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, her third installment, Katie Carlson reflects on how a little kindness goes a long way.
Read all of Katie’s posts HERE.
On Day One, one of the most important messages that speakers got across to us was how the baseball industry is truly about connecting with people and creating memories. As I listened to my favorite country music on the drive home tonight, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic that tomorrow is the last day of the Winter Meetings. I don’t know what I expected coming into this week, but my experience has exceeded my wildest dreams.
I’m in a different position than most job seekers. Because I am still in college and will be graduating in June (Stanford is on the quarter system), I am somewhat limited regarding the types of jobs for which I can apply. There are few jobs in the Job Postings room that fit my schedule, and even fewer in baseball operations (though I am also interested in media relations and would be thrilled to work with a team in that capacity as well). Because of this dilemma, I really haven’t spent much time in the Job Postings room this week. As I wrote yesterday, I’ve spent most of my time networking and hoping that a job may come out of it down the road. What I did not realize coming into Winter Meetings was how willing people would be to spend the time to help little old me, giving advice and helping me in any way that they can. These people are making blockbuster deals and still take the time to sit down with me. All I can say is Wow and Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I started off the day by grabbing coffee with an Assistant General Manager for an MLB club. He gave me some great advice. Within Baseball Ops there are various specialties — Scouting, Player Development, Analytics and more general management, for example. He said to try to narrow down which department I wanted to be in, and focus on getting as much experience in that area as possible. That means taking online classes in statistical modeling if I want to go into analytics, or creating a blog and going out to scout as many high school/college/minor league games as possible. Learning more about one particular area would help make you a specialist, which would make you more valuable to an organization.
In the afternoon I met with a family friend, who has been so unbelievably helpful in guiding me through the networking process. He has known my dad since college, and is one of those guys who seems to know absolutely everyone. He has brokered several meetups for me and continues to go above and beyond. I only hope that one day I can repay these people or pay it forward to others dreaming of breaking into the industry. Sorry to be all sentimental, but I really mean it.
Between my various coffee dates, I resigned myself to a spot at the bar and attempted to study for my final exam on the neurological processes underlying auditory and visual perception. Sounds thrilling, right? Definitely not the easiest thing to do when Kevin Millar and Aubrey Huff are standing at the bar next to you.
I tried to last as long as possible at the Hyatt lobby bar, getting as much networking in as possible before I depart tomorrow, but as I’m sure everyone who is attending Winter Meetings can attest, it is very draining. I spent a lot of time talking with my coworkers from Beverly Hills Sports Council again today. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with such an ambitious, yet kind and passionate, group of people last summer, and it has been great to reconnect with them. As I said at the beginning of this post, the baseball industry is really special because of the people. Being able to reconnect with past co-workers, meet fellow job seekers and learn from professionals has been an invaluable experience. Everyone is united by the love of the game. As the great Tommy Lasorda said, “It’s a wonderful feeling to be a bridge to the past and to unite generations. The sport of baseball does that, and I’m just a part of it.” I hope that this is just the beginning, and that I will be lucky enough to be part of baseball for many years to come.
Stay tuned for one more update from Katie this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved in this endeavor).
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, her third installment, Julie Brady banishes the metaphorical asteroid.
Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.
Sometimes everything just goes wrong, you know? Your water bed springs a leak, you trip over your shoes, your maintenance check bounces, you die in a botched bank robbery, and then you have to live it all over again for the rest of eternity (I’ve been watching a lot of X-Files). Things pile on and it’s so hard to imagine that it’ll be ok again one day.
And then sometimes everything goes magically, incredibly, beautifully right. Sometimes it’s 10:30 a.m. on the first interview day of the Job Fair and you’re walking away from the Hilton with the promise of a job offer. In California. Where it’s warm, and there’s In-N-Out Burger, and mountains, and so much baseball.
Starting on January 5th, I will begin work as Marketing Coordinator for the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino, California. That’s the first time I’ve written that out and, man, does it feel good. I didn’t want to jinx it by writing about it thoroughly or really at all yesterday, but now it’s official and all I have to do is find a printer to sign the agreement, so I can dish on the deets I know you’re all dying to hear.
