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.