During next week’s Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, California, four intrepid attendees of the annual PBEO (Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities) Job Fair will chronicle their employment-seeking experiences in a series of guest posts. Meet them all HERE. This marks the third season in which I have hosted “Job Seeker Journals” on this blog, and in advance of next week’s posts I thought that now would be a good time to hear from those who have trod down this road before. This post features career (and life) updates from 2013’s four journal writers (Click on the name of each job seeker to see all of the posts that they have written).
Meanwhile, a post featuring 2012’s journal writers can be found HERE.
It was just about one year ago that I took a leap of faith right before graduation and made my way down to Orlando for what proved to be a life-altering week. I went into the Baseball Winter Meetings expecting to find a great internship somewhere in the middle of the country. After spending four long days “hitting the pavement,” I left Orlando not knowing what to do. The only full-time job I interviewed for wouldn’t be making a decision for at least another month, while every internship I had been offered needed an answer within the next week or two. I chose to turn down each internship to stay in the running for the full-time position, which played out in my favor, and here I am today.
Currently, I’m the marketing manager for the Staten Island Yankees, the Class A Short Season affiliate of the New York Yankees, handling the team’s website, media relations, gameday publication and social media (follow us!). After nervously sitting at home unemployed in Port Barre, Louisiana, for two months, I got the job I had been holding out for. Not only did I get a full-time position, I also got the chance to live in New York City, which is much different than any place I had imagined myself in when I planned my trip to the BWM. Living and working in this city is exciting, stressful, intriguing and challenging, but certainly not boring. Plus, you never know when you’ll bump into Ben Hill during a mid-week game.
As far as my experience at the Winter Meetings, it was certainly positive. The Job Fair process is intense to say the least. It seemed like there was an equal number of job seekers and job postings. While talking to other job seekers, however, it was apparent that most people were there for one of three job categories: broadcasting, baseball operations and marketing/communications. Unfortunately, there were only a handful of full-time jobs available altogether (the vast majority were internships), and there were far more people looking to gain experience in the aforementioned areas than for sales, stadium operations, etc. This created a LOT of competition for the most appealing positions. I like to think that I was able to cut through the clutter by being very prepared. I brought tons of resumes, cover letters and business cards, and read several first-hand accounts of the Job Fair from previous years so that there wouldn’t be any surprises. But, most importantly, make sure that you enjoy the experience. While it might be stressful to have your future hanging with uncertainty, there are not many places where you’ll be able to shake hands with Tommy Lasorda, embarrass yourself in front of Mark Prior and walk amongst your childhood heroes all in one night. Best of luck to everyone attending this year’s Winter Meetings!
It has been a rough couple of months for me. Last year when I was going through the job seeking process, I knew surgery was looming for a torn labrum in my left shoulder. After my labrum was repaired in February (which forced me to miss my whole collegiate baseball season), I found out that I needed to get a minor procedure done on my lower back. While looking for opportunities at last year’s Winter Meetings, I knew I needed to find a position where I literately sat all day long.
I was offered a internship with a Minor League team in late January, but I turned it down because I was about to go in to surgery and I had no idea what the recovery process would be like. I did not want to make a commitment to a team if I ended up not being able to fulfill it. It really bummed me out because the opportunity justified my reasoning for going to the Winter Meetings.
In April, I got a call from Baseball Info Solutions in regard to an application that I had submitted at the Winter Meetings. It was a pleasant surprise, considering that the Winter Meetings were three months prior and I did not expect to hear from the company. I did a phone interview soon after and they offered me a “Video Scout” internship opportunity. I ended up working at BIS for the summer, and it was a fantastic experience. My first day at BIS was just two weeks after surgery, but the excitement of getting paid to watch baseball all day was the perfect morphine. Overall, BIS opened my eyes to analytics, and I’m extremely thankful for the experience.
I’m now a senior at Lynn University, and I am graduating in just a few weeks. However, you won’t see me at this year’s Winter Meetings as I’ll be starting graduate school in the spring (while I play my last two years of college baseball). At the end of my last post almost a year ago, I said I was “pretty sure that I just heard that bamboo lemur (in the Winter Meetings Job Fair jungle) that I had been searching for ruffling in the bushes.” Looking at my timeline, I found the lemur, dropped it in a black hole, and then its brother attacked me in my sleep. But the lemur has now come and gone, and while my journey is currently on hold, I’ll be heading back in to the forest come 2015.
