What it takes to work in sports

There are some harsh realities about working in sports that are overlooked by those dying to make a career of it. Jack Bechta

Print This June 26, 2013, 05:30 AM EST

Not as fun as it looks: Sports jobs always look like fun from the outside looking in. The truth of the matter is it can be a really insecure business. With so many others wanting your job, your clients, your accounts, and/or your desk, you can never take your foot off the gas. EVER! So rarely do you see people in sports go off the grid or take long vacations. Go to dinner with a sports executive and I promise you that he/she will check their phone ten times during the meal.

Be ready to do a lot of hard work when nobody is looking. Any good job in sports is highly competitive. I have over seven hundred NFL agents I have to compete against every day. If I travel abroad for a vacation, I stay connected with my clients and I will usually come back with an eye-popping four-figure cell phone bill.

Just so I am not the voice of doom or the dream crusher, I do believe many jobs will go to those who want them the most. And those willing to sacrifice the most to get them and keep them. Just be realistic about the prospect of actually landing your dream job. But GO FOR IT!

Here are a few tips to ponder while searching for your dream job:

Be leery of expensive on-line courses or programs that make big promises of helping you land a job sports. Many of these instructors have never actually done it themselves. Do your homework before you buy.

Outside of paying your dues early on, be sure to match the lifestyle you want with the lifestyle demands of the job you are seeking. You may want to work for the Dallas Cowboys and interact with people, players and coaches. However, your job may require you to be working in a windowless room in a cubicle, cold calling for new season ticket holders.

The best way to break into the game is to package yourself as an unpaid value added intern. Show a potential employer how you can help bring value to the bottom line. Whether it’s saving time or money, producing revenue, providing a unique service, and/or doing special research or projects, show what is special about your personality and skill set that will make your potential employer take notice.

Learn to think outside the box. Not all the best jobs are with teams, agencies and sports marketing companies. Be entrepreneurial in your thinking. There are thousands of small, unknown companies working on the perimeter of the sports world. They are all around you at a sporting event but you have to look deeper to see and find them.

I met a guy once in the early nineties who used to sell a simple ticket sleeve that went around your neck that cost him under forty cents to make and ship. He sold hundreds of thousands per year to travel agencies, concession vendors, colleges, and NCAA bowl and tournament games. Just for fun, he personally used to sell them on the streets at the Final Four, Olympics and Super Bowl. The guy made several hundred thousand dollars a year, went to the biggest sporting events in the world and had more fun working in sports than anyone I ever met.

Chase your dream job, but do your homework and be realistic. And more importantly, don’t trade the things that are most important in life for a job where you may be just a widget.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

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