Have you ever thought about what your job description really says? Does it accurately reflect the work that you do and the value you provide? Certainly it takes some time to get acclimated to a new job and after a few months you are probably set in what your role is and how you make an impact. Then a few more months or years go by and, with the numerous changes happening constantly in sports business, you are probably doing something similar to what you signed up for but most likely different from what your job description has outlined.
My suggestion in today’s post is to pull out that old job description and review it for accuracy and detail. If you don’t think your “JD” aligns with what you’re doing in your current position, you ought to seek out your supervisor to have it updated as soon as possible or at least at your next performance review. Aside from any discussion of compensation, you and your boss should have a very clear understanding of what it is that you do on a daily basis and how that effort is moving the organization closer to its mission, vision and goals.
When I was working at Notre Dame I had the opportunity to sit down with my boss and adjust my own job description to more accurately reflect what I was actually doing. Having been in that same position for several years, I had taken on more responsibility and had become more efficient at the numerous tasks that surrounded me. It was a great learning experience to be a part of the human resources process of writing a new job description, getting it reviewed, amended and finally approved by the main human resources office on upper campus.
If you’re reading this, I encourage you to review your current job description and make any changes you and your boss see fit. If you’re a job seeker or currently on the lookout, this will make it much easier to tell someone else what it is that you do on a daily basis and makes resume writing go a bit more smoothly. If you liked this post, please follow me on Twitter and subscribe to my blog.
Before today’s post, I’d like to take a moment of prayer in regards to the situation in Boston this week. May those injured find peace in God’s healing grace.
I received this email last week from the New Orleans hornets and thought it was well worth sharing. The Hornets transformed a routine visit from a league professional into a revenue opportunity for their team. This visit from the NBA’s manager of referee development was moved from a routine evaluation of that night’s game officials into an opportunity for the Hornets to engage with a specific audience and in a unique way. The team was specifically targeting coaches and referees from the area with the dual purpose of engaging with those people on a professional level, as well as giving them some insider access and a game ticket to enjoy the sport they all love.
The reason why I bring this up is simple – when are you coaches hosting their own coaches clinics? Most college football teams probably do this in the spring or summer time, but it might be worth exploring other times of the year when something like this makes sense. How about your basketball or baseball teams? If ever you’ve got your league or conference managers coming in to observe, consider doing something like this for the coaches and referees in your area and providing group discounts for their teams. Or if you’ve got a professional team of the same sport in your market, one of their coaches or executives may be willing to step in to speak to your crowd.
Going a step further, consider hosting the conferences for the various affinity groups involved with other areas of your athletics program. You could have a local turf management conference on campus or letter winner’s conference or one of the many other professional associations come to your campus instead of going elsewhere. In addition to that, keep tabs on what is happening on your campus and stay up-to-date with the academic or professional conferences they have going on there – might be a good sales opportunity there.
Finally, don’t forget about related organizations in your community or at your own school. I know that here in Seattle there are several f0r-profit organizations that host their own recreational sports leagues (flag football, 3on3/5on5 basketball, etc.), so this might be something they would be interested in sending their own referees to; it is also possible that your university recreational sports department is looking for ways to develop their recreational league student officials, so just something to keep in mind. In this day and age where team administrators and executives are looking to maximize all possible revenue sources, these are more ways you can adjust something your teams are probably already doing to create even more benefits for your organizations bottom line.
I’ve blogged about this topic before, why sports are better live than on TV, here, but thought of another reason…TAILGATING! Something we in the ticket operations business talk about a lot with our season ticket holders is parking. You’ve secured your game ticket, now the next hurdle is actually getting to the game and planning the pre-game ritual. On the way in to work this morning I was actually listening to a podcast about ritual and what that means…in the sport spectator world, football rituals are very important to many fans. Part of that ritual that makes sports better live than on TV is tailgating. Sure you could try to have a party at home and try to throw the football around in the back yard, but it’s just not the same – you don’t get the smells, the sights, the journey of venturing from the pavement to the bleachers, the camaraderie that goes with high-fiving and hugging people you don’t even know.
Tailgating is one of my most favorite things to do before a game. For any die-hard college football fan, you know there are at least 6 or 7 Saturdays during the fall in which you do not plan anything else. The other weekends are away games and if you’re not on a plane to see your team, you are at a bar or at home with your TV because in this case you don’t have a choice. Also, your friends know not to schedule their weddings on the weekends of home games and your family knows exactly where you’ll be on Saturdays from September through the end of November. After all, this is your fall ritual – nobody bother me unless it’s important.
