kind of talent). She has experience with improvisational comedy. Some of her skills from improv are being able to make adjustments on the fly, being entertaining and being able to roll with the punches even when the critics get unruly. Those are skills any professional should have, but in broadcast those are especially valuable tools. While she’s not looking to be a broadcaster I still learned a great deal from her.

On the one hand the Winter Meetings is intimidating because there are so many important people walking around, but on the other it comes down to whether or not you can get along with people. That goes a long way in this industry.

The next post from Darius, as well as posts from his three Job Seeker Journal compatriots, will appear on Wednesday. The saga continues… 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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