I suspect we have all wanted to do this at some point.
by Barry Petchesky
Taylor Grey Meyer estimates that she applied for a job with the San Diego Padres at least 30 times since moving to Coronado, Calif. Initially, in the sales office; but as she was alternately rejected and ignored, she lowered her sights. This past March, she applied for a minimum-wage job selling tickets at Petco Park. This is what she heard back:
We want to thank you for your interest in the above mentioned position. We had many fine applicants for the position, including you. However, we have filled the position with someone whose background and credentials we feel best meet our needs at this time. We welcome you to apply for any future positions we have available that match your skills and experience.
The Hiring Manager for the “Ticket Seller – San Diego Padres (San Diego, CA)”
MLB Baseball Jobs
That was that. She gave up on the Padres, and gave up on ever hearing from them again, until this past Sunday morning, when this showed up in Meyer’s inbox, from a manager in the sales office:
On Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 10:09 AM, <[Redacted]@padres.com> wrote
I wanted to reach out to you as you had previously applied for a position here with the Padres to join our Inside Sales Program. While it may not have been a fit at the time, we appreciate your interest in the position and encourage you to pursue your dream of working in professional sports.
With that being said, I wanted to make sure you are aware of an opportunity to get your start and to pursue a career in sports. Dr. Bill Sutton, author of Sports Marketing, has asked our organization to host the Sports Sales Combine here at Petco Park on September 14-15. It will be the first ever West Coast Combine! As a Combine attendee you would have the opportunity to spend quality time with the hiring managers for multiple teams from different leagues across the country.
Job seekers like you have found this to be the most authentic training and networking experience available. The sales managers who join us claim the Combine is the best recruiting tool for them. Having been to multiple combines myself, and hired numerous people from the events, I could think of NO better way to get a start in the sport industry. This event could change your whole career. I know it changed the lives of some of my staff.
Please note that this is NOT a job fair where participants spend a few minutes speaking with prospective employers. Over the two-day event, participants receive high-quality, one-on-one training from attending sales coaches and several unique opportunities to demonstrate their skills in addition to the hours spent with attending managers. You will have a chance to showcase your sales leadership skills as well.
We anticipate attending sales managers will be looking to fill 50+ jobs at the Combine. Teams from the MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, MLS and college athletics all use the combine as a key source to find talent for their organizations. This is your chance to make an impression on ALL of them in one weekend. Also, what better place to network and learn for a weekend than San Diego, CA?
Taylor, as we look for the best young talent from across the country we wanted to make sure you were aware of the opportunity. You can find the combine application at Teamwork Online through the link below. I’ve also included a link to the Sports Sales Combine website.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me should you have any questions about this special event.
All the Best,
The Sales Combine is just what it sounds like: a job fair, the chance to join thousands of other applicants for five minutes of face time with potential employers. All for the low, low price of $495. Here’s what Meyer wrote back:
On Sun, Aug 5, 2012 at 11:56 AM, Taylor Grey Meyer <[Redacted]@gmail.com> wrote
I wanted to thank you for reaching out to me when thinking of ways to meet your quota for the Sports Sales Combine.
After careful review I must decline. I realize I may be burning a bridge here, but in the spirit of reciprocity, I would like to extend you a counter-offer to suck my dick. Clearly, I don’t have one of these, so my offer makes about as much sense as yours. But for the price you’re charging to attend the event, I’m sure I would have no problem borrowing one.
Managers like you have found this to be the most authentic training available. Real, hands-on experience getting you on your way to perfecting the techniques you will need to climb the corporate ladder. In these tough economic times, it’s always good to widen your skill set.
Let’s talk about why I wasn’t a good fit with your organization. Was it my extensive education that made me less of a fit, that now paying $500 will allow me to overcome? My graduate work in sports commerce? Being a law student, working toward becoming an agent? Was it my past experience overseeing the execution of national and international events? Wait, I know, maybe it was my previous internship with Major League Soccer, and that I actually got my “start” in professional sports at the age of 15 when I volunteered at a minor league ballpark in my hometown. And given all that, I chose to apply with the Padres, at least 30 times since moving to San Diego. Persevering through countless anonymous email rejections, I continued to submit my resume despite never even being granted the courtesy of a face-to-face interview. All for the joy of making $30K a year. Maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m not the best fit for your company. But here’s a nice fit, my foot in your ass.
All the best,
“Taylor’s letter was too incredible for anyone to get offended,” says a member of the Padres sales team who didn’t want their name used. “I’m more impressed than angry.”
You know how these things work. Someone in the office forwarded it to a colleague. That colleague forwarded it to a few of their colleagues. Four days later, Meyer’s letter has been shared in sales offices across pro sports, with each forwarder adding their two cents.
“This should be a tutorial on how NOT to network,” warned one NFL employee. “She has clearly ruined chances with most professional sports teams at this point.”
“Our top guy has been talking for 5 minutes straight how he wants to hire her,” joked one person with an AFL team. “I am going to shoot her an email. I love when people shake shit up.”
“One of the all time hall of fame moves,” wrote an employee in an AHL office. “I told Gordo to hire her tomorrow.”
Just looking at the forwards on the chain that eventually made it to us, Meyer’s letter has been seen by, in order: the Cavaliers, the Lake Erie Monsters, the Diamondbacks, the Yankees, the Astros, the Bobcats, the Heat, the Houston Dynamo, the Marlins, the Dolphins, the Red Sox, the Cubs, the Mets, FC Dallas, the Nationals, the Orioles, the Falcons, the Vikings, the Bengals, the Cleveland Gladiators, the Dayton Dragons, and the Chiefs.
Meyer has heard from a number of folks who have read her letter, and their responses shake out one of two ways.
“People either think I’m an idiot who is finished in pro sports,” she says, “but really, I never even had a chance to get started. Or they take it how it was meant to be read, as a fed-up letter by an overqualified applicant who is exhausted from applying to jobs and constantly being rejected.”
Meyer, 31, says she has been out of work for 10 months, and dropped out of law school in July because the loans simply weren’t enough to live on. She’s been sleeping on a friend’s couch since then, and applied to fast food restaurants and chain stores, only to be told she’s overqualified. (Perhaps her BA in psychology, from the University of South Florida, doesn’t help, though she claims she’s an internship shy of a master’s degree in sport and leisure commerce.) The Padres’ invitation to the job fair was just the last straw.
She’s amazed at the responses she’s received from around the sports world, all from one angry, possibly ill-advised email.
“A few years ago I wrote a children’s book to raise money for pediatric cancer,” Meyer says. (That book is available at her website.) “I partnered with the American Cancer Society for a fundraiser and no one gave me the time of day. It took me one year to finish and about $1000 out-of-pocket in addition to all the time. Then a few days ago, I wake up, check my email, draft a response in 15 minutes and it goes national. Kind of sad actually.”
Meyer knows she’s burned her bridges with the Padres, and possibly screwed her chances elsewhere, depending on how they take her letter. But while she acknowledges she was “being an asshole,” she doesn’t regret sending it. And perhaps, on balance, it wasn’t the worst move in the world. Meyer has already received one note from a sales office, asking her if she’d like to come in for an interview.