Archive for the ‘ Travel ’ Category

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Ian Fontenot, December 11, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Ian Fontenot weighs his options, takes a calculated risk, and leaves Orlando on a high note. 

Ian Fontenot- Headshot

Last, But Not Least

The final day of the Winter Meetings for job seekers was upon us. After a long night of enjoying what was left of my time at Walt Disney World, I was drained, but excited about my final interview of the week. This was the first full-time position I’d be interviewing for, so naturally I was pumped. What was more exciting was the fact that this job was in a BIG market (more about that later). The second that the team’s CEO described what he was looking for in the position, I knew I had to have it. My demeanor went from sluggish and dragging to elated instantly. This interview was the first time I’ve came right out and told the interviewer I was exactly what he was looking for…or so I hope. With a great offer from a great club already in my back pocket, I knew this would throw a new wrinkle into the equation. As per usual, my gut feeling was right. My previous offer needed a decision by the end of the week, while my new prospect wouldn’t be making an offer until after Christmas. Talk about a sticky situation, but if there’s one thing I learned this week, you have to take risks in this industry to get what you want. I’ve never been more positive that an interview went swimmingly, but what happens if I don’t get the job? I’ll go from being in a near perfect situation to having nothing. Challenge accepted!

Everything around the Job Fair was now winding down. New job postings came to a screeching halt, and interview schedules were slowly pulled down. Talking to several fellow job seekers, I got a mix of sentiments toward the process. While there were many who were excited about getting tons of interviews and accepting offers that will potentially alter their lives, there were also many who not only went the last few days without getting contacted by any clubs, but didn’t see an interview list for their positions altogether. According to PBEO [Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities], there were 503 jobs posted with 506 job seekers in attendance. In theory, there should be a job available for nearly every person here. However, it appeared that less than half of those postings came with an interview schedule. That’s most likely due to the fact that lots of clubs contacted interviewees directly, which was the case for me in a few instances. Regardless of my situation, I couldn’t help but feel bad for those who weren’t as fortunate as myself. Making the trip to the Winter Meetings and putting yourself out there is no small feat.

In closing, I have to say that this week has been the most rewarding and exciting experience ever. I’ve made friends and connections that will last a lifetime. I may not know what the future holds for me just yet, but that’s okay. I’m a firm believer in the saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” I’ve never been more positive that I’m pursuing the right thing, and I know I’ll end up where I’m meant to be. To all my fellow job seekers/new professional baseball employees, good luck! To all those who will be pursuing jobs in the industry in the future, work hard and prepare yourself for when opportunity knocks. And lastly, a HUGE thanks to Ben Hill for allowing me to share my experience with you all! I can’t wait to fill you guys in on where this journey takes me.

As Ian intimated in the above paragraph, he will be contributing one final blog post once his new employment situation — whatever it may be — becomes final. In the meantime, a big thanks to Ian for contributing journal entries throughout the week.

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz 

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Alex Reiner, December 10, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, 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 third installment, a nerve-addled Alex Reiner wonders about the efficacy of networking.

AlexReinerHeadshot Calm, Cool, and Not-So Collected

Today was a big day for me.  After arriving at the job fair nice and early, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had two interviews.  Since the other two jobs had not yet been posted, I was 2-for-2. This also meant that I had my FIRST REAL INTERVIEW EVER today. As everyone knows, nerves can cause some major, and sometimes dangerous side effects. I’ll cut to the chase; I managed to sweat through three layers of clothes, I lost my appetite (if you knew how much I usually eat, you would be in shock), I now know what it feels like when your heart contracts to about the size of a peanut, then detonates like a grenade. The weirdest feeling though was this sensation in the back of my throat. It felt as if there was a planet with an orbiting moon in there, and the moon kept orbiting faster and faster to the point where the moon was on the brink of misaligning and flying out in to the depths of outer space.

Surprisingly, the most challenging part about my first interview was actually finding the correct table.  This should have been a simple task, given every team had an assigned table, and all the tables were listed on four massive boards.  But I found a way to make looking at a board and walking 10 feet take 25 minutes.

