#MySportsBizStart - Mackenzie Parker: "Take the leap of faith"

by Mackenzie Parker - Communications associate at minor league baseball | November 05, 2019

In October 2017, I was nearly halfway through my final year of college, and, for the first time in my life, clueless as to what was next for me. Everyone around me knew something about where they were headed. I felt alone, but I was going to figure it out. I knew I wanted to work in sports, but how was I supposed to get started? So, after some research and some asking around, I found Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities (PBEO®). It was advertising jobs in baseball (the sport I love) and a job fair in December (during winter break) in Orlando, Florida, at the annual Baseball Winter Meetings.

“Perfect,” I said. “I’m going.”

And I took the jump, a leap of faith.

Two months later, I walked into the Baseball Winter Meetings armed with the recommended 100 copies of my resume, a notebook and a positive outlook. Every day, I entered the Job Posting Room with my notebook and a pen in hand and took down the team, job number, title and category for each job for which I wanted to apply. Cameras aren’t allowed in the room (preserving the Job Fair’s exclusivity), so I took down as much information as I could for as many jobs as I could find that interested me. With more than 500 jobs in more than 20 different categories to sift through, I had options. I then headed to the Workroom, transferred the information I noted onto one resume per job, placed the resumes in the appropriate drop boxes, sent some emails presenting my case as a candidate, and hoped for the best. I evidently drew at least some interest, as I got phone calls and emails to set up interviews with several teams.

On the final day of the four-day job fair, I stuck around after an interview to take in one of the event’s many sessions in the Business of Baseball Workshop Series. While I was sitting there, the club representatives with whom I had just spoken walked up, gave me a business card and told me to keep in touch. I smiled, shook both of their hands, told them I would and thanked them again for their time. Around four hours later, I got a call from them formally offering me the job.

Let me tell you about this job, reader. This job was a seasonal internship with a Short Season Minor League Baseball team in Helena, Montana. The team was folding following the 2018 season to relocate, and for all I knew there was no opportunity for advancement. I was from Illinois, I had never lived outside of my hometown, and I didn’t have a day of professional baseball experience. Obviously, I took it.

“Perfect,” I said. “I’m going.”

I want to clarify here that this opportunity is far from identical to every opportunity presenting itself at the PBEO Job Fair. There are teams at every level of Minor League and Major League Baseball. They are in Montana, but they are also in Illinois, New York, California, Texas and many, many places in between. They are in broadcasting, sales, community relations, operations and nearly any department you can think of. Many teams do, in fact, hire their interns full-time following a season of excellent work. There are so many opportunities that to describe them all in one blog post would be a fool’s errand.

Not every job seeker’s journey will be like mine, nor should it be. But for me, this job was perfect. As I wasn’t graduating until that coming May, most of the full-season teams could not hire me because they needed staff in time for the season openers in early April, whereas Short Season teams did not need staff until late May. In addition to the logistics, I was someone who very much needed to leave my home. Where better to go than 1,400 miles from the plains of Illinois to the mountains of Montana?

When I say that the PBEO Job Fair was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life, I am not exaggerating. I was among hundreds of people I didn’t know, competing with them for a limited number of jobs for four days. I only had a few minutes to consider job descriptions before applying, and I had to prepare for, at times, several interviews in a day. Was it easy? Far from it. Was it worth it? Absolutely. From this unique experience, I secured my first job in an industry I love and – perhaps more importantly – I learned that I was capable of far more than I knew. This was my first step into self-discovery in the professional world, and I don’t for a second regret my decision to jet off to Orlando in search of the unknown, despite the challenges that came with it.

If any part of my story interests you, I highly recommend taking a leap of faith and registering for the PBEO Job Fair. Even if it’s not what you expect, you will at the very least learn something about yourself while creating a story to tell your friends along the way. If, in the last 900 words, I’ve convinced you to register for the PBEO Job Fair, head to PBEO.com to get started. If I haven’t, well, you should still head to PBEO.com to find out more.