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 kept a journal chronicling their employment-seeking experiences (meet them all HERE). In this installment, Kasey Decker (@KDSmoove) provides a post-Meetings update.
I was not excited about going to the Winter Meetings this year in a job-seeker capacity, but I was definitely going to make the best of it. I had been successful the first time I went and had high hopes for this year. I was completely confident that I would come back to Atlanta with a job offer.
Having worked in baseball in some way for the past eight seasons I had plenty of people to catch up with and I felt like I had a lot of potential for landing that ever-elusive “dream job.” I was not expecting the levels of frustration and disappointment that I encountered this year.
Ever the optimist, I treated it as a learning experience. I made the best of every opportunity, I submitted my resume for jobs outside of my comfort zone, and I caught up with people who had helped me grow in my career. Although I did not have the days full of interviews from my first Job Fair trip, I took it as a sign to build and strengthen professional connections outside of the interview room.
I learned that while the Job Fair is teeming with opportunities for those looking to get started in baseball, it’s very tough for someone with a fair amount of experience looking for more than an internship. If someone were to ask me if I thought the experience was worthwhile for someone trying to start his or her career, I would absolutely recommend it. If that person were to tell me that they were looking for a full time, forever job, I would be more wary.
I wrote about that elusive job I was confident that I was ideal for, that I was doing everything in my power to prove that I was the best candidate for, and I did do everything in my power. It turns out I wasn’t the candidate that they were looking for, but I won’t let that discourage me. I probably would not have received advice on continuing my career and an upfront answer as to why I wasn’t the right candidate had I not gone to the Winter Meetings and found out exactly who to contact regarding that position.
All in all, the PBEO Job Fair gave me access to networking opportunities and a chance to get my name out there. Also, this blogging experience gave me the opportunity to make a friend in fellow job seeker Meredith Perri that I probably otherwise would not have met. I have confidence that I will do well in the baseball world; it’s just going to take patience to find that right fit.
Thanks to Kasey for sharing her experiences throughout the Winter Meetings. Her knowledge of and passion for Minor League Baseball is made immediately evident through her writing; I (and I’m sure many others) are rooting for her to one day snag that ever-elusive “dream job.”
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, her fourth installment, Kasey Decker overcomes a sluggish start and stays the course amid continued uncertainty.
So this blog entry is coming to you directly from gate 105 in the Orlando airport. The down time at the gate gives me plenty of time to collect my thoughts from the last day of my job seeking adventure. I’m a little sad that we have reached the end of this journey.
Wednesday got off to a rocky start because I simply could not get my act together. I blame the hotel’s lack of free coffee and continental breakfast. I somehow managed to make it to the workroom before my interview and even had a chance to grab a cup of coffee. I think it’s safe to say that today was a very frustrating day for most of us who didn’t have finals to get back to (looking at you, Meredith!) because there was very little change in the scheduled interviews. I’d take the “hurry up and wait” day over absolutely no change any day.
Around 3:30 we officially learned that there would be no more interviews scheduled, aside from those that were currently posted. Taking that as a sign, we headed back into the Dolphin portion of the hotel for some prime people watching and reminiscing before going our separate ways. Today felt like the very last day of summer camp where everyone exchanges hugs and friendship bracelets, promises to stay in touch, and we all laugh over the ridiculous stories we’re heading home with.
I hate to disappoint anyone hoping to read about how I arrived to find that I had landed the interview for the dream job and rocked that interview – but that just wasn’t the case. I monitored the interview boards, shot off a couple of e-mails, and tried everything in my control to find out the status of this position. I am operating 100% under the cliché “no news is good news.” As long as I haven’t heard that the position has been filled with another candidate, I will continue to work towards it.
I may not be heading back to Atlanta giddy with the promise of a new adventure and my dream job, but I’m not boarding this plane empty-handed either. I made new friends, reconnected with former friends and colleagues, and gained an incredibly detailed understanding of exactly how rental cars work (there are a lot of tricks that you should know about…) I wouldn’t trade my experiences at the PBEO Job Fairs and Winter Meetings for anything. I feel that I should probably stop here before I get too nostalgic and sappy.
And stop here she did. We’ll hear from Kasey one more time, later in the month, with an update on how this has all panned out. In the meantime, on behalf of all who read her journals this week: thank you!
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, her third installment, Kasey Decker learns to relax while still keeping her eyes on the prize.
Tuesday was definitely a completely different animal than Monday. Everyone has realized the odds of any interviews being posted promptly at 9:00 am are slim and the workroom is a little more relaxed. Relaxed enough even for the group I was with to knock out the USA Today crossword puzzle while we’re waiting to hear about postings or for interviews. The lack of readily available WiFi for those of us not staying in the hotel has caused us to be more creative.
While meandering through the trade show on Monday, Meredith and I had a chance to meet the professor from Lynn University and he mentioned that we should stop back by today because Ben Hill was going to stop by and speak to his group of students. We managed to make our way back to that booth just in time to catch most of the Q&A ranging from how to toe the line between appropriate and inappropriate promotions to how one would go about purchasing a Minor League team and renaming it.
Following getting three of the four Job Seeking Journalers in one place, I headed back to the workroom to check for my dream interview (it still wasn’t there, in case you were wondering…). I have been relying heavily on all of the positives of this trip to keep from stressing over the negative – that I haven’t been offered the interview I came down here to obtain. I have one more day of potential interview time and I’m hoping the thought process was to save the best for last.
