By Tori Payne, special to MiLB.com
Throughout this year’s Winter Meetings in Nashville, four attendees of the PBEO Job Fair have agreed to chronicle their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE.). In this, her first installment, Tori Payne makes new connections and survives a crustacean-related mishap.
A whirlwind. Today was a whirlwind.
Here is a little backstory as to how I got to attend the PBEO Job Fair: I am in college (a.k.a. “I am poor”), so my mom was going to surprise me by paying my way. Unfortunately, Google failed her and she bought me entry to a different job fair and the payment was nonrefundable. However, a couple of weeks later, I stumbled into the Diversity and Leadership Symposium held by Minor League Baseball at Tennessee State University. During lunch I turned in my resume and somehow won a trip to go to the PBEO Job Fair at the Winter Meetings. It’s funny how life works…
If describing how I felt when I walked into the Business of Baseball Workshop, “overwhelmed” would be an understatement. Hundreds of people of all ages were ready to go, looking snazzy in suits and resumes galore. The worst part: Everyone was NICE! Of course I’m kidding that that is a negative thing, but this is a really interesting environment to meet intelligent, experienced and kind people that, also, want to fight you for the same position. At school I stick out because I want to work in baseball; here, I’m just one of many. After finding a seat, I quickly made friends with a group of young men who allowed me to follow them around all day. We laughed, we ate and we learned a lot about the business of baseball from some of the funniest professionals I have ever met.
Before the doors to the Job Fair opened, I received a miracle: a ticket to the banquet from a connection I had made at the Diversity Symposium. This gave me the confidence and energy boost to make it through my first round of resume dropping. Even though my final senior portfolio for the semester is due tomorrow, I knew that the banquet wouldn’t disappoint. And I was right. I got to reconnect with great people from Minor League Baseball that I had met at the Diversity Symposium: Vince Pierson, Stefanie Loncarich and a few others. I think I even saw the notable Mike Veeck from a distance; I happened to recognize him from the book cover of Fun is Good (which I’d recommend to all baseball lovers). Basically, the entire industry was stuffed into one room, so when I decided to sit at a table comprised of girls “about my age,” I never would have guessed that I was sitting next to the general manager and assistant general manager of the Pulaski Yankees. My table also included the president of the Carolina League and the president of the Appalachian League. I was just hanging out with a bunch of people that I want to be one day. I even saved Carolina League president John Hopkins from eating the spiced apple (that looked like fried potatoes) along with his chicken. You may be wondering what the best part of my night was and I would say that it was when no one noticed – or at least no one acknowledged – when the tail of my shrimp catapulted into the middle of the table because I was trying to cut it with a knife. Classy.
I ended my night by meeting Ben Hill and the other Job Seeker Journal Writers. They are all so cool. When you watch my interview video, though, please do not judge me for my taste in music. Now that I have time to think about Ben’s question of “What is the greatest album of all time?”, I would rival my answer with Adele’s 21 or Taylor Swift’s 1989. I was under pressure. Keep that in mind.
Stay tuned tomorrow for another installment of Tori’s job-seeking adventure.