Winter Meetings Job Seeker Journals: Julie Brady, December 8, 2014
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.