“Hi Brian, I love sports, I've been playing since I was 5...do you have any advice for what I should do for a sports job?”
I can’t sugarcoat it – I hate this question.
I don’t like being at a loss for words, or devoid of an opinion, because usually I have some semblance of intelligent thought I can provide…but in this instance, with this question, more often than not, I can’t.
Fear paralyzes me.
All I see myself doing is suggesting a sports career path - without really knowing the person, their skills, their wants, their desires – being dead wrong and leaving them thinking I’m some sort of moron.
Asking this important of a question to someone that doesn't know you sets you both up to fail…and yet it happens daily, which means I feel nauseous daily. (Sometimes I ignore them and hope they disappear, but since they don't and I'm kind of a glutton for punishment, I answer every...damn...time)
Alas, today was different, an answer was clear, so I felt compelled to write about it.
Tiffany emailed me (via our LinkedIn Sports Career Group) and asked a variation of the question I hate. But instead of nausea starting to percolate from in the inner recesses of my large intestine, an idea came to mind.
It was clear, it was obvious, and heck even if I’m dead wrong about this one there is no chance I’ll be a moron. So here goes, an official answer to the question I hate…well, at least this time.
Hi Brian, I read all of your articles and feel I have learned so much from you, even though I don’t know you I feel like you have become a trusted adviser of sorts.
I have a question I’m hoping you can help me with - I love the statistical angle of sports, but I also have a social side to me so I don’t envision being in a room crunching numbers and inputting spreadsheets all day.
I don’t necessarily see myself in the front office of a team, or as a scout, does anything else come to mind for you that would use my social skills and my statistical comfort?
Tiffany S, Branson, Missouri
Tiffany, thanks so much for the kind words, we put a lot of effort into the content we create so knowing that it is helpful means a great deal.
I get these kinds of questions often where someone says, ‘here are my basic skills and goals – what do you think I should do with them?’ Usually, they make me cringe because I don’t know the people well enough to give them career or life advice.
Thankfully in this case, an idea popped in my head immediately which makes the whole thing easier: Sports Information. (Find all of our jobs in sports information right here)
Let’s go through this step-by-step.
I think you are astute to realize your strengths and weaknesses. Understanding that you like sports statistics while also knowing you weren't meant for a front office or locked in a room processing data, puts you ahead of the game.
You have to know who you are, before you can know what to do in your career. (Damn, I like that, I may make that into a holiday card or something…or at least a click to tweet)
Moving on… I believe a career in Sports Information could be the perfect blend of your skills and desires. Here's what it encompasses:
A: Sports Statistics – One of the main roles of the Sports Information Department of any College or University is to disseminate statistical information to the local and national media. Their hope is to get additional knowledge about their program out in the media for coverage and publicity. (You like sports statistics - check!)
B: Social –Jobs in Sports Information requires attendance at sports events on campus and on the road – so by its very nature it’s broken the cubicle barrier and allows you to be out and about amongst the people. (You like people - check!)
C: Intellectual and Challenging – At most small schools the Sports Information department multi-tasks, also handling aspects of sports marketing, social media, media relations – some will even ask you to host local radio or TV shows. Even at large schools there is a wide range of skills you will be forced to call upon in order to thrive in the role. (You have skills (I think) - check!)
D: Relation Building – Good Sports Information Directors do more than just collect data, they interact with teams and build trusted relationships with coaches, managers and trainers – they are part of the in crowd. Outside the building they are also trying to craft the same relationships with local reporters, bloggers and writers. (You want to be social - check!)
I think I've nailed it with this one – if you want a career in sports statistics or analytics but without the nerd alert going on all around you (I kid! I’m a sports nerd too!) Sports Information could be your ticket to career satisfaction.
If you have any other thoughts for Tiffany, or a question for an upcoming Sports Jobs Q&A – fire away in the comments!
photo credit: IMG_2829 via photopin(license)
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