The first team I was interviewing with (we will call them Team X) had three different tables posted on the board. I decided to pick one of the tables and just watch to see when the current interview ended. My interview was scheduled at 1:50, but I had been standing there since 1:35. Then at about 2:00 I decided I had to be looking at the wrong table (which ended up being true) so I walked around to the different team X tables to try and figure out what was going on. After visiting two different tables, I found out the table for my interview was unlisted on the board. So I sat down about 15 minutes late, hoping this wouldn’t destroy any chance I had at landing this internship. By the end of the interview, my dangerous symptoms had subsided. I felt a lot better about the concept of an interview in general.

At about 3:00, I finished my interviews. I didn’t have time to really sit and just relax. The important part here though is my appetite came back as if it was an old western locomotive about to derail over a mile high bridge. I had contacted a family friend who has worked in the industry for over 20 years, just to meet with him and pick his brain. We walked from the Swan to the Dolphin, and ended up standing around the lobby of the Dolphin talking about everything from family to baseball.  Suddenly, colleagues he has worked with in the industry started coming up to us just to say hi. I managed to make some new connections. I’ll admit that up to this point I had made absolutely no effort to really “network” for two different reasons: One, I’m underage so I can’t drink (it’s just awkward, trust me), and two, it’s really hard to network when you have no idea what you are doing.

I was walking through the lobby of the Dolphin, minding my own business when I look to my right and see Joe Maddon standing about five feet from me. He had just finished an interview on either ESPN or MLB network. Suddenly, some random guy who I could tell Joe Maddon never met came up to him and started talking to him.  I’m standing here thinking “What could that guy possibly say to Joe Maddon in the next three minutes that could actually result in a drastic career opportunity?”  I definitely realized this business is more about whom you know than anything. I don’t have a problem with networking, but it really is like walking through a massive forest looking for a bamboo lemur. You will see lots of ants, maybe an occasional deer, you could be looking for months and never find that lemur. Maybe I will some time soon. We’ll see.

Will Alex ever find that bamboo lemur? Stay tuned tomorrow for the next installment! 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Kasey Decker, 12/10/2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this, her third installment, Kasey Decker learns to relax while still keeping her eyes on the prize. 

Kasey Decker

Tuesday was definitely a completely different animal than Monday. Everyone has realized the odds of any interviews being posted promptly at 9:00 am are slim and the workroom is a little more relaxed. Relaxed enough even for the group I was with to knock out the USA Today crossword puzzle while we’re waiting to hear about postings or for interviews. The lack of readily available WiFi for those of us not staying in the hotel has caused us to be more creative.

While meandering through the trade show on Monday, Meredith and I had a chance to meet the professor from Lynn University and he mentioned that we should stop back by today because Ben Hill was going to stop by and speak to his group of students. We managed to make our way back to that booth just in time to catch most of the Q&A ranging from how to toe the line between appropriate and inappropriate promotions to how one would go about purchasing a Minor League team and renaming it.

Following getting three of the four Job Seeking Journalers in one place, I headed back to the workroom to check for my dream interview (it still wasn’t there, in case you were wondering…). I have been relying heavily on all of the positives of this trip to keep from stressing over the negative – that I haven’t been offered the interview I came down here to obtain. I have one more day of potential interview time and I’m hoping the thought process was to save the best for last.

At 5:00 pm, one of the women working the job fair came into the workroom and announced that all of the interview times that would be posted had been posted and that if we were not waiting for interviews, we should leave. As a group, we definitely appreciated hearing that it was okay to head upstairs for a much needed happy hour.  I was even contacted during the happy hour to schedule my first interview of the meetings!

I may not have as many people recognize me from this blog as Meredith seems to, but during happy hour I was definitely called out for my opinions on networking outside of the job fair. I stand by that statement and I had more fun meeting people in the over-packed lobby than I did sitting at a table in the workroom.  The day definitely goes down in the books as a success and I’m looking forward to hopefully my last day ever as a job seeker Winter Meetings.

