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.
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!