For most people on the outside, the sports industry looks like an awesome place to work. There’s always free food and time to hang out with celebrities; you get to watch sports all day long, and there are some pretty chill coworkers.
For anyone who’s worked in the sports industry, this is almost inaccurate.
After working 40- to 80-hour weeks through four years of college in sports, I can say that while it was the most challenging four years of my life, it was also the most rewarding.
I worked everything from stadium operations to marketing to communications. I worked for professional sports teams to small businesses to even spending time at the Olympics.
I may never go back into sports the way I had before, but working so many years in the industry was the best decision I ever made.
The sports industry takes such a heavy toll on a person. Anyone who lasts a lifetime has to have a dear, dying love for sports because no normal soul can possibly undergo the work it requires.
The sports industry is what made me the most resilient person I am.
Low pay taught me to be frugal.
Contrary to belief, the sports industry is not entirely made of money. There are very few people who make the millions of dollars seen on the news, most of those people being owners or athletes.
The most I ever made in sports was $10 an hour, and the rest of my work was minimum wage or no pay. Because of this, I learned to manage money wisely, which eventually allowed me to travel the world.
My bosses also made low wages; the most I had heard of was around $30,000. If you’re planning a career in sports, expect somewhere along that line starting.
Jobs are competitive, which made me work harder.
The job market is tough, but just because I was going for a degree didn’t automatically mean I would land a job. Unlike other industries, I had to be willing to work an extreme amount of hours to even get an unpaid job.
Because of this, my competitiveness in finding work increased, as did my ability to find other jobs. I got to work a lot of cool jobs because I had to severely hustle for them. Speaking of that…
I had to hustle hard.
No one gets hired in the sports industry by just applying. When I did get hired by just applying, it was by luck and good timing. My second job in professional sports happened after the NBA lockout, after they laid off everyone.
My first job in sports I got by literally emailing countless people just to ask for a job. My third job I got by meeting a hiring manager for a professional team.
The connections I made with the Olympics happened by literally flying to the Olympics in London and meeting everyone I could. Sports taught me to network like no other.
Long hours were normal, so an eight-hour workday was nothing.
If I couldn’t survive a 12-hour game day in sports, I wasn’t going to survive at all. In sports, an eight-hour workday was almost unheard of during the season.
I also worked four years in stadium operations, which mean a ton of game days.
I had to be part of the team to make sure 55,000 people were safe. Not an easy job! Now, working an eight-hour day for me is a piece of cake.
The egos were high, which forced me to get along with people.
For some reason, everyone who works in sports thinks they are some big deal (at least a good majority of them). If I wanted to get any work done, I had to either be very confrontational or learn to get along.
Every other industry I’ve worked in has been one or the other, not both.
Because of these egos, I learned pretty quickly how to manage the attitudes of other people. I’m still not great at it, but I’m certainly better at it than I used to be.
I learned how to manage my image.
Sports is all about image, mine or the team. One lesson I learned in sports communications is that I’m either going to try to make someone look good (most of the time) or bad through a story.
This applied to my personal life, as well. I’ve had a lot of people say good things about me and a lot of people spread awful rumors about me.
I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from sports and apply that to whatever I decide to do. If I can’t manage my own image, I certainly can’t be expected to manage anyone else’s.
I learned how to sell and market anything.
I come from an area where, to be honest, the sports teams are traditionally rough. In sports, there is no way to control the game (the product), making it difficult to market and sell it.
No one wants to buy a losing product. I learned the best techniques to sell and market a losing team, and by doing that, all sales jobs going forward have been simpler.
For anyone looking for a challenge or an interesting story to add to a résumé, I advise you to work in sports. It might be the biggest challenge one can face, but overall, the most rewarding career experience.
Read more: http://elitedaily.com/sports/7-ways-working-sports-made-resilient/856918/