In the two or so hours I spent applying for jobs at the San Diego Convention Center between Sunday afternoon and Monday, I dropped off probably 40 resumes. I carefully wrote down all of the job information for the positions I was applying for in the job posting room, then I carefully wrote that information in the top right-hand corner of my resume, then I carefully put all 40 resumes in the right resume boxes for the teams to pick up. There were more full-time positions than I thought there would be, but there were also a lot of people applying for all of them. I was just crossing my fingers and hoping for an interview. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I get the interview, I’m getting the job. Improv, people. It works.
And then, Bruce Willis stepped up to the plate and blasted that friggin’ asteroid to Nibiru. Mixed metaphors? Who’s ever heard of mixed metaphors?
Some background here: I spent the last half of my summer with the Kane County Cougars hanging out in the PA booth as often as I could, usually eating my stereotypical-intern-dinner of chicken tenders and fries (it was the most food for the least money). That’s where I realized that promotions and marketing is where I wanted to work. I’m an entertainer. It’s what I do. I want people to have fun. Scouting, analysis, player development, it would all be cool and fun and great, but I want to host the next Disco Demolition (I think we’re on Part 3 now). I want to have one idea in my life as innovative as the exploding scoreboard after a home run. I want to introduce something to baseball that baseball realizes it needs, and doesn’t know how it lived without.
It was in this PA booth that I got to know the PA announcer, Kevin Sullivan— Sully to friends and enemies. Sully is the kind of irreverent, brutally honest guy that either scares you away or draws you straight in (please realize that that is a compliment). When Sully realized that I could take his humor and throw it right back, I was granted Unofficial Rights to Sit in the Back of the PA Booth, Whenever. And it was a lot of fun. It was a fantastic backstage look, and I love going behind the scenes. Sully’s been in pro baseball for almost as long as I’ve been alive (but not so long in reverse-dog years), so when I wasn’t making jokes at appropriately timed intervals, I was keeping my mouth shut and learning a lot. And laughing a lot.
So, since it’s who you know, not what you know, Sully messaged me on Facebook Sunday night with a connection, the director of marketing for the 66ers. At 8 a.m. on Monday, I texted the number he gave me. By 8:30 a.m., we had a meeting set up for later at Starbucks. At 10 a.m. I found him and we talked about the team and the open positions and how I might fit in. And at 10:30 a.m., I was calling my mom and telling her I was moving to San Bernardino, baby.
So, although I still went to a bunch of interviews that day and signed up for a bunch more for today and tomorrow (better safe than sorry), I did so in sort of a stress-free dream state. It was so improbable. My very first interview of the whole thing was the one that landed me a job –I couldn’t believe it. I brought 150 resumes, business cards, a fatalistic attitude… and it all it took was one interview, an hour into the first day.
Talk about relief. Talk about gratitude. Talk about luck.
Today, after I accepted the offer and went to breakfast with my new team, I didn’t know what to do with myself. There was no need to do the whole job-posting-interview-scheduling song and dance, no need for me to walk another five miles. So I went back to the Hyatt, watched Ken Rosenthal pace around for a while, and then decided to go take a nap, because, well, I could. And it was glorious. My feet were almost as happy as I was.
Tomorrow is the last day of this crazy four-day experience, although it feels like it’s already been at least two weeks. I’m expecting to spend most of my time at the baseball trade show (free stuff!) and at the Hyatt, since I don’t need to go back to do job fair things. Then, it’s capped off with the gala at Petco Park, and everyone says goodbye and goes home to sleep for eight straight days, or so I assume. It’s been a total whirlwind, the busiest few days of my life, and although it’s been exhausting, I’m sorry that it’s almost over.
Congrats to Julie on the new job! Stay tuned for one more update from her this week, which will run on the blog Friday. (Thursday is a travel day for all involved).
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.
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.
— Darius Montez (@Thig08) December 8, 2014
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…
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, her second installment, Katie Carlson explores new possibilities, catches up with old friends and hob-nobs with the A-listers.
Read all of Katie’s posts HERE.
Network. Network. Network.
That was one of the main messages of yesterday’s seminar, and today that was my main focus. I started off the day attending Gio Hernandez’s workshop about International players’ road to the majors. I had never really thought about the possibility of working for the Commissioner’s office until I came to Winter Meetings, but after listening to Gio and talking to a few others, the Commissioner’s office sounds like an amazing opportunity. Not only is it an opportunity to work in baseball ops, but it’s an opportunity to get exposure to a variety of ball clubs and learn about all the rules and regulations that govern drafting and signing players. That’s a pretty valuable thing to understand, if you ask me! I made sure to introduce myself after the presentation and let him know how helpful his talk was for me.