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Kasey with fellow journaler/new friend Meredith Perri.

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Will Kasey land that elusive dream job interview? Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting conclusion! 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Meredith Perri, December 10, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Meredith Perri (@meredithperri) reflects on a whirlwind couple of days while wondering what the future has in store. 

Perri_Photo_2013

Instead of writing today’s post from my hotel room as I did for the first two entries, this one comes from a few thousand feet in the air. As Ben noted yesterday, I had to leave the Winter Meetings early in order to get back to school and take care of a few finals. What better time is there to write than when you can’t have anything – including a cellphone – distract you?

OK, so I do have a crying baby sitting in front of me, but anyway…

While Monday was about networking and organized chaos, Tuesday was about finishing up strong. I was exhausted after only getting a couple hours of sleep the night before, but, as I mentioned yesterday, it was completely worth it.

Rather than go to the Job Fair first thing in the morning, I went up to the media area to see what I could do for SportsNet New York. Then, around 10:00, after I ran into fellow Job-Seeking Journaler Ian Fontenot, I had my third interview of the week – one set up because a team reached out to me after reading the introductory post for these journals. Unfortunately, since I am graduating in May, I couldn’t fill the position. Although this was established in the first few minutes, the conversation went on for 20 minutes or so, as we discussed new ways to produce content about teams.

Following my interview, I made a quick trip to the job fair where I met up with Kasey Decker once again. We then met Ben and the fourth journaler, Alex Reiner, for the first time and took a few photos that look a bit like they belong in an awkward family picture album.

I spent the rest of my morning with SNY watching the Curtis Granderson press conference, shooting some behind-the-scenes footage and just taking in everything I could up in the media area. Thanks to my busy night of networking on Monday, I had the chance to talk with someone who runs an internship program I had applied for before I came down to Orlando. After having that conversation – who knows, you might hear more about this later if everything works out – I went back to SNY to say my goodbyes and thank them for letting me tag along for the two days before heading back down to the Job Fair.

At that point I only had two hours before I needed to leave for my flight, so I sat with Kasey and our friends from Monday. While each of them went back and forth from interviews to the table and from the interviewing posting board to the table, I found out that I had another networking opportunity, this one courtesy of my older brother. With just minutes before I left the meetings, I talked to one final person, capping off a fairly successful day.

Once I catch up on my sleep – which, with finals coming up, might take some time – I’m sure I’ll have more to reflect on from this brief, but extremely worthwhile adventure. For now, though, I’m beyond thrilled that I left the Meetings knowing that the work I’ve done over the past three years was worth it; I networked as much as I possibly could and I met some extremely talented people along the way.

Good luck to Kasey, Ian and Alex today!

That’ll be it from Meredith for now, but stay tuned! She’ll provide a final post at some point in the near future, updating us all on her what her next step may be. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Ian Fontenot, December 9, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Ian Fontenot eyes his dream job while keeping his options open. 

Ian Fontenot- Headshot

The REAL Magic Kingdom

If you’ve ever done any research or watched ESPN during the Winter Meetings, you’d know that the place is crawling with familiar faces. But that isn’t exactly what makes this event so special. Getting to apply for your dream job is what makes you feel the “magic,” regardless of whether you even get an interview. With a flood of new job postings up first thing on Monday morning, there were plenty new positions to apply to. I won’t say any names yet, but my dream position was tacked to the board in front of me, and I could barely contain my excitement. Do I think I’ll get a shot to sell myself to the club? Eh, we’ll see. But the fact that the position was even posted was enough for me. Its opportunities like this that make this trip worth it.

Monday was hectic to say the least. When job postings and interview schedules went up each half hour, everyone swarmed like ants on breadcrumbs to see what updates were available. I didn’t have high expectations for many interview schedules to be posted, and for the most part, I was right. Of the 28 positions I submitted my resume for, only five posted a schedule. Luckily I found my name on two of these lists and locked down my first interview of the day. Oddly enough, I had a connection with my interviewer that I hadn’t expected. Last spring, I applied for a media relations position with a club and was contacted for an interview. Unfortunately, our time tables didn’t match up as they wanted me to start in April, and I was still in school. I immediately recognized the interviewers name (with a different club than before) and knew this would be an interesting interview. She too remembered wanting to interview me last year, and as she put it, “Not many people get invited to the prom twice.” I was ecstatic that my first in-person interview went so well, but I know I have to keep my options open as there are still two more days for opportunities to arise.

