How do you deal with rejection and disappointment? Sadly, I eat. Snacks mostly. Sweet ones. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my absolute favorite—and I shouldn’t be eating them, not often anyway.
If you’re a play-by-play announcer, you likely know the feeling of rejection in the broadcast world (which in many cases is trivial to many other types of rejection—not trying to minimize those, but only looking at things from this perspective for purposes of this article)—and if not, there’s a good chance that you will at some point. Rejection comes in many forms—not getting a gig that you wanted, or seeing negative comments on Twitter as examples. And don’t get me started by saying that we shouldn’t be looking on Twitter or other social media outlets to read up on yourself—most of us clearly do!
I’ve been fortunate over the years in the sense that when I’ve had an opportunity to interview for a broadcast position, to really be in the hunt from the outset, I generally receive an offer. Luckily, in most of those cases, there wasn’t an advertised opening, and I took advantage of my referral network, or in the case of my current freelance gig as an NWHL play-by-play voice, I simply sent an email and offered up my services. A great working relationship was born through just a simple note, and I’m excited to be starting my 3rd season with them next week!
Getting to that point though is a different story—I have buckets of rejection stories to share. From form letters or emails to no response at all, I’m sure I’ve applied for well over 100 jobs that didn’t get past that stage. Very early in my career I once received a handwritten note for a Producer’s job that said “You’re not good enough.”
And generally those aren’t a big deal, even that tersely worded note—you cast a wide net and hope for the best. But as I get older, and my window for top level opportunities seems to be closing, my bitterness over being overlooked has seemed to intensify.
Take into consideration a couple of off-season openings that I had a keen interest in, a pair of play-by-play positions that I was highly qualified for and didn’t get past the early stages. Long story short, both positions were filled by talented announcers. In one case, I would’ve had difficulty overcoming their referral network-a lot of heavy hitters in his corner. In the other case, the recently hired voice had a ton of experience and more than paid his dues. It also didn’t hurt that he was in another major market.
While the person hired for that latter job certainly was well qualified, I believed that my work was on-par with his, along with the other finalists—especially the other finalists. I’m sure that’s why this one stung as much as it did, which is probably what led me to the candy aisle this week. Not the first time, but I’m really hoping it’s the last.
To close, I do not have any misconception that I’ll avoid broadcast career rejection again—that only would happen should I choose to stop broadcasting, which at least for now, isn’t something I am looking to do. I am however, looking for better ways to channel my disappointment, which is why I would love for you to comment and share your stories, either below or on Twitter. More importantly, I would love to hear how you cope with career disappointment, in the hopes that I can find a more effective method of handling things without stuffing my face!