After the workshop, I headed back to the convention center for a bit to check out new job listings and see if any interviews had been posted (none of the teams I applied for today posted interview schedules). In the postings area, I ran into an intern I knew from the Y-D Red Sox in Cape Cod. I also got to meet with one of my amazing bosses at Beverly Hills Sports Council.
Before coming to the Winter Meetings, I reached out to a few contacts to see if they could introduce me to anyone in baseball ops who may have any advice for me. Thank you Coach Dean Stotz for all your help! Thanks to him, I was able to connect with Phillies GM and fellow Stanford Cardinal, Ruben Amaro Jr. Mr. Amaro was so gracious with his time, even after I could not find him in the lobby bar and started to freak out that I had missed the opportunity to meet one of the people in baseball that I admire the most. Fortunately for me, he was very understanding and I was able to shadow him as he completed rounds of TV and radio interviews. What a smart and down to earth guy. Friends with so many people, he stopped to talk to everyone who came over to say hello.
The next stop I made was the Trade Show, where I specifically wanted to talk to one company that I had heard so much about (watch out for them guys, they’re the next big thing in video scouting!). OnDeck Digital premiered in the Cape League this past summer and they provide amazing footage of high school and college prospects, and will soon be expanding. I was lucky to talk to them at the Trade Show, and run into CEO Randy Flores at the bar later in the night. We’re both such enthusiastic people that it was really to fun to talk with him about our various exploits in baseball.
A special way to end the night was the chance to meet my fellow Job Seeker Journalists and the one and only Ben Hill. It was so nice to put a face with a name and to learn about everyone else’s Winter Meeting experience. Each one of us comes from a different baseball background and is looking for a job in a different area. I can’t wait to see where everyone goes in the coming months and years.
There will be more to come from Katie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Wednesday. Stay tuned…
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, her second installment, Julie Brady meets a lot of people, does a lot of stuff, and staves off cosmic doom for at least one more day.
Read all of Julie’s posts HERE.
This is a long one, so please, get comfortable. I’ll wait.
It is 12:44 am. I’m lying in bed, and I’m scared to look at my feet. I’m scared that maybe they are not there anymore. I’m scared that if they are there, they may be purple and blotchy and useless and we may have to amputate. As long as I don’t look, the mystery persists, and it’s fine. Fine! Everything’s fine.
I don’t know if this is common knowledge or what, but the San Diego Convention Center, where the PBEO Job Fair is taking place, is pretty much a full mile long. You can probably see it from orbit. Heck, you can probably see it from Pluto. And guess how much of it job seekers have to walk? If your guess was “a lot,” then you are exactly right. There is a lot— a lot— of walking involved, between the resume workroom and the job posting room and the interview scheduling room and the actual interview room and the other workroom that apparently nobody knows about because despite its enormous size it was almost completely empty. Although, in retrospect, that may have been because nobody wanted to walk even more. I don’t blame them. There were points today where I wasn’t sure if my feet had the resolution and willpower to keep my whole mass upright, but they did. Feet, you’re the MVP of the day. Thank you, feet. I hope you are still there.
I’ve been up since 6 am, and I have basically been doing stuff since 6 am. To be fair, the first hour and a half of doing stuff was trying to go back to sleep, but as always ends up happening, I gave in to the harsh reality of being awake and got my butt down to the Convention Center (thanks for the ride and the housing, Hisers! You are the best). From there, I applied to at least a dozen more jobs that were newly listed in the job posting room, and set up an interview at Starbucks for later in the morning.
Here is an important note: if you are going to meet a potential employer at Starbucks for an interview, and you are in a downtown city area, you should make sure you know which Starbucks they mean so you don’t end up standing outside the closed convention area Starbucks and then realize after a phone call that it’s the one at the Hilton and power-walk in uncomfortable flats all the way over there. While this is good exercise, it does result in things such as three band-aids on your feet in various places (you know, if they still exist in corporeal form).
Luckily, I seemed to be forgiven for my delayed Hilton-Starbucks arrival, and the good vibes generated from that interview persisted for the rest of the day. I would have been happy with just two or three interviews; by the end of the day, I had done five, with four set up for Tuesday and one set up for Wednesday. I felt really good about all of them, and as I suspected before this all began, the magic words are “Bill” and “Veeck” and “I want to be.” I also suspect that tomorrow, I will have some more to say about one of the teams I interviewed with, but more on that probably, uh, tomorrow. I have also been talking about improv as a life skill basically nonstop at these things. You guys. Improv. Improv! IMPROV!