As I made my final rounds of checking interviews and new jobs, I couldn’t help but notice the disappointment of many job seekers as their interview schedules were MIA, or their names didn’t appear on prospective interview schedules. I tried to offer words of encouragement to a few people, because I knew many teams were delayed due to weather, leaving them no opportunity to retrieve the mounds of resumes from their boxes. Soon as the job rooms closed, I made my way back to my hotel to change clothes and put my bag away for the night. If you’ve ever used the Walt Disney World transit systems, you would know that you better not be in a hurry, because it’ll take a while to navigate these massive grounds. Unfortunately, this excursion put me back at the Swan and Dolphin Resort at exactly 8 p.m., causing me to miss the opening night of the Trade Show. I may have missed the free beer, but I’ll have plenty time to drop in over the next two days.

I closed out the night at the hotel lobby bar, which was absolutely packed with executives. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I got to be within arms length of John Farrell, Tommy Lasorda, Bobby Cox and Ron Washington, just to name a few. The nightlife is fun, but I’ll be up at 5:30 a.m. for another chance to make valuable connections. Stay tuned!

Looking for jobs by day, drinking with baseball a-listers at night…what’s next? Stay tuned on Wednesday for another installment of Ian’s job-seeking adventures. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Kasey Decker, December 9, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this, her second installment, Kasey Decker re-connects with old friends and makes new ones as well. 

Kasey Decker

The second day of the Job Fair, in my opinion, is the oddest of the whole trip. It’s this “hurry up and wait” day, constantly checking the interview boards. I knew the interviews wouldn’t be posted promptly at 9:30 am, but I had a feeling that I needed to be at the hotel by that time. I just had a gut feeling that Monday was going to be a good day for me.

As soon as I walked into the job posting room, I noticed the position I had been hoping to find here was posted, and nearly tackled a few job seekers rushing to turn in my resume. Of course the jobs I applied for didn’t post their interview sheets the entire day, so the waiting continues on Tuesday.

I was too anxious to sit in the workroom and watch the boards all day, so I explored the rest of the hotel and boardwalk. I even ran into fellow Job Seeking Journaler Meredith and we ended up sticking together the rest of the day and evening. My advice to everyone who asks about what to do is always to make new friends, and that’s exactly what we did. We joined a few other job seekers back in the workroom and then made our way to the Trade Show.

I’m a pretty big fan of the Trade Show because it gives an insight into what new things we’ll see around ballparks in the next season (the free beer is pretty nice too). Most of the vendors are friendly to the job seekers, hoping that we’ll remember them when we have the purchasing power. We browsed for a while before heading to the ESPN Club for dinner. The ESPN Club is a tricky place to get a table but we managed to get there at exactly the right time and requested that our table be located near power outlets (those are surprisingly sparse in the workroom…)

After dinner we walked back towards the Dolphin and joined what appeared to be every single person attending the Meetings in the hotel bar. Those are the networking situations I prefer, where everyone is a little more relaxed and I’m not labeled a “job-seeker” but a “colleague.”  I’ve noticed there’s a little bit of a stigma towards the job seekers because some of us are a little too aggressive when asking for career advice. Obviously those job seekers didn’t hear [Atlanta Braves director of human resources] Lara [Juras] on Sunday during the workshop…

Day Two may not sound like much on paper, but I know that I was able to strengthen some old connections and make new ones in a low-pressure environment. Hopefully Day Three has interviews and opportunities for me to get in front of the right people and less time spent waiting in the workroom.

Will Kasey land an interview, or shall this interminable waiting game continue? Stay tuned for another installment tomorrow…

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journal: Alex Reiner, December 9, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, 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, Alex Reiner becomes familiar with the paradox that is “hurry up and wait.”

