This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.
By: Nathan Werremeyer, @NWerremeyer
We’re all hired to perform a particular job at a particular company for an agreed amount of money. That’s how a typical employer-employee relationship works in the world today. People show up and punch a clock, do their work, lay low and re-punch the clock and head home when it rolls past 5pm. Well, if you’re wanting to have a “job” at any level of athletics, that’s never how a workday would be described for you; if you don’t already know that! If you’re on the outside looking in to the world of college/professional athletics and wanting to get in, we’ve got an abundance of advice you need to soak up and store in your head! Just as a disclaimer; working in this profession is never considered a “job”, it’s a commitment to a lifestyle.
What is meant by the title of this blog is much more than just helping out a little during your workday. It means wearing so many “hats” in your role now that you need to carry a coat rack around with you while you’re at work…. Meaning, whatever you’re hired to do, do more than what is outlined in your job description. You’ll gain massive amounts of experience you may not get by doing only what you were hired to do. By doing more, you’ll not only increase your overall knowledge of the business, you’ll also create meaningful lasting relationships along the way with your co-workers and especially with you superiors. At small schools, typically where a young professional will have their start at, athletic department personnel wear so many hats that the experience they gain is priceless and enhances them for the future! As the Assistant AD at my school, I’m not only the person that takes care of game set-up and in-game promotions, I’m also the guy taping the student-athletes’ ankles before the game! That’s right! My “official” title is Assistant Athletic Director and Head Athletic Trainer. My “unofficial” title includes: (but not limited too) PA announcer, game/event manager, security, Sports Information Director and some others I’m sure I’m leaving out at the moment. I do all of those for many reasons (to help the school and student-athletes, help bolster my resume) but the main reason is so that I can get my hands on as many areas as I can in college athletics so I can learn everything I possibly can to mold myself into a better Athletic Director. I will never learn the in’s and out’s of a successful athletic department if I don’t get my hands into all the important areas (compliance, development, academics, sports information, marketing, SA health and welfare). You can sit back and do only what your hired to do and be comfortable with it, but in this profession, you’ll never advance past what you’re doing now.
Along with wearing multiple “hats”, you need to network as much as you can like Katie eluded to in last week’s blog. You also need to educate yourself in as many areas as you can in the profession. What I mean by that is getting yourself out there attending conferences, workshops and getting involved not only on your own campus but in organizations nationwide! I am told all the time by my mentors that being involved on your campus will provide you with knowledge and relationships that you can never get from books or seminars. The athletic department’s goals are always a part of your overall institutions goals of making the educational experience one that is memorable and beneficial to their future. The ENTIRE campus is working towards that same goal so you need not forget that and get across campus and involved in committees and forums as much as possible. The more involved you are on your campus and in surrounding areas, the more a potential employer will see just how devoted and passionate you are about your personal and professional development. It shows them that you’re not looking for just a “job”, you’re looking for a career. Without those types of involvements, you’ll never advance past where you are now. So if you’re not willing to go the extra mile and get involved, I hope you’re quite comfortable where you are now! If you are willing, great! Get involved on your campus and in organizations that interest you and learn something new EVERYDAY! The saying is true, “knowledge is power!”