By Jim Angell, 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, his fourth and final installment, Jim Angell dishes out the advice, expresses gratitude and waits for what’s next.
That’s the Ball Game, Here’s the Recap
Over the past three days, I have taken (at times) a whimsical look at the Winter Meetings and my participation in the PBEO Job Fair. Today, I’ll focus on recapping the event for future job seekers and sharing some of the lessons I learned I during my time in Nashville.
There’s a saying around baseball that no matter how much you have been involved in and around the game, it will always teach you something new. First-time attendees need to keep that in mind. You should come ready to learn, willing to interact with a wide range of people, and honest about yourself, your talents and about what you want to do.
The primary thing that first-timers need to understand is that baseball is an industry made up of variously-sized companies (organizations) and suppliers that are in the “business” to win. Whether on the field of play, as is the case for Major League teams, or on the profit side of a balance sheet, the stark reality is that baseball is a business. To be profitable, organizations will do anything to control costs and maximize their ability to put more butts in the seats. Empty seats don’t buy tickets, eat hot dogs, buy t-shirts, or drink beer.
Here are the lessons I learned from my Winter Meeting/Job Fair experience:
- If you are a prospective job seeker, do go to the Winter Meetings and the Job Fair. As frustrating as the job posting and interview process can be you learn a lot and can meet a ton of people with knowledge about the “business” that you can’t pick up from a website, blog or book.
- Just because you have a lot of talent or experience, you still may not be what Minor League teams are looking for. Depending on the size of the team, their operation and their market (very important), the pay and talent they are looking for varies greatly. Some teams only offer college credit, while others pay upwards of $1500 a month for an intern. There are very few full-time positions posted.
- Most of the jobs are seasonal and targeting interns. So, if you’re not willing to relocate on an interim basis (three to nine months, depending on the job role) without the assurance of full-time employment, you best look elsewhere.
- Just because you’ve been an intern before doesn’t mean that you’ll get another internship or another job in baseball. Just like with on-field talent (the players), you will be competing against a new crop of “kids” each season who are entering the mix and willing to work for the wages being offered. That’s the stark reality of the business.
- Work the event. That means getting away from the workroom, the interview posting room and the job posting room. Yes, check back from time to time, but don’t set up roots. There’s a whole world of baseball happening at these events and it’s ripe with opportunities. Talk to people. Give them your business card. Listen, listen and do more listening. Baseball people are a gold mine of information.
- Come with business cards and resumes. (Enough said.)
- Go to the Winter Meetings Trade Show. You will meet people who are pretty much chained to their booths. They like talking about their companies and, if you are a mid-career free agent like myself, are interested in proven experience. Therefore, they may be looking for the talents you have that can impact their business. I got four job leads from “hitting the bricks” and talking to people at the Trade Show. Don’t skip it.
- Have fun. Get to know your fellow job seekers. Eat lunch or dinner with them. Hang out at the “watering holes” around the venue. There are a lot of good stories about why they are at the Job Fair, and hearing about their dreams for baseball is wonderful. For instance, I met one former Minor League pitcher who was looking to get into ticket sales for a Minor League team. His playing days were cut short due to two arm surgeries, but he still loved the game and now wanted to be part of the business. I’d hire him.
- Keep trying. If you didn’t land the position you wanted during the Job Fair, don’t stop trying. Keep “knocking on doors” and sending letters to teams. You never know when you’ll be in the right place at the right time. (Yes, even if you get lost in the Opryland Resort.)
I hope you enjoyed my daily reports as much as I enjoyed writing them. I want to thank Benjamin Hill and MiLB.com for allowing me to share my insights and experiences this year’s Winter Meetings and PBEO Job Fair.
Good luck to all the job seekers out there, and to all the organizations who are working hard every day to improve the game day experience.
Thanks, Jim, for sharing the lessons you learned.