AlexReinerHeadshot

We’re Off to the Races

I was standing in front of the new job postings at exactly nine o’clock sharp this morning. I was surprised; there were only two other people within five feet of where I was standing.  I was looking at a job post that wasn’t too long – about a page in length. I just stood there and read it over and over. There were two main reasons for this: 1. NO PHOTOGRAPHY PLEASE.  2. I wanted the job bad, so I thought if I just stood there and looked at it for a while it could improve my chances by the slightest percent. Then at about 9:05, I suddenly snapped out of my meditated focus to find about 50 other people pushing and shoving, trying to read the new job postings. I was stuck between a bunch of bodies and a corkboard. Welcome to the PBEO Job Fair.

It’s really interesting, actually. Although I know some people are being contacted directly by phone, it appears that the main way to find out if you have an interview is to look at the “interview posting” board. Seems like a relatively inefficient way to inform people of an interview, given that it requires applicants to sit at the Job Fair and just wait and see if any of the jobs they applied for suddenly get posted (and I thought social media is officially a part of society?). As many other job seekers can attest, sitting around waiting for jobs to be posted isn’t exactly like watching a highlight reel of Jose Bautista hitting absolute moon-shots off of whatever mere mortal soul that attempts to throw a ball by him.

I actually spent most of the day traveling back and forth between the Sports Management World Wide Career Conference at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista and the PBEO Job Fair (in the Swan Resort).  From about 9 AM to 12PM I ran back and fourth between the Sheraton to the Swan at least three times.  Yes, it took me three trips and $30 in parking fees to realize it would probably be a lot easier to just text one of the twelve people I traveled to Orlando with from Lynn University who were at the Job Fair anyway checking the boards every half hour…

The most interesting part of my day though, occurred while I was walking towards the Job Fair and I saw a sign that said “Free Advice from John Kruk.” You can’t look at a sign that says “Free Advice from John Kruk” and not go see what it’s all about. I looked in to the room and saw a small group of people crowded around a tiny desk towards the back of the room. In the middle of the group stood Tim Kurkjian getting advice from John Kruk (and three cameras from ESPN).  There were just talking baseball. Standing there listening to the two of them was like watching your new favorite movie for the very first time. It doesn’t really matter what happens, but you know you’re going to love it.

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By the end of the Job Fair, I had applied for four jobs in total – none of which have been posted on the interview board yet.  I figure I’m 0-for-0 just sitting on the bench waiting to hear the coach call my name. I then went and checked out the Trade Show, and hung out with some of my classmates at the Lynn University booth (Directions: walk all the way to the end of the hall.  Once you cannot go any further, look right and you will see us).  After, I headed back to my hotel to call it a night, only to be greeted by a 10-page business law exam (yes, it was as fun as it sounds). At this point, it’s 1:05AM and if for some reason you’re wondering, I still have to write those five pages.

Check back tomorrow for part three of Alex’s adventures — more riveting than a Jose Bautista moon shot!

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journal: Kasey Decker, December 8, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Kasey Decker arrives in Orlando older, wiser, and ready to launch the next phase of her career. 

Kasey Decker

I’m not going to lie to you: I had really high expectations for the first day of Winter Meetings. The last time I was in Orlando, I was that bright-eyed job seeker, weeks from my college graduation, and eager to please. I arrived a day early to Orlando so I could get my bearings and be my best self for the “first day of the rest of my life.” I hung on every word each individual speaker gave us and took notes like I was preparing for a final exam. My experience this year has, so far, been the polar opposite.

Being that I’ve now been “financially independent” for the past three years, I had to budget a little more carefully for my trip down here. Knowing that you do more networking in after-hours situations, I decided to save money by flying in early Sunday morning instead of Saturday. I would come to regret the decision to fly out at 6:30 am —  you live, you learn.

