Worst Roller Coaster Ride Ever

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*Editorial note. I started writing this a month ago and the title was a little different, but then I had two opportunities go deep into the interview process and a month-long freelancing gig. Well, the opportunities fell through and the freelancing gig ended. 

Seven months ago I was called into a conference room and told that I no longer had a job.

It’s not the first time this had happened to me, layoffs unfortunately happen, but it was slightly unexpected. Two weeks prior I was covering the NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles. In early January I was in Tampa for the National Championship. In December I was focused on SI’s Sportsperson of the Year event. A month before that I was interviewing for a promotion at work. A lot can change in three months, huh?  Anyway, back to that day in February, I had that terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach when my boss sent me a Slack message with no context asking me to come to a random conference room.

What happened next was like listening to the Peanuts teacher. I’m pretty sure I heard things like, “you’ve done a great job here,” and “thank you for your hard work and dedication”  What my now ex-boss was saying to me didn’t matter, I didn’t have a job anymore. Like any job, working at Sports Illustrated had its ups and downs, but I loved that I had the opportunity to work for a revered sports publication. A publication that I had been reading for as long as I could remember. I helped build their social presence with an ever-changing team. However, all of that was gone now. Like too many people, I became a modern day media statistic.

One thing I heard continuously after sharing my news was, “You won’t be out of a job long! Someone will snatch you up right away.”  Well, as I mentioned at the beginning of this, we recently hit the seven month mark. Seven months might not seem like a long time to most, but it really is. I miss going to work. I miss having a work family. I miss planning for events and content. I miss working with writers, editors, producers, athletes, etc.

I even miss meetings. WHAT?!

The past seven months have been an emotional roller coaster. I try to keep myself as busy as possible so I don’t find myself sitting on my couch feeling sorry for myself (Spoiler: It happens more often than I’d like to admit). It’s really difficult when you lose your job and know you did nothing wrong. Honestly, it sucks. But as I’ve said, I’ve kept myself busy. When I’m not applying for jobs, I try to get out of my apartment as much as possible. I’ll take a stroll around Central Park. Explore the city. See family. Spend time with friends. I take on freelance work whenever possible.

The hardest part has been the job application and interview process. It’s an emotionally draining job. One you don’t get paid for. You spend hours a day filling out online applications, tailoring your cover letters to what you think you the hiring manager wants to read and then you wait. You reach out to people in the industry who might know someone where you applied, but mostly you wait. You jump with anticipation when your phone rings with an unfamiliar number or an email drops into the primary tab in Gmail. Sometimes that email is only to tell you that the job you know you’re perfect for has been filled and you never even got a phone interview.

Then you finally receive an email that someone wants to set up a time for an in-person interview. YES! Do I be funny? Witty? Serious? What should I wear? Can I get away with a dress or should I wear a suit? How much time should I factor in for travel? Is the subway running without crazy delays? What did the interviewer think of me? Did they like me? Did I say all the right things or did they think I sounded like an idiot? You second guess every moment of the interview.  You know you have too.

Next up, the thank you email where you try to remember what you said to each person you met with to give the email a touch of a personal feel. You wait again.  Occasionally there’s more interviews, GREAT! Shampoo, rinse, repeat. Going deep into the interview process is when you start to get excited. You begin to imagine yourself working for this company. You plan how you’re going to get back on your feet. You begin to look at apartments if the job is in another state. You start thinking about the witty way you’ll tell social media that you’re finally gainfully employed again and how excited you are for the opportunity! Until you find out early one morning, or months later, or over a weekend that they’ve decided you’re not the right person for a job. That they’ve found someone who checks all their boxes. That they’ve decided to move in another direction. Sometimes you never hear back at all. This, my friends, is the most crushing part. The tears flow. You begin to question the whole process and ask when it’ll be your turn. Your friends and family say; “Well, it clearly wasn’t meant to be, and the perfect opportunity is right around the corner.”  This is what I’ve told myself numerous times since February.