I did take a break from the Convention Center in the middle of the day to check out the Hyatt, which is where the center of activity of the Winter Meetings is. I’m much better at placing names to Twitter avatars than I am to faces, so I didn’t really know who anyone was, but it was cool being there amongst all the cameras, signage, and well-dressed, frantic people. Clearly, this was where Important Things were happening.
Then I went back and applied for more jobs and had more interviews and walked a lot more. At this point, I want to mention that I was in no way doing this alone. By some universal serendipity, at the Business of Baseball seminar yesterday, the girl who sat next to me turned to me and said, “Hi, I’m Julie.” Somewhat dumbstruck, I had to answer, “Me too!” Not only this, but a girl in front of us mentioned working for a Cubs Class A affiliate near Chicago. Extremely dumbstruck, I had to answer, “Me too.” Turns out, Hannah was an intern for the Cougars the summer before I was, and we had sat by each other by total coincidence. From there, our group has expanded, and I’m proud to say that it’s a strong little coalition of women trying to make it in this male-dominated industry (there are also a few dudes, but women! Yeah!).
One of these women is Liana Louie, who is switching fields from health care to baseball, in a move bolder than invading Russia in the winter. Liana has a mean eye for fashion, merchandising, and retail, as I found out at the opening of the Trade Show, and Liana is also among the best I have ever seen at starting conversations and making friends with completely random people. It’s kind of incredible.
I mention this because, at the Hyatt tonight (after finally meeting up with Ben, Katie, Darius, and Sean, which was a lot of fun!), Liana was a force of nature. Every time I sauntered over, she was talking to a scout here or a minor league GM there or this guy from MLB Network XM radio over there (all of whom were fascinating, helpful people). This culminated in a boom-boom series of events in the lobby, where she made the move to introduce both of us to the guy with white hair and black glasses— turns out, Joe Maddon is just as nice as he seems, which is very— and then to do the same to Kim Ng, who is just an incredible human being. I entered a state of mild shock for the last half hour or so of the night (which had the helpful double effect of turning the spongy mass beneath my ankles into something resembling appendages for a while longer), and it’s all thanks to Liana. You go, girl.
And now I’m in bed, and it’s 1:17 am, and I have my first interview of the day at 9:30. I’m still trying to get used to Christmas lights in palm trees and hearing “Jingle Bell Rock: when I’m outside without a jacket. I’m figuring out the best way to carry a suspiciously heavy shoulder bag filled with resumes without decimating the rest of my body. And, of course, I’m learning. I never stop learning. From interviewers, from co-job-seekers, and from those already firmly in the industry.
That unemployment asteroid has paused in its descent. It’s still there, scientists are still trying to figure out how to avoid it, but its terrible forward motion has ceased. I can only hope that, by tomorrow night, Bruce Willis has cracked it in half with his bare hands and thrust it out of the atmosphere towards opposite ends of the universe (again, I assume that this is what happens in Armageddon). All I can do now is interview, interview again, wait, and hope.
There will be more to come from Julie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Wednesday. Feet don’t fail her now.
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, Sean Banks, references License to Ill-era Beastie Boys, scores some prime real estate and has a serendipitous Trade Show encounter.
Read all of Sean’s posts HERE.
I missed two classes and no homework. But, fortunately most of my professors are reasonable people and not jerks. Give me a choice between Music Literature class and the MLB Winter Meetings, and I’ll take the Winter Meetings every time. Sorry Prof.
To say today was a long day is an understatement. I used to hear people tell stories about jet lag, and I never believed them. I don’t fly a lot and before this weekend, I had never been west of Kansas City. But, holy cow…I was tired all day.
At around 8:00 this morning, four cell phone alarm clocks went off simultaneously, and nobody moved a muscle. Then they went off again. And again. Then we started making moves. As a result of this sluggishness, we didn’t quite make it to the Convention Center right at 9:00. We rolled in at about ten minutes past the hour and headed straight for the interview posting room.
We got all the job offers just like I said we would.
Or none. We actually got none of the job offers this afternoon. In fact, Nate was the only one that even interviewed with teams today. But, for all of you keeping score, don’t chalk this one up as a loss quite yet. I may not have interviewed with any teams today, but I found a way to achieve many small victories.