Coming into the Business of Baseball seminar having sat through one already was also a new experience. First, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders president Rob Crain was also the host for my last seminar, so I had a hint of what I was in for. I also noticed more this time that every speaker harps on having been “right where you are” which is encouraging but frustrating for someone in my position. I have also been sitting in these seats before; I’ve heard all of the things you have to say; yet here I am in this very same seat again.

It’s not all negative; I realize this all sounds a little jaded. I have had the chance to network at the bar, catch up with colleagues I haven’t seen in a while, and take in the incredible event that is the Baseball Winter Meetings. I’ve even had job seekers ask me for advice once they realize I have been here before.

The advice and information given by Atlanta Braves director of human resources Lara Juras and Pawtucket Red Sox general sales manager Cookie Rojas during the Business of Baseball Seminar stood out the most to me. I realize that I may have a little bias, since Lara has helped me in my career, but she spoke to being self confident but not cocky. It is important to know yourself but also be aware of how others perceive you. Cookie focused on why his job was great and how “businesses that do good, do well.” Minor League Baseball as a whole focuses a lot of resources and energy on giving back to the community, and it reminded me that I’m here for all of the right reasons.

All in all, I would call day one of the Winter Meetings a success. I’ve even added “attending the Business of Baseball Workshop in a speaking capacity” to my 10-year plan. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow has to bring with interviews and more networking!

Kasey will be providing her “veteran” perspective throughout the week, as will her three fellow job-seeking journalers. This serialized saga has just begun! 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Ian Fontenot, December 8, 2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Ian Fontenot maintains some semblance of self-awareness amid a most over-stimulating environment. 

Ian Fontenot- Headshot

Play Ball!

Sunday marks the opening day of the 2013 Baseball Winter Meetings, or as emcee Rob Crain put it, “the first day of the rest of our lives”. Crain, the president of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, was nothing short of an outstanding host, seamlessly transitioning from speaker to speaker while keeping the 300-plus member crowd alert. I don’t think I’ve ever kept my attention on something as long as I did for the Business of Baseball Workshop. I fully anticipated being too eager to really grasp everything our speakers were saying, but it was quite the contrary. From the very beginning, Crain grabbed our attention with a story of his first Winter Meetings experience which involved a late night with his future wife, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and David Wells’ phone number. Immediately, you could tell Crain was a relatable person as this was a story you’d expect to hear from a friend rather than a Triple-A club president. He also touched on something I hope to find here in Orlando: finding a mentor.

Our first speaker Baseball America’s Minor League Executive of the Year and Louisiana native (represent!), Martie Cordaro of the Omaha Storm Chasers. Cordaro brought up many subjects, such as things to ask potential employers and something I’ve studied for the past four years — building mutually beneficial relationships. The rest of the day was filled with speakers reminding us of the importance of networking, hard work, passion and taking risks. Aside from the afternoon panel discussion, which required interaction from the audience, MLB international baseball operations manager Giovanni Hernandez easily drew the most interest from attendees. I assume that was because lots of people, like myself, are chasing the dream of one day working in baseball operations and player development. The one speaker who touched home for me was Minor League Baseball president & CEO Pat O’Conner. The story of his dad’s reaction to his phone call about taking a low-paying internship in Vero Beach, Florida after graduation is basically how I see people reacting when I tell them how much money I expect to make after coming out of college with two degrees. I think it’s safe to say that O’Conner’s decision was ultimately a great choice. That being said, the most wildly entertaining speaker came last in Richmond Flying Squirrels vice president & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell. I think anyone in attendance can attest for how raw, yet passionate, Parney was. I could only hope to work for someone as fun as Parney. However, as informational as the day was, I was all too ready to see what possibilities this week had in store. I may have appeared calm on the outside, but inside, I felt like I was running in place, and as we were bombarded with information, my anxiety raced even faster.

Immediately following the speakers was the main attraction for most, the opening of the Job Postings Room. The picture I painted in my head was one of chaos and savage fighting to get to each posting, but it was actually quite calm aside from two guys getting very testy with each other over the fact that one of them was taking pictures of the postings, which was supposed to be forbidden. As much research as I’ve done, I honestly didn’t know what to expect as far as job availability. In all, I submitted my resume for 14 communications-related positions. And the waiting begins.

