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Sunday, 29 March 2015

Fear of Failure Week 8: Initiative

I never told this to anyone, but back in week 4 while I was trying to get in contact with Skip, Joel and Jarrod Walsh, I decided to send that email off to Nathan Davison (mentioned in week 3). I didn't think there could really be any harm, and I figured it would get the ball rolling.

I was so right.

Here's the email I sent:

Hi Mr Davison, my name’s Michael D’Agostino.

I’m writing because I spoke to your on-field announcer during the finals series last month. He said you’re the person to approach for anyone wanting a similar job. I’d love to join your organisation in a hosting/announcing capacity. Obviously not at the expense of anyone else’s job, but maybe as a backup for emergencies or a next-in-line if a current announcer leaves. I’ve included a link to my LinkedIn profile which details in the summary section exactly what my experience is with hosting and performing. I’d love to hear back from you so we can get better acquainted.
Congratulations on running such a hugely successful finals campaign. Despite the result, baseball is certainly gaining recognition in Australia and we have people like you to thank for it.

Thanks for your time,
Michael D’Agostino
I sent that and forgot about it. It was five whole days (the following Monday) before I heard a response. But sure enough, I was casually checking my emails when I saw one from "NDavison Re:Announcer". My heart got lodged for a second at the surprise and I had to unjam it before I could read the email. But eventually, I read this...
Thanks Michael for your email and registration of interest,
I am always interested in speaking to people who have a passion for baseball and take the time and initiative to make contact with me.
It is probably best to sit down at some stage in the coming months perhaps over a coffee and see what might be available.
Let me know when you are available, be it in working hours or out of and we can go from there.

Regards
Nathan Davison
Excitement was the main word I could use to describe my demeanour for the rest of the day. But it was tempered with a bit of humility. I was embarrassed at being told I had initiative. It's not something I'd ever seen in myself. I was explaining as much to my Mum that night.
'I don't think that shows initiative, I only emailed him because that guy I spoke to at the game told me he was the guy to talk to.'
'And why were you talking to the guy at the game?' asked Mum innocently.
'Well... I guess I did make the decision to chase him down. But I wouldn't have done it if I wasn't doing this "fear of failure" thing.'
Mum didn't say anything, just kept making dinner with a knowing smile. It allowed my slow brain time to connect the dots.
'Oh, and this experiment is something I did off my own back too! Wow, maybe I do have initiative!'

Unfortunately, I didn't hear back again from Nathan for a long time. That Friday I decided to send a second email confirming that he'd read the first. It was Monday again by the time he got back to me. It basically said
9:30am Wednesday, Cibo on The Parade.
Done. I locked it in. This was happening.
No it wasn't.
Apologies for the late notice, he emailed again the night before our meeting. We've got our MVP dinner coming up and there's far too much to do. Can you do Thursday at 10:30 instead?
I rearranged my schedule and replied, saying it was okay. Thursday came around and I headed over to Norwood. I found a park and was ready to head to the cafe, but I had a feeling... Just call it intuition. I took out my phone and sent Nathan a text message (I'd gotten his number from the receptionist at head office). It read.
Hi Nathan, it's Michael D'Agostino. Just double-checking we're still on for 10:30? I just found a park.
Sure enough, five minutes later:
Hi Michael. Apologies again, I know it might feel like I'm giving you the run around. I'm still packing up from the MVP awards last night so I'm an hour away at least. Brett Marshall is the assistant GM, he's a good person to speak to. I'll give him a call to make sure he's in the office.
Okay as far as results go, there are worse ones than that. I'd at least be speaking to someone and wouldn't have to go home and reschedule again. I made the short walk to the Bite head office and was greeted by a short man with an American accent who was wearing a zipped-up parker and a flat-brim baseball cap. Both had Adelaide Bite insignia on them. He took me upstairs to his office while I asked him how the MVP awards had gone.

'Really good,' he said in a laid-back way. We held it at the SAJC, they've been really good with events. All the staff were very capable and the food was great. Here, have a seat.' He sat me down in a computer chair and he sat in a matching chair in front of me.
'And who won in the end?' I asked, a split second before realising that I didn't know any of the players.
'_______ _______,' he replied.
'Oh sweet,' I said, hoping I'd pulled it off.
'It's kind of like when you look at all the stats in front of you, who else was it going to go to? It was kind of a formality in the end.'
'Yeah, of course,' I agreed and shut my mouth before I could say anything stupid.
'So Davo tells me you'd like to join us as an announcer.'
'Yes, that's right.'
'What appeals to you about it?' He'd adopted that stance and tone of voice that bosses use when they're formally interviewing someone.
'I just love entertaining people. I love any job where one of the requirements is just to be as outgoing and personable as possible.'
'So you've had experience then?'
'Oh definitely. I host quiz nights, I work on radio, I do stand-up comedy...'
'So you're no stranger to public speaking,' he chuckled. 'I'm the opposite, I just feel their eyes boring into me.'
I chuckled back, but I'd become a bit nervous. To be honest, I hadn't expected this to be a proper job interview. The tone of the emails I'd had with Nathan made me think it would just be an informal chat just so they could find out exactly what I want to do for the team and whether they have a spot for it. In fact, having looked at the website, I wasn't even sure there would be a paid position on offer. They seemed to only have about eight staff members and there was a section where you could apply as a volunteer. One of the volunteering positions was in "On-field promotions & entertainment". Luckily I'd decided to wear a shirt and slacks, but I hadn't done any prep on what questions I might be asked.

