Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journal: Tori Payne, December 8

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By Tori Payne, special to MiLB.com

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her third installment, Tori Payne jumps the gun, gets a confidence boost and celebrates success.  

Remember when I was so excited to see my name on the interview sheet? Well, I obviously was so excited that I misread the date of my interview. It was for Wednesday, not Tuesday. When I arrived at the PBEO Job Fair this morning, I was ready to go for my interview at 11 a.m. I even ran into Lara Juras and Vincent Pierson, two of the professionals I have been connecting with since the Diversity Symposium, and expressed my excitement. Then, I walked into the interview sheet room to check who I was interviewing with, and BAM! Right place, wrong day.

Although I was understandably bummed, I still wanted to make the most of the day. Because the rate of jobs and interviews being posted was very slow, I decided to take a walk around and see if I recognized anyone. The Opryland Convention Center is extremely large – I honestly have gotten lost at least five times – but somehow I still saw Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin talking with someone from a distance. It was nice to see a familiar face among the eager crowd. Afterwards, Brooke, whom I had met the day before, asked me to go to the Trade Show with her again. She introduced me to the coolest company, Baseball Lacelets. The wife of a baseball player in the Red Sox organization and her cousin take the old laces out of gloves and recreate them into a branded or personalized bracelet. As a souvenir, I bought one with the quote, “You’re killin’ me Smalls.” It’s a baseball classic.

Around 2:00, I began to get discouraged. I understand that everyone has worked hard and has the passion for baseball, but it is still tough to see your hard work and passion be overlooked while others are receiving multiple interviews a day. Right when I was about to leave for the day, a professional from a team in the California League approached me. I had bumped into him yesterday, and he had asked for my resume. I didn’t think I was qualified for the job because of my graduation date, but I handed it over anyway. He asked me to meet him at 4:00, and I gladly obliged. Our meeting was incredible. I was able to explain my skills and experience and he described the learning environment and job opportunities that I desire. After our conversation, my confidence surfaced. No matter what ends up happening, I know that my skill set can be – and one day soon hopefully will be – appreciated by a baseball club.

After the day, some new friends and I planned to go to dinner in Nashville and I was designated as tour guide. However, as Brooke and I were driving into the city, she got THE call: the Greensboro Grasshoppers were hiring her. I’ve never been a part of a moment like that, but it was an indelible experience to watch someone reach their dreams. Time got away from us and we accidentally missed dinner with friends, but we still celebrated with jalapeno margaritas, queso and tacos.

What was the highlight of my day, you wonder? Other than the surprise interview, it was seeing Joe Girardi. Twice. He looked a little lost, and I don’t know my way around the building so I couldn’t help, but I still gawked just a little. I pulled myself together in time for his entourage to pass the second time, but it was a pretty neat experience. It’s not every day you see baseball legends in the flesh.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of Tori’s Nashville adventures. Will she get a job? See another baseball legend in the flesh? Enjoy another jalapeno margarita? All will be revealed. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

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