I still remember exactly how I felt when I wrote the phrase “Just waiting…” for my final journal entry last winter. After spending an incredible couple of days in Florida running back-and-forth between the Job Fair and the media area, I was exhausted and, honestly, nervous. I was a senior in college trying to juggle my final semester, freelancing and searching for a place to work after graduation.
I never did get a job offer from any of the teams at the Winter Meetings, but I can say with complete certainty that I’m OK with that.
In the year since I attended the Winter Meetings, I wrote several features for FoxSports.com, graduated from Boston University, accepted a paid internship with the Cape Cod Times and, most importantly, got a job with MassLive.com as a high school sports reporter.
My summer with the CCT gave me some incredible opportunities, including a chance to shadow one of the Cape Leaguers as he experienced Fenway Park for the first time. Just as that internship was coming to an end, I was offered the job with MassLive and it was the perfect fit. I get to work toward my goal of becoming a professional beat reporter every day, and it really doesn’t get any better than that.
While the Job Fair didn’t lead to my current position, I still think that it was completely worthwhile. I had a chance to talk to professional writers about their experiences and learn more about the business of baseball. Most of all, I made really great connections with people who have helped me to continue my passion for sports journalism.
Oh, and I’m still annoyingly good friends with fellow journaler Kasey Decker.
So, that’s where I’m at right now. Thank you to Ben for giving me the chance to update you all on my whereabouts and for giving me the opportunity to talk about my Winter Meetings experience in the first place!
Hey there future job seekers! I still remember exactly how I felt leaving Orlando (it was a lot of panic because I wasn’t sure if I had returned my first-ever rental car correctly.) I have since taken a job outside of baseball to pay the bills, started my own blog, and I even took up my old gameday role with the Rome Braves again over the summer.
It’s definitely a challenge to keep applying, keep working on getting my name out there, and to keep my head up that something is going to come along.
As far as the Job Fair goes, I absolutely think that it’s worth it to go to once. I don’t know if I would recommend the second trip. I was planted pretty firmly between being overqualified for entry-level jobs and underqualified for higher-level jobs.
With all of that being said, I definitely gained a lot from my experience in Orlando the second time around. Writing for Ben helped me find my voice and allowed me to start my own blog (kaseyatthebat.com) that has grown steadily in the past year. I met fellow job seeker Meredith who I still talk to every day. Lastly, I now know the layout of the Swan & Dolphin resort and Downtown Disney well enough to give some solid travel advice.
Thanks to Ian, Alex, Meredith and Kasey for sharing their perspectives. Stay tuned on Monday for the first installments from 2014’s crop of job-seeking journal writers.
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 fourth and final installment of the week, Alex Reiner creeps ever closer to that most elusive of creatures: a job.
Those Days are Gone
What is that vibe that I got in the halls of the Dolphin Resort on Wednesday of Winter Meetings?
From the baseball executives, it definitively was the sense of getting down to business. From the hundreds of PBEO job seekers, it was mixed: Some attendees were on emotional highs, busy with multiple interviews and endless schmoozing; others were suffering from major buzz kills, aimlessly wandering around hoping for that job-opportunity cell phone call that had not yet come.
And me? I was somewhere in the middle – taking my swings in the cages, ready for my big at-bat.
I went back to the Swan and noticed that one more of the internships I had applied for had been posted. This team was offering eight different jobs and internships on the same listing, but had only placed four names on its interview posting. I viewed this internship as my “reach” so I really wasn’t discouraged when I didn’t see my name on the board. Honestly, I was extremely under-qualified, and viewed my chances of getting an interview with this team similar to Ben Revere hitting a 600-foot bomb off of a Tim Wakefield knuckleball. But like our Little League coaches taught all of us: you cannot get a hit if you don’t swing the bat. In the interview box score, I’m now 2-for-3.
