When I made the decision to bet on myself by leaving a stable small market job and move to the Twin Cities, I knew it was unlikely to go smoothly from the start. I expected challenges and difficulties along the way, but it’s hard to really know what that means until reality reaches up and slaps you in the face. I don’t say this because I’m regretting my decision, just realizing that it’s unlikely to be a short road to success and at times will be very challenging
I haven’t had to look for a job from a position of unemployment since I graduated from college ten years ago. At that time I got really lucky that a random connection referred me my first job. Things are different now! I’ve been officially moved into my place in the Twin Cities for about two weeks, and it seems unlikely that lightning will strike twice.
With that in mind I’ve had to learn to treat finding a job like a job. It’s really tempting to treat my time as an unemployed broadcaster like a vacation. If I want, I can sleep in, binge-watch series on Netflix, and generally be unproductive. However, my goal is to get my foot in the door with a team or station as soon as possible, and that means working every day towards that goal, job or not. Here are the steps I’m currently taking to treat finding a job like a job.
To Do Lists: Every night before I go to bed I sit down with a pen and paper and scribble down what needs to be done the next day. I write down things like: Who can I reach out to and try to build a networking relationship with tomorrow? What can I do to try and develop side hustles? Or What can I do to make my wife’s life easier since she’s paying most of our bills right now? It’s been proven by research that successful people make lists, and it’s an easy way to hold myself accountable. If I look back at my list and realize that I didn’t get much done, it’s a reminder to re-focus the next day and make sure I’m doing what needs to be done to reach my goals.
Networking: I always believe in making the building of professional relationships a priority, but right now the importance of getting to know people in the market is especially paramount. I try to send emails, texts, and phone calls to broadcasters both in and out of the market every day. I’m not only trying to get to know the people at the top of the business, but also trying to make friends with others on the way up. I don’t know who will be able to help me, but the wider the net, the better chance to catch a fish!
Getting Healthy: This won’t apply to everyone, but over the years with the demands of a busy sportscasting schedule, I’ve developed abysmal health and nutrition habits. Right now I have no excuses, and I’m trying to use the extra time to make sure I’m getting daily exercise and building healthy eating habits. I’ve already seen some positive results in this phase of my life, and I need to really focus on continuing the progress when I get back into a sportscasting groove.
Getting Back To The Blueprint: Focusing on improvement is crucial, whether I have work or not. Frankly, this is an area that I’ve let slip over the last year. I’ve gotten away from doing my daily Blueprint to Broadcasting Success activities and need to re-focus and make sure that I am not complacent. I’ve become a good broadcaster, but my goal is to become a great one! Even if I have limited opportunity for live game reps, there is no more important time than now to work on my craft and become a more polished broadcaster.
Be Patient: Maybe the most difficult part of this process is knowing that there are positive things in motion, but that they’re moving painfully slow. In mid-July, I met with a local pro-level broadcaster, and the meeting went great. When we were done talking, he suggested that I apply for a low-level position in their organization, but he said it wouldn’t be posted until sometime between mid-August and early September. I’m still absolutely going to apply for the position, but in the meantime, I’ve had to figure out how to pay the bills while I wait. I constantly remind myself that while this is extremely important to me, the reality is that helping me break into the market is not high on anyone else’s priority list, nor should it be. Patience is a virtue, and patient is what I have to continue being.
It hasn’t all been doom and gloom as I continue down this path. I’ve picked up some freelance play-by-play work that starts next week. I’m going to do public address for a local high school soccer team! And I’ve been able to get interviews for some non-sportscasting jobs that hopefully will help me get by financially in the short term. I’ve also been able to get meetings, or the promise of a future meeting, with many of the movers and shakers in the MSP market. Things aren’t moving fast, but the day-to-day grind of treating being unemployed like a job is my best chance for a happy ending in this tale.
What did you do during times of unemployment to help find work? Share your thoughts or stories in the comment section below!