This Free Agency period is kind of killing me. I've been asking for [and not so much asking for but still receiving] a lot of advice on my current career struggles. I'm at what appears to be a turning point in my life and I honestly don't know which way to go. I can safely say I've never felt this lost or disoriented in my entire life. I've always known what my 5 year plan was. It was always "work in the community affairs department for the Atlanta Braves."
A lot of the advice I have received lately has been to get out of sports all together, which terrifies me. Not because I think working in baseball is the only thing I'm good at [but sometimes that is what I think] but because I've worked so hard to get to where I was this time last year. I climbed the ranks, I put in the intern time, I worked hundred hour weeks for months at a time. I haven't taken a vacation since 2008. I haven't had holiday weekends off since I was a freshman in high school. I took a minimum wage, second job, where I'm actually losing money simply to stay involved in baseball. I've spent a small fortune on job fairs, job board subscriptions, and relocating for new opportunities.
I'm hearing a lot of "why don't you look for a marketing or communications position and then buy season tickets for baseball" or "you can always work gameday as a second job to stay in sports, but why don't you try a different position?" I have come to the conclusion that I would have to work in one of those modern marketing firms with beer in the fridge that takes ridiculous staff trips to food truck parks and baseball games because I am 100% not cut out for the 9-5 sitting in a lonely cube career. I'm sorry, I just can't do it. I've always had "going to work at the ballpark" to keep me afloat when it comes to the whole cubicle life.
I'm also terrified to lose the camaraderie. When you work 100 hours a week with a group of people you can't help but have them as your closest friends. I may be able to make friends with just about anyone, but I don't think I'd be able to make the kind of friends I've made working in baseball. They see you at your best and your worst. They understand why you need 28 cups of coffee on game 9 of the homestand. They have the same sleep schedules, they also pay special attention to how a different team does their promotions or sponsorship fulfillment. They'll tell you "our dizzy bat race is so much more entertaining than this relay thing."
I'm not sure if I'm ready to give up on my career in sports. I don't know if I can look at all of the work I've done and say "well, we had a good run, on to the next one." I don't know if I'm prepared to start all over from scratch. What if my experience doesn't translate and I have to start over as an unpaid intern again? Then how am I going to pay of my student loans for a degree in Sport Management? How long before I start to almost regret my time in California and Texas thinking "had I stayed one more year I would also have a degree in Business Management..." I'm not sure if I'm at a place where I can see a change as growing instead of quitting.