At 5:00 pm, one of the women working the job fair came into the workroom and announced that all of the interview times that would be posted had been posted and that if we were not waiting for interviews, we should leave. As a group, we definitely appreciated hearing that it was okay to head upstairs for a much needed happy hour. I was even contacted during the happy hour to schedule my first interview of the meetings!
I may not have as many people recognize me from this blog as Meredith seems to, but during happy hour I was definitely called out for my opinions on networking outside of the job fair. I stand by that statement and I had more fun meeting people in the over-packed lobby than I did sitting at a table in the workroom. The day definitely goes down in the books as a success and I’m looking forward to hopefully my last day ever as a job seeker Winter Meetings.
Will Kasey land that elusive dream job interview? Stay tuned tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!
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, her second installment, Kasey Decker re-connects with old friends and makes new ones as well.
The second day of the Job Fair, in my opinion, is the oddest of the whole trip. It’s this “hurry up and wait” day, constantly checking the interview boards. I knew the interviews wouldn’t be posted promptly at 9:30 am, but I had a feeling that I needed to be at the hotel by that time. I just had a gut feeling that Monday was going to be a good day for me.
As soon as I walked into the job posting room, I noticed the position I had been hoping to find here was posted, and nearly tackled a few job seekers rushing to turn in my resume. Of course the jobs I applied for didn’t post their interview sheets the entire day, so the waiting continues on Tuesday.
I was too anxious to sit in the workroom and watch the boards all day, so I explored the rest of the hotel and boardwalk. I even ran into fellow Job Seeking Journaler Meredith and we ended up sticking together the rest of the day and evening. My advice to everyone who asks about what to do is always to make new friends, and that’s exactly what we did. We joined a few other job seekers back in the workroom and then made our way to the Trade Show.
I’m a pretty big fan of the Trade Show because it gives an insight into what new things we’ll see around ballparks in the next season (the free beer is pretty nice too). Most of the vendors are friendly to the job seekers, hoping that we’ll remember them when we have the purchasing power. We browsed for a while before heading to the ESPN Club for dinner. The ESPN Club is a tricky place to get a table but we managed to get there at exactly the right time and requested that our table be located near power outlets (those are surprisingly sparse in the workroom…)
After dinner we walked back towards the Dolphin and joined what appeared to be every single person attending the Meetings in the hotel bar. Those are the networking situations I prefer, where everyone is a little more relaxed and I’m not labeled a “job-seeker” but a “colleague.” I’ve noticed there’s a little bit of a stigma towards the job seekers because some of us are a little too aggressive when asking for career advice. Obviously those job seekers didn’t hear [Atlanta Braves director of human resources] Lara [Juras] on Sunday during the workshop…
Day Two may not sound like much on paper, but I know that I was able to strengthen some old connections and make new ones in a low-pressure environment. Hopefully Day Three has interviews and opportunities for me to get in front of the right people and less time spent waiting in the workroom.
Will Kasey land an interview, or shall this interminable waiting game continue? Stay tuned for another installment tomorrow…
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, Kasey Decker arrives in Orlando older, wiser, and ready to launch the next phase of her career.
I’m not going to lie to you: I had really high expectations for the first day of Winter Meetings. The last time I was in Orlando, I was that bright-eyed job seeker, weeks from my college graduation, and eager to please. I arrived a day early to Orlando so I could get my bearings and be my best self for the “first day of the rest of my life.” I hung on every word each individual speaker gave us and took notes like I was preparing for a final exam. My experience this year has, so far, been the polar opposite.
Being that I’ve now been “financially independent” for the past three years, I had to budget a little more carefully for my trip down here. Knowing that you do more networking in after-hours situations, I decided to save money by flying in early Sunday morning instead of Saturday. I would come to regret the decision to fly out at 6:30 am — you live, you learn.
Coming into the Business of Baseball seminar having sat through one already was also a new experience. First, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders president Rob Crain was also the host for my last seminar, so I had a hint of what I was in for. I also noticed more this time that every speaker harps on having been “right where you are” which is encouraging but frustrating for someone in my position. I have also been sitting in these seats before; I’ve heard all of the things you have to say; yet here I am in this very same seat again.
It’s not all negative; I realize this all sounds a little jaded. I have had the chance to network at the bar, catch up with colleagues I haven’t seen in a while, and take in the incredible event that is the Baseball Winter Meetings. I’ve even had job seekers ask me for advice once they realize I have been here before.
The advice and information given by Atlanta Braves director of human resources Lara Juras and Pawtucket Red Sox general sales manager Cookie Rojas during the Business of Baseball Seminar stood out the most to me. I realize that I may have a little bias, since Lara has helped me in my career, but she spoke to being self confident but not cocky. It is important to know yourself but also be aware of how others perceive you. Cookie focused on why his job was great and how “businesses that do good, do well.” Minor League Baseball as a whole focuses a lot of resources and energy on giving back to the community, and it reminded me that I’m here for all of the right reasons.
All in all, I would call day one of the Winter Meetings a success. I’ve even added “attending the Business of Baseball Workshop in a speaking capacity” to my 10-year plan. I’m looking forward to what tomorrow has to bring with interviews and more networking!
Kasey will be providing her “veteran” perspective throughout the week, as will her three fellow job-seeking journalers. This serialized saga has just begun!