4 tips for healing your confidence after losing a job

The most discouraging phone call of my career was in July 2003. I took that call while sitting at the desk in my home office in Carlsbad, CA. After four years of hosting Weekend AllNight on ESPN Radio, I was being replaced. I felt shock, disbelief, anger, despair, betrayal, bewilderment and a loss of confidence. Maybe I wasn’t as good as I thought. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be replacing me, right?

I was 36. I sobbed.

losing a job

After several days I was able to sort through most of my emotions. The one that remained, though, was my lack of confidence. I wondered if maybe I had been fooling management for the past four years. Maybe they never listened to the show. After all, it aired in the middle of the night on weekends. Maybe when they finally listened, they realized it sucked. Or maybe the person who hired me thought of weekend overnights as a throwaway shift. When new management came in, I reasoned, they put new emphasis on the time slot and thought I wasn’t good enough.
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What to do when your career isn’t unfolding as planned

There is a veteran play-by-play broadcaster in the Midwest. We’ll call him Scott Cameron (that’s not his real name but for the sake of this story that’s what we’ll call him).


Cameron was very excited this spring to learn that three NCAA Division 1 football and basketball play-by-play jobs were opening. He had honed his craft, built his resume, and paid his dues.
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This story is about how NOT to network

How often do people tell you to network for sportscasting success?

Regular followers of STAA know that I try to avoid the word networking. Instead, I talk about relationship building. Networking often implies “what can you do for me.” Relationship building is about “what can I do for you.”

bad networking
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How to create more time in your day

I don’t have time.

How often do you say that to yourself about building your sportscasting career?

create time

  • I’d love to assemble a fabulous application for that job, but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to freshen up my demo but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to write a great cover letter but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to self-critique my work but I don’t have time.
  • I’d love to study other sportscasters but I don’t have time.

168 hours in a week is a lot. “I don’t have time” really means “this isn’t a high enough priority for me.”
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How to avoid one of the toughest career decisions

Jamelle Holloway was the best option QB I ever watched. When he was running Oklahoma’s attack in the 1980s it was must-see TV. As I watched in awe, I wondered how Holloway chose on each play whether to keep the ball or pitch it. It turns out that he didn’t have to make the decision – the defense made it for him. If the end stays wide, keep it. If the end collapses, pitch it. Easy.

Avoid this tough career decision

For sportscasters, planning their career path can seem like running the option. The current glut of major college play-by-play openings is forcing some minor league baseball broadcasters to choose between that and Division I football and basketball.

How do you choose?
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This reaction from an employer will blow you away

How often have you applied for a sportscasting job and never heard a peep back from the employer – not even acknowledgement that they had received your application? It happened to me more times than I can remember.

employer reaction

I remember wondering if those employers were so far removed from their own job-seeking experience that they had forgotten what its like. To them, your job application means nothing. What they often forget is that, to you, it means everything. That is why what I am about to share with you is stunning.

Not too many months ago, an employer sent an email to me that conveyed an unusual and refreshing empathy for job seekers:

I’ve been narrowing down candidates for [the position] and it amazes me how many good broadcasters there are out there who want this job. It amazes me that they aren’t applying for jobs at higher levels because some of them sure sound capable of landing those gigs.

The fact that I got 113 applicants for this job blows my mind. And without a doubt the toughest part is having to email more than 100 of them today to let them know that I’m down to my final candidates, and they didn’t make the cut. It sucks. I know it sucks. I’ve been there a lot — or at least it feels like a lot because you remember the ones you REALLY wanted. The ones you thought you could land. The ones that you know if they had just given you the chance, you would have proven them right 1,000-times over for making that decision. And I know in the emails I sent out, there are people that feel that way about the job I just told them they aren’t getting. Today I realized — perhaps again — that it feels just as bad to be on the sending end of that email as it can be on the receiving end.

Huge props to employers who understand that each application represents the dream of a person who has worked hard and sacrificed, and who treats those applications with respect.

Doing this will stoke your sportscasting passion

Mark Cuban reads for one hour every day.

Cuban says that when he started out as a software salesman, he knew nothing about what he was selling. He learned by reading the instruction manuals. Then, when prospects had questions, he was able to answer them thoroughly and professionally.

reading to fuel your passion

Cuban outsold everyone and set himself on his way to riches.
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5 reasons why sportscasters who aren’t as good as you keep getting jobs

We all know someone who laments that people who are less talented than them keep getting great sportscasting jobs.

5 reasons why sportscasters who aren’t as good as you keep getting jobs

Measuring ourselves against others without bias is at the very least challenging. For this conversation, though, let’s assume that a person is repeatedly being passed over in favor of less talented, less qualified candidates.

Here are five reasons why a talented individual might be repeatedly passed over in the sportscasting job market:
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This is not a good reason to accept a sportscasting job offer

There are many good reasons to not accept sportscasting job offer. You might easily overlook one of those reasons because it is so tempting.

employment offer

I wanted to be a sports broadcaster since high school. I was two years into my first job doing news and sports for a radio station in McPherson, KS when a station up the road in Salina asked me to be their news director. Even though it didn’t include sports, I nearly accepted the position.
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