Now that it’s all said and done, Clint Belau (now gainfully employed by the Birmingham Barons) offers his final thoughts on the whole endeavor. Follow Clint on Twitter @clintbelau, and read his other entries here:
THE VALUE OF THE EXPERIENCE
Now that I’m a few days separated from the whirlwind that was the Winter Meetings, I feel comfortable stating that I’ve officially come down from the high, and can state my opinion of the experience in 100% honesty. So get ready folks, I’m not pulling any punches. (Not that I have any punches to throw, but rest assured, if I did, I would throw them…cause this here is real!)
As someone who’s just beginning my journey in this industry, the single most notable observation to point out is just how much everyone seems to extend their figurative hand. Obviously, this is a statement that has the potential to change in the future, but based on first impression alone, it really seems to stand out. From the speakers at our workshop, to the occasional visitor in the work room, to the general conversations in the hallway, anyone who is a veteran in the industry seems to make themselves more than available to give advice and share their story. It’s a matter of approaching them, which as someone trying to break in, is not always as easy as it would seem. Just walking up and saying hi to someone who you watch on tv every day, or who’s articles you read on a consistent basis, or who you follow on Twitter and reply to, then nervously wait for the day when they reply back to you, is no small feat. Especially during a week where you fully realize how busy they might be, professionally keeping track of all of the action. However, if you can get over that initial fear, these are some of the nicest, most down to Earth people you’ll ever find. The idea that I’m joining an industry full of people like this is incredibly exciting.
Admittedly, I came to the Winter Meetings looking at this a little more through the eyes of a lifetime baseball obsessor, rather than through the eyes of a first time job seeker. When you’ve spent 30 years studying every stat, watching as many games as humanly possible, and constantly researching any off season action you can, it’s impossible to suppress that part of your being. That portion of my brain had perhaps the best week of its life. The other part of my brain, the part that was anxious to begin a new career, hopeful of what was to come, yet fearful of it being a total failure, was pleasantly surprised. This wasn’t the rat race one might have anticipated. More so, it seemed to be a gathering of friends, new and old, working towards a common goal. While the actual opportunities that were available via the job fair might have been a bit exaggerated, the opportunities that you could potentially create for yourself seemed infinite. It’s all a matter of putting yourself in the right position. And the Winter Meetings certainly seem to be that right position.
Now there is still that underlying element to this whole story, which is my age (35). In my personal experience, age seems to be far less important than enthusiasm. Sure, I’m coming at this from a bit of a different angle than most, but everyone has a different path. And in an arena such as this, it’s about turning your potential negatives into a positive. You have to figure out what separates you from the rest, and accentuate that. Personally, having a mixed bag of tricks experience-wise is most likely mine. My path to this point has given me the opportunity to amass a variety of skills (read: pursuing a career in stand up/music did not pay the bills, so I’ve been forced to have a lot of “normal” jobs). To be able to now apply that set of skills towards contributing to an organization’s success is incredibly exciting.
I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: I believe life is about experiences. I also believe that the experience of a ballpark can create a very unique impact on people’s lives. To dedicate myself to helping create that potential impact on a daily basis, is something that simply saying I’m looking forward to, is not nearly enough. This is the one game I love, and for my life to be dedicated to providing fans the opportunity to enjoy it as much as I have, is what the term “rewarding career” is all about. This isn’t a career I’m pursuing because I think it’s cool, or because I want to hang out with players and have front row seats to games. This is a career I am pursuing because it is the one way that I feel I can truly help impact the lives of others in a positive manner. Alright — unsolicited, overly dramatic monologue about my inner feelings concluded.
The reason for this article was to document our experience at the Winter Meetings, and more so, the PBEO Job Fair, as a first time job seeker. After gaining some distance from the experience, my feelings have not changed. If you are looking to break into the industry, this is an event that you simply must attend. It was in incredible networking opportunity, and the job fair did provide a plethora of potential jobs. It was a fantastic way to hone interview skills, get your name out there, and develop a network within the industry. It is an experience that will be paramount to my success.
Stay tuned for the final thoughts — and, more importantly, the final job decisions, of the other three job seekers.