The first victory of the day was laying claim to a small table right outside the job posting and interview posting rooms. Clutch. Once we got a hold of it, we protected it with sword and shield to save ourselves a lot of walking to and fro and to and fro. From that point forward, we searched for our names on the clubs’ “we want to interview you” lists and “best of luck, kid” job postings in shifts. Talk about a team effort.
So what’s the game plan going forward? Well, to be honest, I haven’t quite figured that out yet. Wait. And then wait some more.
But, while you’re waiting — network. And today was a great day for it. Another victory. We met many fellow job seekers, exchanged stories and business cards, and talked about what we thought Tuesday might entail. And who knew you could network at the Trade Show? I certainly didn’t, but we found a way to do it. I’d say we’re getting pretty good at this.
And while I’m on the topic of the Trade Show, I might as well talk about the Winter Meetings t-shirt I bought there. It truly was destiny. I’m not a large person. I wear small t-shirts—which shouldn’t really be a surprise to a lot of people. But, when I asked for a navy blue Winter Meetings t-shirt at the counter, the lady working the booth broke my heart. No more smalls. Alright, game over. I quit. I’m going home. Cue Charlene.
I had never met Charlene, but she was standing at the counter and had just bought the last small shirt. She didn’t hesitate to offer it to me and take a medium instead. Destiny. I was supposed to be at that counter at that time to luck into the t-shirt I really wanted. I’m only kind of superstitious…but that had to be a sign, right?! So, I’ll chalk this one up as a victory too.
As I’m writing this, I’m sure Darius, Katie, and Julie are writing about their experiences too. But, I’d say getting to meet up with them and Ben was a pretty big victory for tonight, as well. There are so many great, genuine people in this industry. It’s no wonder there are some 600 job seekers in attendance. These are my people.
It’s also pretty cool to be a little star-struck when you see all the big-name baseball guys and you can just pretend it’s normal. I don’t need to ask for a picture with Kevin Millar because he’s just a guy. I think if I keep telling myself that, I might eventually believe it.
I’d like to leave you with a profound thought from this fine Monday at the Winter Meeting. As a result of working the job and interview posting rooms in shifts, there were a few times when I was the only guard on duty. I took that opportunity to observe and listen to other people’s conversations (it’s not weird, I promise). Some interesting quotes:
Mystery Job Seeker 1: “Hey! What are you guys up to?”
Mystery Job Seeker 2: “Oh, you know…just hunting.”
Mystery Job Seeker 3: “Any luck?”
Mystery Job Seeker 4: “Not yet. Maybe tomorrow.”
What sums up this experience so far? I don’t think I can say it any better than these mystery job seekers. We have to keep hunting…and get right back at it tomorrow.
Hasta mañana, amigos.
Much more to come from Sean, and his three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, tomorrow. The hunt continues.
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, her first installment, Katie Carlson shares the highlights of an inspiring first day at the Winter Meetings.
“He gets to come to the ballpark everyday and get paid for it? That must be the greatest job in the history of the universe.”
I think Todd “Parney” Parnell echoed all of our thoughts when he explained to the job seekers his “aha” baseball moment, when he realized at ten years old that he wanted to work in Minor League Baseball. At the end of a very exciting, very long day, reminding me of the awe and joy I feel every time I set foot inside a ballpark to work another game was the perfect closing. The Business of Baseball Workshop kicked off this morning, and it was worth every second and every dime. The speakers who took the time to offer their advice were some of my personal baseball idols, and others soon became people who I aspire to be as well.
If you spotted a girl taking copious notes during each presentation, that was probably me, and not just because, I’ll admit it, I’m a nerd, but because I would also love to share the advice I received today with all of you. There were several themes that transcended each speaker’s presentation —network with others as much as possible, get an expertise that makes your opinion more valuable, identify what makes you unique, and learn how to sell (ticket sales, group sales, corporate sales, etc.) because you will be doing it at every level of an MiLB career.
Several sessions stood out to me in particular. First, I want to thank Giovanni Hernandez for the special shout out to us four job seekers! Your presentation definitely stood out, and was extremely helpful in covering what to do once you get an internship. Giovanni explained that internships are like an extended audition for a full-time job, and he gave many tips including “mouth shut/ears open” and go beyond what’s required of you. (“If you’re asked to do A, B and C, come up with D, E, and F too.”)