I applied for two other internships. The first had not yet reached out to me. I submitted a resume at the Job Fair and I sent them an email. The organization was from up north, so I wanted to guess that they just got caught in the winter storms and could not fly down. Maybe I will hear from them soon. But in the meantime, we will chalk it up as a foul ball.
The second internship opportunity offered some seriously positive possibilities. I met with those executives in the lobby of the Dolphin and we seemed to really connect. I’m mid at-bat on that one, but it’s looking really good.
After all that, I headed over to our Lynn University Sports Management booth in the Trade Show. As it has done each of the last eight years, my university had arranged for more than a dozen speakers to come to the booth throughout the week and talk about their experiences in the industry. They were terrific!
The absolutely brilliant writer who runs this blog, the genius Ben Hill, spoke superbly about the key business elements of Minor League Baseball – along with the value of learning how to suck up appropriately. Bruce Baldwin, the ever-affable general manger of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, educated us on pimento-and-cheese sandwiches, RC Cola and grits (translation: the importance of knowing your market). Jonathan Maurer, president of Millennium Sports Management, gave an excellent talk, touching on the different responsibilities of a sports agent – he notes that he has two families: one with his wife and kids, and one with 25 ballplayers. Dan Foster, chief executive officer of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, broke down his complex and extremely valuable organization, which ranges from memorabilia sales to pension funds to insurance plans.
After our last meeting at our booth, I did a final lap – through the Trade Show, around the Dolphin lobby, into the Swan, a final check of the job boards, and then back to the Dolphin – and totaled up our weekend. Of the seven of us Lynn University Sports Management students who came to the Winter Meetings to actively seek jobs or internships, five of us had offers before the end of the Job Fair. We had all been slashing our way through the baseball employment jungle and we are all a whole lot closer to where we want to be than before we had arrived at this year’s Winter Meetings.
As for me, I’m pretty sure that I just heard that bamboo lemur that I had been searching for ruffling in the bushes.
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!
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 second installment, Alex Reiner becomes familiar with the paradox that is “hurry up and wait.”
We’re Off to the Races
I was standing in front of the new job postings at exactly nine o’clock sharp this morning. I was surprised; there were only two other people within five feet of where I was standing. I was looking at a job post that wasn’t too long – about a page in length. I just stood there and read it over and over. There were two main reasons for this: 1. NO PHOTOGRAPHY PLEASE. 2. I wanted the job bad, so I thought if I just stood there and looked at it for a while it could improve my chances by the slightest percent. Then at about 9:05, I suddenly snapped out of my meditated focus to find about 50 other people pushing and shoving, trying to read the new job postings. I was stuck between a bunch of bodies and a corkboard. Welcome to the PBEO Job Fair.
It’s really interesting, actually. Although I know some people are being contacted directly by phone, it appears that the main way to find out if you have an interview is to look at the “interview posting” board. Seems like a relatively inefficient way to inform people of an interview, given that it requires applicants to sit at the Job Fair and just wait and see if any of the jobs they applied for suddenly get posted (and I thought social media is officially a part of society?). As many other job seekers can attest, sitting around waiting for jobs to be posted isn’t exactly like watching a highlight reel of Jose Bautista hitting absolute moon-shots off of whatever mere mortal soul that attempts to throw a ball by him.
I actually spent most of the day traveling back and forth between the Sports Management World Wide Career Conference at the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista and the PBEO Job Fair (in the Swan Resort). From about 9 AM to 12PM I ran back and fourth between the Sheraton to the Swan at least three times. Yes, it took me three trips and $30 in parking fees to realize it would probably be a lot easier to just text one of the twelve people I traveled to Orlando with from Lynn University who were at the Job Fair anyway checking the boards every half hour…
The most interesting part of my day though, occurred while I was walking towards the Job Fair and I saw a sign that said “Free Advice from John Kruk.” You can’t look at a sign that says “Free Advice from John Kruk” and not go see what it’s all about. I looked in to the room and saw a small group of people crowded around a tiny desk towards the back of the room. In the middle of the group stood Tim Kurkjian getting advice from John Kruk (and three cameras from ESPN). There were just talking baseball. Standing there listening to the two of them was like watching your new favorite movie for the very first time. It doesn’t really matter what happens, but you know you’re going to love it.
