Sometimes as an undergraduate student, graduate student, intern, or young professional, the best piece of advice you can get is the simplest. As I have moved along in my career, when it comes to working in college athletics, and more specifically event and facility operations, one of the greatest reminders for people looking to excel in this role is simple; be available. There are so many times over the course of a calendar year that people in my role get calls and e-mails during off hours, on weekends, etc. This is the nature of the position, in that you are dealing with coaches and administrators who’s schedules are also hectic and built around the standard work week. One of the easiest ways to prove yourself as you are jump starting your career is to be a a reliable source of help, especially when working with coaches.
Whether it’s something as small as a question regarding practice time, or as big as a facility issue that you cannot directly handle because you are not on site, the importance of being available to coaches and administrators is paramount. Allow them to access your cell, and when they call, answer. Obviously, you need to set a standard for yourself and maintain a healthy work-life balance, but the more coaches and administrators know they can count on you, the better off you’ll be.
With that being said, there are plenty of times where instances occur that you cannot resolve, or you may not know the answer to. Your willingness to work through those situations, and your availability in many cases is more important. It shows you are invested in your work, you’re willing to help above and beyond your time spent on site, and it builds a unique sense of trust with colleagues that can really go a long way. One of the most important things I realized early on was how much I truly needed to learn. So many aspects of facilities and event management are learned on the fly, and can’t truly be taught in an educational setting. Take it in stride, and do your best to accept the challenges that come with it.
Be Available: The best way to learn- take risks, asks questions, and to simplify, be there! Help out as much as possible, take on some of those more challenging tasks on your own, and learn through your own personal experiences. So many people in this industry start on that same level playing field, and the one’s who truly invest themselves in the school, the staff, and the betterment of the student-athletes are the ones that excel. Personally, I enjoy it. Much of this role and working in operations involves accommodating others, and when you realize how much time coaches invest in their craft, it makes the job a lot easier and more fun to take on. Surround yourself with people who want to help, who want to be there, and who want to make the department you work for a better place.