The truth about working in athletics.

I grew up around sports. That’s why I knew when I was a freshman in high school that I wanted to work in the industry. My dad tried his hardest to convince me not to, and even after seeing the inter workings of front offices and athletic departments, there was nothing else I could picture myself doing.

Now that I’m older and I’ve been working in the field for a while, there are days when I ask myself “Why did I ever decide to do this?” It’s looks like such a great gig from the outside – being around professional athletes, going to all of these great sporting events for free – and it is great. I love it. But there are some things that people may not really know about working in athletics.

You will only hang out with people you work with. You’ll find that your Thanksgiving dinners and Sunday plans will include people from work because their lives are as crazy as yours. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people you like at work. Your schedules will pretty much be the same so you know you can hang out when you’re off. 

You will never truly have a “day off”. If you do, you will still be accessible by phone or email (and you better be available if the athletic department pays for your phone).

Don’t try to figure out your hourly pay – it will only make you sad. You will be working a massive amount (I can usually rake in 70-80 hours in a week depending on the event schedule). If you are on salary, you don’t want to know what your hourly rate is. Last time I checked mine, it was about $0.50 an hour. There’s no need to get all depressed when you still have 50 hours to work this week.

You will never really know what day it is. Last year, I went 7 weeks without a single day off. After two weeks, I forgot what weekends felt like and the only time I had an idea of what day it was was on Mondays when we had staff meetings.

You will have no food in your house because 90% of your meals will be at an arena or stadium. Luckily for us, they feed us on game day here. Unfortunately, if you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s pretty hard. My diet consists of Domino’s pizza, Jimmy John’s, and Roly Poly. All I have at home is crackers and Ramen noodles.

Good luck having a relationship. There’s not much I can add to that unless you’re brave enough to try for an office romance. Note: not all office romances are like Jim and Pam.

You gotta just roll with it. Plans will always change.Coaches and assistants and program coordinators can tell you “This is our schedule. It’s not going to change” all they want but it will. Sometimes several times a day. Meetings, events, practices, people, ideas. They all change. Being able to just go with what you’ve got and make running changes will make you or break you.

If you have any “truths” about athletics, sports, or life in general, send them to me!


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