“Who Needs a League of Their Own? Women at the Top of the Game”, was an extraordinary opportunity to hear from some of the top women in the baseball industry. Being a young woman aspiring to go into Baseball Operations, I know that breaking into the industry will be a challenge, and I admire these women so much for paving a path for people like me. As Kim Ng said, “It’s a fraternity out there. Hopefully by doing panels like this we can inspire women that they can do it too”. You definitely inspired me, so thank you! Something that felt particularly relevant was Kate Cassidy’s comment that “a common female trait is to help everybody” but you have to “make sure not to stoop to a level that is below you.” Know the job that you are supposed to do, and do it. Go above and beyond, but do not let people push you around. Another big topic was overcoming the fear of failure. Jean Afterman explained, “I’m uncomfortable 80% of the time and you just have to overcome that. Manage the fear that you are going to fail. Nut up and overcome it.” Definitely one of my favorite quotes of the day!
Being the kind of nerdy baseball fan who asked for a subscription to Baseball America for my birthday, I was particularly thrilled to listen to John Manuel. The magazine’s approach, writing from a scouting and player development focus, is the kind of analysis that I love. Listening to him talk about broadcasting the First-Year Player Draft for the first time in 2002 fascinated me since I listen to every round of the draft. (Yes, even those “boring” late rounds that are only on the radio.) John also shared advice for what he looks for in employees, explaining, “I respect preparation and people who know the game.” It is important to have the expertise —“immerse yourself in [the game], do research. I expect a level of passion for the game.”
After the workshop was over, I tried to put all that advice into action, checking out the Job Postings room, submitting my resumes for several opportunities, and then heading over to the hotel bar with some interns I worked with last summer at Beverly Hills Sports Council, as well as with some new friends I met today. It always amazes me how much I enjoy talking to others who are knowledgeable about baseball. I’m excited to head back tomorrow to meet more job seekers and professionals.
There will be much more to come from Katie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Tuesday. Congrats to all four journal writers for producing what was, in my opinion, a fantastic Day One recap. One down, three to go!
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, her first installment, Julie Brady compares urban locales, sees improv in everything and displays an unabashed enthusiasm for elaborate apocalypse metaphors.
Day One. San Diego. Winter Meetings. It has begun.
Did you know that San Diego has hills? Chicago doesn’t have any of those! Did you know that San Diego is warm in the winter? Chicago is not. Did you know that there are foghorns in San Diego? Not in Chicago. I like it here.
Today, in San Diego, I finally got the answer to that age-old question, “Which is more uncomfortable, spending four hours on a plane or eight hours in a chair at a seminar?” The answer is the plane, somewhat unsurprisingly, although I do credit the flight in from Chicago last night with enabling me to have the most satisfying back-cracking experience of my life. Maybe if there had been 20 or so amazing speakers giving business of baseball and general life advice on the plane, I would have enjoyed it more. Unfortunately, though, there were not.
Luckily, the Business of Baseball seminar, held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, supplied what American Airlines could not. Everyone that spoke was excellent — standouts included the legendary (all of them) Kim Ng, Jean Afterman (Esq.), Dr. Jan Bell, and Todd Parnell. Women, killin’ it; dudes, killin’ it. Yeah, maybe it was eight hours sitting in a chair, but it was eight entertaining and educational hours! Martie Cordero told us about making the baseball experience fun for everyone; Robert Ford let us know how difficult it is to break into broadcasting; Pat O’Conner gave us the knowledge that you should really not address mail to “Miss Pat O’Conor.” That’s not even touching on the rest of them, who clearly knew their stuff, and dished out some seriously take-able advice.
Since I am kind of a crazy person, I see parallels to improv comedy in pretty much every aspect of life, and this was especially true during the seminar. Listening as a skill or art? Improv. Making your coworkers look good? Improv. Being confident in yourself and your decisions? Improv. Everything is improv. Everything is baseball, but everything is improv. Seriously, improv comedy has given me more life skills than I can even count. I would strongly advise anyone who ever wants to work anywhere to take an improv class; it can only help.