As the first night approached, I did the networking-responsible thing and hit the bars (which are not job seeker-friendly on the wallet). I was lucky enough to have a friend who interned with me in Vermont, Dave Van Gorder, attend the Meetings as well. This made my situation a tad bit more comfortable as we connected with several fellow job seekers, including one who was over 50 and had little to his name in the baseball world aside from passion. Apart from the networking, I have to admit that the highlight of my night was being only two feet away from Jim Leyland, who was visiting with new Detroit manager Brad Ausmus and members of the MLB Network staff. I had to fight the urge to introduce myself and/or ask for a picture, but I knew it wasn’t the right moment; I guess we’ll call that “self-awareness.” Hopefully Monday will bring more intriguing job postings and a few interviews, but I am looking most forward to reconnecting with my family from the Vermont Lake Monsters!

The networking adventures of Ian and his three fellow Job-Seeking Journalers shall continue throughout the week. Check back on Tuesday for the next round of installments. 
benjamin.hill@mlb.com
twitter.com/bensbiz

Winter Meetings Job-Seeker Journals: Meredith Perri, 12/8/2013

Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to keep a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Meredith Perri re-connects with former co-workers and learns what it means to “work” in baseball. 

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About 12 hours after I first stepped into the Dolphin Resort, I stood in the lobby and looked on as Ron Darling finished taping a show for MLB Network. He had walked by me a few minutes earlier, and it became my goal to talk to him before I left for the night. I had met him once while interning for SportsNet New York, and while I figured he didn’t remember me, it seemed like a decent way to start up a conversation.

After the show wrapped, I walked over to where Darling stood signing autographs and practiced my introduction in my head. A few moments later, he walked over to me, smiled and shook my hand as I told him my name and about my time at SNY. He wished me luck with my job search and both of us went on our merry ways.

Now, why would I start off my first journal entry with this anecdote? It actually has little to do with talking to Darling, although that was one of the highlights of my first day at the Winter Meetings. As I waited to speak with Darling, a fan made the comment to him that the next few days would probably be very busy. Darling smiled a bit and agreed, but responded that when it’s baseball it isn’t really work.

I’ve heard writers and other industry professionals make similar statements before, but Darling’s comment perfectly articulated the main thing that I took out of the Business of Baseball Workshop – if you’re passionate about something, it doesn’t necessarily feel like a job.

So, now back to 12 hours earlier when I made my way into the ballroom for the seminar.

After reading last year’s journal entries, I knew what to expect when I got to the workshop. That doesn’t mean, though, that I wasn’t thrilled to see a familiar face as one of the broadcasters from the Cape Cod Baseball League, Justin Rocke, also made the trip down to Florida.

The two of us sat together as speaker after speaker made sure that every person in attendance understood that working in the baseball industry is not easy. Of course, each one of them had their own entertaining way of explaining this.

No matter what the speaker talked about, though, they all eventually told a story about their experience either at the Winter Meetings or working for a team. Some of them were inspiring, like Pawtucket Red Sox general sales manager Cookie Rojas’ photo story of why he has the coolest job. Others sounded more like war stories as speakers detailed their attempts to get ice off of tarps and mishaps during on-field promotions.

Even the more harrowing – although thoroughly entertaining – stories, though, made me think about the passion it takes to work a job where, to quote Todd “Parney” Parnell, the Vice President and COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, you work “25 hours a day, 8 days a week, 13 months a year.”

Baseball is a business, and that, clearly, was the main focus of today’s seminar. At the same time, though, it takes a certain kind of person to find joy in this type of non-stop lifestyle.

Like many of the other job seekers, I’ve put in a lot of hours at internships and miscellaneous jobs to get here. Those stories only encouraged me even more to get into the business. Now it’s time to see where my passion and those previous experiences will take me.

Check back tomorrow — and throughout the week — for much more from Meredith and her three fellow job-seeking journalers. 

benjamin.hill@mlb.com

twitter.com/bensbiz

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