They say be careful what you wish for… and they were so right.
When I decided I wanted to pursue a career in sports, I had no idea I’d be making the biggest, most stressful mistake of my life.
It all seemed awesome. If I was lucky enough to land a career in professional sports, I’d be set. Everything about my plan seemed fool-proof. I would get to tell people I worked for the MLB or the NFL and move my way up to the top over my career. #coolestjobever. Or at least that’s what I thought.
When I graduated from college, I realized how bad the job market actually was. The number of applications I sent and interviews I went on combined, totaled well over 100. Life smacked me in the face real hard. I was starting to understand why people with Master’s Degrees were still bartending. It was extremely hard not to get discourage, especially when you have hopes as high and unrealistic as mine were.
In my search I came across a position with the NHL- a long shot, I know- but I figured nothing else was working out so why not give it a try. I nearly fell off my chair 4 months later when the NHL team I had applied to called me in for an interview. Then pretty much had a heart attack when they called me a week after that to tell me I had gotten the job.
There I was, 6 months out of college and just landed a killer job with an NHL team. Maybe I was going to get exactly what I wanted after all…
Everything about the job seemed cool at first. Perks were pretty awesome, on game day they catered food for everyone. The environment seemed to be laid back for the most part, then reality hit.
I was a glorified telemarkter, without the glory.
On the phones every morning by 8:30 calling a minimum of 80 people a day. First of all, it’s 2016. No one actually answers, or for that matter has a house phone anymore. I’d leave message after message trying to get the people to call us back to hear about the newest, “promotion”, we had going on, but no one really cared.
People have all sorts of ways to buy tickets today. The market is oversaturated with options of how to get last minute seats to the game. We really couldn’t compare to the pre-game deals. Everyday felt like Groundhog’s day.
I was annoying myself. Over and over again calling the same people trying to be as nice as possible before they slammed the phone in my face. This was why I paid 70k for an education? To get hung up on? I had to be doing something wrong.
60 hour work weeks were normal.
Normal hours were 8:30-5:30, although if you left at exactly 5:30 you were looked at as if you were doing something wrong. We were constantly told to stay late so that we could reach people at different times; forget the hour commute to and from work.
Game days were even worse. In at 8:15 out by, nine? Maybe even ten? Home by eleven if you were lucky. Weekends weren’t safe either. You could easily put in an additional 5-7 hours in on a Saturday or Sunday if there was an event or game going on.
Oh- and did I mention there’s no such thing as getting paid overtime in sports? After 40 hours, you are pretty much working for free.
It started to seem like I was never home. Misery was the only mood I knew. My life had been taken over and my dream job was making me anything but happy.
The pay was laughable.
No, I wasn’t expecting to walk into my first job making 50k off the bat, but 35 would have been nice. Maybe even 30k? After taxes, I was lucky if I was making 20k a year. They said you were suppose to make up the rest of your income in “commission”, except the commission structure was an absolute joke. One month I made $5,100 in sales and my total commission for the month was $28.00
Twenty-eight F*cking Dollars.
My buyers had a payment plan, therefore I got paid a little bit each month. I was barely making enough to live- and I was still living at home. I know you have to climb your way up and all, but I needed a second job because my first one- which was the hours of two- didn’t pay enough. It was ridiculous.
The career path was unpromising.
You could move up in the company, but there wasn’t much reward. Your raises were in 5k intervals and unless you were one of the 5 people who actually made sales, you weren’t ever going to move up. If I was lucky enough to get promoted twice over the next two years, I’d still be only making 35k, “plus commission”.
My choice in career was a total fail
For a while I thought it was just me, then people started dropping like flies. Everyday another person gave their notice and walked out of the office. They say sports has a high turn over rate, and it’s easy to see why.
Sure, some people have the gift of gab and can make magic happen over the phone, but that’s only if you can:
Get the people on the phone
Get them to listen to your long enough to hear why you’re calling
Don’t get hung up on
I lasted about 4 months before I told my manager I was done. My name was added to the list of many others who just couldn’t waste another day of their life working in sports.
Some people can handle making no money, being a telemarketer and sitting behind a desk 10 hours a day staring at a list of numbers; I couldn’t.
If you choose to give a career in sports a shot, I wish you all the best. My dream job turned out to be my biggest nightmare. From this day on, the only way I’ll ever be at another game is with my ass in the seat and a beer in my hand.