Tomorrow is when stuff really starts getting wild, with interviews beginning, although I applied for probably 30 jobs in about 20 minutes after the seminar (sorry, trees). I’m approaching it with sort of a hysteric serenity, if that isn’t too oxymoronic. From August through the first half of November, the whole Job Fair was sort of this dark shadow looming in the dustier corners of my mind. The second half of November, I realized that wow this is happening, like, really soon and freaked out for a little while. Now, though, I’ve reached nirvana, or at least an acceptance of the inevitable. I imagine it’s sort of like what would happen if scientists discovered an asteroid that they said would “I don’t know, probably hit and destroy the Earth.” Stage one would be trying not to think about the imminent cosmic doom. Stage two would be realizing that, oh man, everything is going to go wrong and nothing will be good ever again. Stage three would be acceptance— like, yeah, maybe this asteroid will destroy this planet and everything on it, but maybe it won’t, and that’s cool.
So that’s kind of where I’m at. Maybe the asteroid of unemployment will fling itself from the far reaches of the galaxy and hit me straight in the face, and if that happens, it happens, but maybe Bruce Willis will swoop in and offer me a job and save the planet, and that would be pretty neat (is that even what happens in Armageddon? I’ve never seen Armageddon, but I assume it ends with Bruce Willis offering me a job). It’s only been one day and I feel like I’ve gotten the kind of advice that usually takes a year to glean, so absolutely no matter what happens, this whole experience is thoroughly worth it.
Barring imminent cosmic doom, there will be much more to come from Julie, and her three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Tuesday.
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 first installment, Sean Banks overcomes early morning adversity, recognizes the cliches and soaks in the atmosphere.
I stepped in a puddle.
My Winter Meetings experience got off to a great start when I stepped out of the door in the gloomy mist in Evansville, Indiana into a puddle approximately the size of the San Diego Bay. I thought for sure the whole trip was doomed when I had to go change my socks before heading to the airport at 4:30 in the morning.
But, fortunately, the plane didn’t come crashing down, and we landed safely at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday afternoon. After getting settled in the hotel and exploring Gaslamp Quarter/spending our Indiana money on California dinner, Blake, Nate (my co-job-seekers for the weekend) and I met my cousin Brendan— a Navy officer here in SoCal—and enjoyed the time we had before the Job Fair activities began in earnest.
But, enough about not-Winter-Meetings-Job-Fair stuff.
Let’s talk about Winter-Meetings-Job-Fair stuff. Nate and I went to Orlando last year so this isn’t our first time rubbing our lucky rabbits’ feet and throwing salt over our shoulders before shipping off our resumes to a foreign land never to be seen again. We are hoping to hear from potential employers who happen to inhabit those places and might let us know that our resumes are safe and won’t be harmed. We’re hoping our qualifications will be sufficient for a couple clubs. Or thirty.
Unlike last year, we didn’t need to register on-site so we showed up to the Business of Baseball Workshop about 15 minutes early and found some seats in the second row to absorb all the knowledge we possibly could. I broke out my favorite Pilot G-2 pen and notepad and got set to learn how to become the next president of Minor League Baseball…or maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.
I was excited to hear Rob Crain, President and General Manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, speak and emcee the workshop for the second year—that guy gets it (even though he told the same stories). I hope someday to be as charismatic and forward as Rob. Oh, and it would be cool if I could be that successful someday, too. I made sure to pay particular attention to anyone with advice about or knowledge of baseball’s international operations. I will be studying in the Dominican Republic this coming spring so I found Giovanni Hernandez’s presentation (Manager of International Operations with Major League Baseball) to be particularly interesting because of the stories he shared about his time in the DR.
I hope I’m not out of line in saying that I’ve heard it all before: The hours are long. You have to network. Be yourself. You have to pull the tarp.
Now’s the time to put it all in motion. In the job-posting room, I wrote down all the positions that made sense for my timeline and for which I wanted to apply. I wrote neatly on all my resumes and put them in their respective boxes like a good little direction-follower. And now the fun part — waiting. Nate and I described the process to Blake and Chris (our fourth hotel-mate who showed up during lunch), and I realized then that waiting really is the worst part. You know that terrible anxiousness you experience on Christmas Eve? Yeah…that.
But, I love this environment. We walked over to the Hyatt after finishing up at the Job Fair and talked a little with Joe Maddon (or maybe just took a picture). We also rubbed elbows with Curt Schilling and Bud Selig (maybe they just walked by us). I didn’t end up with a job as a result of last year’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, but I didn’t get discouraged or frustrated. These are my people. The experience was worth the price of admission.