We continued chatting and as the interview went on, I started to pick up signs that he liked me. Some of the language he used and the way he looked at me indicated that the position of the off-field announcer would become vacant soon and if I was capable, I'd be the one to fill it. He described how he wasn't too happy with the announcer they had now because he used too much jargon and it went over the heads of the casual fans who were there for the first time. Half way through, in walked the on-field announcer who first told me to email Nathan. He started contributing to the interview and I could tell he was interested in me too. He brought up that he also announces for the Adelaide Adrenaline (ice hockey) and that he needs someone to help out there too. Would I be willing to do that?
"Yeah, absolutely!" I said. Obvious question.

The interview finished and Brett told me he'd report back to Nathan and get back in touch with me.
'Can I ask when I can expect a call back by?'
'Oh, definitely within a week,' he said. 'Here, I'll give you my card so you can call me back if you need to.' I took the card and, studying it, said
'So if I don't hear anything by Thursday...'
'Even Wednesday,' he replied encouragingly.
The other guy asked for my phone number too so he could get in touch with me about the Adrenaline. Unlike the Bite, the ice hockey was already in preseason, so I could start there straight away. I walked out of the building feeling very confident that I'd made a good impression. But just to make sure, I grabbed two cartons of Lindt chocolate out of the car and dropped them off with the receptionist. I told her to spread it around the office and to tell Brett that Michael said thanks. Now I just have to wait.


37 comments:

  1. Sweet!

    Um, yeah, you have initiative alright.

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  2. That's awesome! Sounds very promising. And nice touch with the chocolates. See, you do have initiative.

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    Replies
    1. Those chocolates have gotten me very far in life.

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  3. That would sure be the definition of initiative indeed. Awesome news, and the chocolates were a great idea. Hopefully the call comes soon

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    1. Each day that passes without a phone call makes me sweat harder :P

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  4. Way to go! And . . . wow, you have ice hockey in Australia? I did not know that. Of course, artificial ice makes anything possible but still.

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    1. It's not very popular. They probably only get a few hundred spectators per game.

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  5. How wonderful. Love the chocolate touch too. No initiative? No insight perhaps. Initiative by the truckload.
    Fingers and toes crossed.

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    Replies
    1. Haha yeah you're probably right. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to my good qualities :P

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  6. That is definitely initiative. Awesome to hear Nathan wasn't just ducking you, and that you won over your interviewers! Now ice hockey... THAT'S where it's at, man! Announcing checks and fights has to be so much fun.

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    1. It's on my bucket list to have a chance to say "We're going to take a quick break while they clean the blood off the ice..."

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  7. Congratulations, MICHAEL!

    Best O' Luck with this.

    Do you like baseball at all? Or is this exclusively about the announcing?

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    Replies
    1. I'm a big fan of the big four American sports. I support the Red Wings, Red Sox, Cowboys and Lakers. It's hard to follow here though because we get so little of it on TV. I have to rely on my ESPN app on my phone to keep up to date :P

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  8. I admit, I started sweating when a short man with an American accent and flat brimmed cap took you upstairs, Michael. You know what that means, right? When it happens to me, it means he wants to get laid. No, I'm kidding. Well, not really. But I'm glad it was altogether different for you, and that your courage to face your fears is paying off. Sounds as though you may need to nudge them, though. They've already encouraged you to, so don't hesitate. And Congratulations!

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    Replies
    1. You know come to think of it, he was making more kissey-faces than I would expect from a normal interview...

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    2. Haha. Be guarded and play hard to get, Michael. It works every time.

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  9. Congrats, Michael - this is so exciting! I think there's one line of your post that you might want to change: "Unfortunately, I hear back again from Nathan for a long time." I think you meant to say, "Unfortunately, I *didn't* hear back..." :) (Sorry, it's the proofreader in me!)

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    Replies
    1. Good call, thanks for that :) I don't read back my posts after I read them because I spend so long writing them :P

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  10. I'm so happy for you - this sounds promising! I'm telling you, I'm going to have to say "I knew him when he was just jumping out of planes..."

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    1. You're very supportive, I won't forget you when I've become the first man on Jupiter ;)

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  11. This is awesome!!! Seriously, good for you for continuing in your responses even if he had to rearrange. That's so, so great. I would totally have backed out or something like an idiot. Very impressed!!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Yeah I probably would have given up too if this had happened two months ago :P

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  12. Early in his career, my husband was trying to get a big job and he had a pizza delivered with one slice missing. He wrote on a card that was included, "I'm the missing piece of your organization." It worked! I think sometimes just showing that you're really interested and have a passion for a job makes a big difference. Fingers crossed for you!

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    1. That has got to be one of the best things I've ever heard ;) I'll keep that in mind, I might need it one day...

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  13. After an interview like that you're entitled to assume they want to employ you. Hope you don't have to wait much longer...

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    1. Well most of the time after an interview you end up berating yourself for not having said the right things. I did have a bit of that, but the body language I saw from them was very encouraging.

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  14. That sounds like it went very well! Good luck! I hope you hear back soon.

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  15. Hearing this is so exciting! I am so tickled for you, (smile).
    Once you make the big time, should you need a dancing bear...
    Congratulations, Michael!!!

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  16. Yep, sounds like initiative to me too! And the Lindts were a nice touch. We had a bowl of them on the counter at all times when we were selling our house.

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  17. Getting the card at the end of the interview really sounds promising! Yes, you certainly do have initiative! And great touch with the candies. That would have won me over right there ;)

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    Replies
    1. Being asked to hand out those chocolates for a living is one of the best things to ever happen to my career ;)

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  18. That is great initiative! Way to go Michael!

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