You get the to the stadium parking lot about 7am or 8am for an afternoon game or perhaps a little later for a night game and get the party started. You pull up to the spot you mapped out over the summer and set up your grill, tent, lawn chairs and coolers and claim your space on the campus for at least the next 12 hours. Next, you open up a box of donuts and chow down on some pre-made egg and potato burritos you made the night before. After that, it’s just chill time until more of your friends and family show up, throwing the football around and tossing a frisbee. You help the guy next you to set up his tailgate territory, that way you can try to hide the empty parking spot between your two vehicles, leaving more space for competition in the traditional tailgate party games.
If you really know how to tailgate and have the resources to do so, you’ve got at least a stereo hooked up, blasting old marching band remixes of the best songs of the last 30 years or maybe even a digital satellite and flat screen TV showing ESPN’s College Gameday or the early games from around the country and highlights from the Thursday and Friday night games. That’s somebody who really knows how to do it – tailgating!
Tailgating is one of the best parts of going to a game, especially football. I know fans tailgate for just about every sport there is, but at least in the US its most popular with college and professional football. When I was in graduate school, a few of my classmates did research papers on tailgating at major college football games. The findings were interesting, especially through an academic lens.
I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on this particular aspect of sports business and welcome any thoughts in the comments section below.
If this is your first time reading this blog, you might want to check out part 1, part 2 and part 3. This post will pick up where part 3 left off.
I started my professional experience at the University of Notre Dame in July 2007 under the title of Assistant Equipment Manager. In that role my job description and responsibilities changed over the 3+ years I was there, so I pulled out my most recent job description to write this post. The main duties involved were:
– Equipment room
– Student Managers Organization
– Game management
– Monogram Club
– Internal operations
“Equipment room” is a very brief way to describe the countless things I was responsible for as an equipment guy including inventory, shipping, receiving, ordering, planning, oversight and control in addition to interaction with both internal and external constituents as it related to anything having to do with equipment and/or apparel for our teams, coaches and athletes. This was the core function of my job, but one of the duties that drew me to the field of equipment management in general was the fact that I’d get to work with student managers and specifically at Notre Dame, the SMO. As a former manager myself, I was very excited to be on the supervisor end of that relationship and was ready to give back for all the great experiences I had as a student manager.
“Game management” at Notre Dame was a very unique responsibility. Because many of the other staff have been working there for so long, many aspects of the events on campus simply take care of themselves. My job was to make sure they had everything they needed, including access to the facilities in which we’d be working and higher level support in case anything went wrong. As the game day administrator for many of the Olympic sport events during my tenure, the two most stressful times were when we had to evacuate a hockey game during a tornado warning and when we thought we had a natural gas leak at a lacrosse game. If you ever want to hear more about those two situations, send me a message or leave me a comment below.
In terms of the Monogram Club, the letter winners organization at Notre Dame, I was responsible for all the various awards and their inventory, tracking, ordering, storage and distribution as well as the athletes who had earned, ordered and actually picked up their awards.
“Internal operations” was also something unique to my position at Notre Dame that perhaps other equipment or general athletics staff at other universities might not have on their radar. The Notre Dame equipment room was in many ways at the center of much of what was going on in the athletics department. Through personal history and relationships, as well as the physical location and responsibilities associated with the equipment, we were involved with many different aspects of the department, especially in terms of outreach and hospitality. When special guests were invited to campus (something that happened regularly during football season), we were often involved in setting up displays or putting together welcome packages for them upon arrival.
Something else I was fortunate enough to be a part of was to give private tours of Notre Dame Stadium (football) to special guests while also serving as the personal contact for visiting athletics directors on football game days. I knew enough about the history of the school, the team and the nuances that most people didn’t, I fit in easily in that role. In addition, as an equipment manager, I had access to most of the athletics facilities and enjoyed being the guy in the background, supporting the work of others and working toward the University’s goals and mission in alignment with its core values – something that cannot be understated and will be saved for a future blog post.
In closing, I loved my time as an equipment manager and am very grateful for the opportunities I had to pursue that line of work. If you ever want to know more, I’d be happy to talk about it more with you. Stay tuned for another post next week, right here on Bill’s Sports Business Blog.