By the end of the Job Fair, I had applied for four jobs in total – none of which have been posted on the interview board yet. I figure I’m 0-for-0 just sitting on the bench waiting to hear the coach call my name. I then went and checked out the Trade Show, and hung out with some of my classmates at the Lynn University booth (Directions: walk all the way to the end of the hall. Once you cannot go any further, look right and you will see us). After, I headed back to my hotel to call it a night, only to be greeted by a 10-page business law exam (yes, it was as fun as it sounds). At this point, it’s 1:05AM and if for some reason you’re wondering, I still have to write those five pages.
Check back tomorrow for part three of Alex’s adventures — more riveting than a Jose Bautista moon shot!
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 installment, Alex Reiner arrives in Orlando and begins to weigh his options.
And so it begins…
My situation is a little different than most other job seekers here. I’m a college baseball player at a small NCAA Division II school called Lynn University. As a 20-year-old junior in college, the number one goal on my agenda right now is to get good grades in school, and to play baseball. I really think it’s a blessing that I get to wake up every day and spend hours on the field. It’s a luxury not many people have. The only thing I do know is that one day, that luxury will end. It could be tomorrow, it could be after I graduate, or it could be in fifteen years.
I’d be lying if I didn’t reveal that I have been to the Winter Meetings once before. I was a freshman in college, and I imagined the Winter Meetings as a place where all of baseball’s top executives came together and literately broke it down in the lobby of the hotel, throwing trade offers at each other and signing free agents on the spot. Just imagine if you were a chocolate lover, and you walked in to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Now switch all the chocolate with baseballs, and you are looking inside my brain circa freshman year. When I arrived to the Winter Meetings in Dallas two years ago, I was in for a rude awakening. Although teams did make trades, and free agents were signed, I didn’t have the box seat behind home plate that I expected. I wasn’t necessarily disappointed in my experience, but after finding out my university wouldn’t accept any internships I did as college credit until I was at least a sophomore, I felt discouraged to say the least. I left Dallas hungry, ready to come back when the time was right.
So here I am, two years later. After a three-hour drive up from Boca Raton, I headed in to the Dolphin Resort and I found a quiet room and did three hours of homework. Not exactly the most exciting start to what I like to think is a promising week, but I’m here and my exams are taking place back at Lynn, and it’s hard to be in two places at once. I have four exams and three essays to finish before Wednesday night. So if you ever want to find me, I’ll probably sitting at a table alone behind the Lynn University booth in the Trade Show doing one of those seven assignments. I figure since I can’t drink anyway, it would keep me out of any awkward situations where I’m at a bar trying to network, and some baseball executive starts talking to me and offers me a drink and I say “Uhhh, iced tea please?”
The excitement was killing me. After taking about three hours to write two-and-a-half pages of a seven-page paper, I headed over to the Swan Resort for the Job Fair about forty-five minutes early, and I sat outside and simply waited. I started thinking about how I feel that all aspects of running a baseball team are important, but I wasn’t going to just throw around my resume like free lollipops at a doctor’s office. I planned my attack: look for internships (obviously), specifically involving baseball operations or talent evaluation. I understand the importance of getting your foot in the door, but I don’t want to end up with an internship that I won’t enjoy. My dream internship would probably be to shadow a GM of a Major League club over the summer, but as far as I’m concerned that type of position isn’t offered here. I can’t do a year round or six-month position, because I need to be back at school and honor my commitment to the baseball team. This limited my selections. Usually I spend the summer playing summer ball, trying to sharpen my baseball skills. But this summer, I plan to try and balance both and internship while also playing summer ball. After reviewing the postings for about thirty minutes, I found one internship that interested me. I dropped my resume in the box, and left the job fair ecstatic that I just applied for my first ever position in the “baseball world.” I started walking down the hall from the Swan Resort over to the lobby of the Dolphin Resort. As sat down in the lobby to just take in the atmosphere, I remembered I was in the middle of an essay and I had five more pages to write.
There will be much more to come from Alex — and all of our job-seekers — throughout the week! Check back early, and check back often.