So, hopefully we show up to the job-posting room these next few days and walk away with all the job offers. But, if we don’t, I refuse to leave frustrated with my time in beautiful San Diego. My experience with the Evansville Otters in the independent Frontier League came as a result of not finding a job with an affiliated club in Orlando. I’m resourceful, and I know if I stay positive, I’ll make it happen. It’s all about attitude, right? I’m ready for whatever comes my way.
Let the games begin.
Much more to come from Sean, and his three fellow Job Seeker Journal writers, on Tuesday. The games have only just begun.
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 first installment, Darius Thigpen details how Sunday was a day that started off great and got even greater.
Day One at the Winter Meetings: The Business in Baseball Workshop
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life… Don’t screw it up,” – Rob Crain (a.k.a the greatest emcee you could possibly hope for).
At 8.a.m., the tension within Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. Then in comes the brash, Bostonian awesomeness that is the president and general manager of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Talk about a wake-up call. Crain displayed so much energy and such a relaxed attitude that it set the tone for a great, productive day at the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities Job Fair.
Now, for me, I was having a great day before knowledge was dropped on us. If you’re a college football fan, then all I have to say is THE Ohio State University and you know why Sunday was great for me.
Even without the thrill from the Buckeyes I was going to have a great day. The 11 speakers, two panels (of 10 total participants) and Crain made for an intriguing day.
The best thing for people in our shoes is to learn from people with jobs in the field we’re pursuing, especially from those at a high level in the industry. It’s that much more encouraging when nearly every one of the speakers could relate to us since they were once in our shoes.
The biggest takeaways, for me, are captured in five words: personality, self, sales, money and passion.
As an applicant and eventual new hire it’s critical for us to show what we’re about. Many of the speakers said they want to hire someone who they would like to be around 100 hours a week. In case you didn’t know, working in baseball entails long hours and little time off.
“Sell yourself without selling yourself.” – Robert Ford, Radio Play-By-Play, Houston Astros.
Almost every speaker stressed being yourself, while still being professional, to show that you can be trusted and are hirable. Almost everyone touched on the fact that those in hiring positions want to see what an applicant is really like and how they would handle pressure situations.
“Who are you?” – both Carol Melendez Clark of Devry and Todd “Parney” Parnell, Vice President and COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Clark’s advice was to write down your goals for the next five years, 10 years and even 15 years. From talking to other job seekers many of us know we want to work in baseball, but aren’t exactly sure in what capacity. Everyone who is hiring wants to see what talents we have, how we can contribute and what our aspirations are. Your resume will show your skill and the person hiring determines our worth to the organization based on our resumes. Only we can figure out and articulate our aspirations.
Parnell advised to think of three words that you would use in an interview to describe yourself. For instance, mine are loving, faithful and dedicated.
If you don’t know what your goals are yet, take some time to figure it out. Also realize that many people have a plan initially and end up doing something else. This was another theme of Sunday’s speakers.
Working in sales is a big part of these jobs. Sorry. Selling a product isn’t everyone’s idea of a rewarding career. But if “sales” is convincing other people how awesome baseball is and that they should invest in your team, plus you love baseball, is it really all that bad?
Money will be an issue. Since most of these jobs are internships, part-time and seasonal we’re not making a ton of money. If you want to work in sports to make Mike Trout money you are in for a rude awakening.
You have to have a passion for this career path because you will work long hours and holidays and not have a ton of off days. I worked with the Columbus Clippers as a broadcast intern this summer. We had something like 14 days without baseball all season, five due to awful weather (which were made up), meaning we had about 144 games in 153 days.
Quick side note, anyone who is looking into broadcasting, play-by-play, reporting or anything related to radio or television should find some time after 4:30 p.m. today (Monday) to head to the Odysea Lounge at the Hilton Bayfront (next to the Convention Center). There will be a meet-up for the Sportscaster’s Talent Agency of America. I know I don’t want to miss that.
This is going to be a great week and many people will make connections that will not just get them a job, but will lead to lifelong relationships. I’m looking forward to it.
As Crain said in conclusion Sunday, “Today is the beginning of the rest of your life. Don’t be stupid.”
— Darius Montez (@Thig08) December 8, 2014
Look carefully, as not one but two Vines are linked to within the above Tweet. The next post from Darius, as well as posts from his three Job Seeker Journal compatriots, will appear on Tuesday.