Then you start all over again.

It’s a roller coaster, but we’re not at Six Flags, and I want off this ride.

It’s been seven months. I’m exhausted. All I want right now is to work somewhere where I am happy, where my work is appreciated, and where I’m paid enough to not have to freelance on the side. I don’t think I’m asking for much.

Now… who wants to #HireStef?

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Dad…

 

Dear Dad,

Thank you.

For encouraging me to follow my dreams.

For not telling me I should do something else when I was younger and told you that I wanted to be the color commentator (along with John Davidson) in the New York Rangers broadcast booth.

For being as excited as I was, if not more, when I got my first sports internship, my job at MLB, my job at Sports Illustrated, my first byline on SI.com.

For watching sports with me, even the ones you’re not too fond of.

For sharing your love of sports with me.

For having those in-depth sports conversations with me and admitting when I was right and you were wrong. For teaching me the basics and the intricacies.

For sending me all of those care packages of Sports Illustrated and the Sunday Sports Section while I was away at camp.

For letting me pick up Grandpa Morris for family dinners, once I was old enough to drive, so we could take a trip down Yankee memory lane and he could tell me stories. (I miss those.)

For taking me to Spring Training in Fort Lauderdale and Tampa where all we watched was batting practice and fielding drills for hours on end.

For encouraging me to write more, especially about sports.

For telling me how proud Grandpa would be if he could see what I wrote about our connection through the Yankees.

For the smile on your face when I get into deep sports conversations with men where you live and they have shock  on their but your face just says, “That’s my daughter!” And you tell them “I told you so.”

For telling me that I can do anything I want to do, if I put my heart and mind into it.

For taking me to see WWF for my 12th birthday.

For not telling me I can’t pursue a career in professional sports because I’m a woman.

You see Dad, I  have been lucky enough to have you, Jeff*, Grandpa Jack, Grandpa Morris, Uncle Arny and tons of male friends and colleagues encourage me every day of my life. But, there are men out there that actually don’t believe that women have a place in male sports beyond being cheerleaders. That we couldn’t possibly know all that they know because we’re women. They try to “mansplain” (enjoy the chuckle you’ll get out of that word) things to us when they think they know more than us. They call us nasty words and wish harmful things upon us because we have an opinion that differs from their’s. They say “Well, actually…” when we are speaking from personal and professional experience and they’re at home behind their computers.  They don’t question Mike Emrick’s place in the broadcast both, even though he has admittedly never played a day of hockey in his life. But, do question Jessica Mendoza’s place in the ESPN booth, even though she is an Olympic gold and silver medalist and 4-time First Team All-American in softball!  I could go on about the nastiness, but you get the idea.

So, again… THANK YOU, DAD. Thank you never telling me I couldn’t do what I love to do because I’m a woman.

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Love,
Stefanie

P.S. Mom.. I love you too. Thank you for all of your support.

*For those of you who don’t know, Jeff is my brother.

 

 

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Some Exciting News

I have some exciting news to share and I also need your help!

Earlier this month I started working with Mattingly Charities (yes, as in Don Mattingly). No, I’m not leaving Sports Illustrated, this is something additional, but an opportunity I couldn’t possibly turn down. I will be running all of the social for the organization, as well as keeping the website looking, as the kids say, on point.

Now, here’s where I need your help!  We want to get the word out about the relaunch of the website (it went live TODAY!), the very cool event that will be happening in Evansville, Indiana on December 3rd, and of course the social media pages.

Please follow/like our social pages and please tell your friends to do the same:
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

What’s Mattingly Charities? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Mattingly Baseball Charities has been created to serve underprivileged youth by supporting programs which promote baseball and softball participation in conjunction with other developmentally related activities. Mattingly Charities will provide funding and services and equipment for baseball, softball, and ultimately other sports, and related youth development activities, for the benefit of underprivileged youth, youth leagues, and social welfare and related organizations. 100% of the efforts of the organization will be focused on these activities.

Thanks in advance for your support!

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