Ongoing battles of rising to the top the hard way shouldn’t be frowned upon as I struggled continuing my dreams of being a motorsports media personnel.
Let’s face facts, the way of working your way up the hard way (without any backing from a media personnel) is at its last leg. The essence of knowing the right people is the preferred way to achieve lifelong goals. Sounds a bit unfair but that’s cold reality and I’ve been on the cold side this year.
I’ve applied everywhere (sports teams, tracks, teams, radio, television, etc.), hoping to get a positive email or a phone call interview that may lead to the career launch. Safe to say, I’ve taken more losses than the Cleveland Browns and the Chicago Bulls front office combined.
I’m not covering motorsports for a major media outlet nor I’m living the dream in Charlotte or Indianapolis, interning and learning new things about the sport I love more than anything else. I’m not even at Sonoma Raceway—the closest track where I’m from—going all out and provide fresh content through my writing and photography this Sunday.
Instead, I’m just a broke 22-year-old man from Washington—where football and basketball rules the state—who writes at home rather than traveling different places covering different kinds of events, believing independent writing is the way to go.
Comparatively speaking, I’m the Jimmy Means of multimedia, barely surviving in a world of high budget and suits. In the world of multimedia, knowing top tier people and looks.
Means consistently didn’t have the greatest equipment in his 18-year Cup career and his current Xfinity Series team runs mid-pack with limited sponsorships on a regular basis.
Here’s a video about Means getting a one-race opportunity of racing in top tier equipment after years of struggling against NASCAR’s top teams:
I’ve known people who currently or previously worked under a media umbrella and have asked for work but no cigar thus far. Some of them who worked told me they aren’t hiring, others flat out don’t respond.
Welcome to reality, you’ll always have those people in your life. It’s annoying when people don’t help another person out who are doing similar career paths. My perception is people don’t want to lend a hand on another person who may be a threat of snatching roles in the media field. I get it, egos will outshine humility but to make it in this field, an ego will get you places.
The next best thing I have planned is visiting local race tracks (ex. Evergreen Speedway and Skagit Speedway) and ask if they’re hiring people to produce content such as writing, filming, broadcasting or photography.
I’ve even considered doing the unmitigated gall and send my resumes via mail to several motorsports outlets (ex. racetracks and race teams) which I’ve done before as an attempt to avoid an early career change. If that’s what it takes to get my foot in the door the hard way, I’m willing to take those risks.
Carl Edwards did something similar, giving out business cards to drivers while teaching, hoping to get a big break in racing. Guess what happened? He became a successful driver in NASCAR.
Sounds naïve and stupid to some but it’s what I must do to keep my dream alive. For now, it’s just hasn’t gone my way and must be patient about the process. Hard to accept because I’m a demanding person to be around when it comes to producing content. That’s why I considered myself as a journeyman, a person who puts in the work but not given the chance to blossom.
Now six months removed from graduating from the University of Idaho, some of my peers has had the glitz and glamour of continuing their multimedia careers and making it big one day at a time. Whereas I’m about to begin my new job in Seattle, doing guest services at CenturyLink Field while writing about the latest in NASCAR and IndyCar Series on weekends with little attention.
People may ask, why do I write each week when you’re not getting paid?
Why am I working somewhere that doesn’t utilize what I’ve poured blood, sweat and tears (even a torn ligament) for 3.5 years known as my Broadcasting and Digital Media degree?
Here’s why. Hunger.
Here’s some videos I’ve made at Idaho that showcases my hunger:
Part of the hunger comes from racing because it has been in my blood since the first time I’ve watched it on television 14 years ago. It’s unlike any other sport I follow where you can feel the emotions of everyone, from the driver to the hardworking mechanics, there’s always a story to be told or yet to be discovered. Those reasons alone made me want to be involved in motorsports and it’s the main reason why I studied in broadcasting because it’s all I sincerely know.
I wasn’t cut out to be an engineer, thanks to geometry hindering my high school GPA. Also, starting my driving career at almost 23 years old is deemed ‘too old’ as youth (outside of money talks) is ideal. Multimedia is all I got to achieve my dreams of covering events at Charlotte, Indianapolis, etc. Without racing and putting countless hours working on my craft, I wouldn’t know what to do in my short life.
The last thing I want happening is this struggle turn me into a bitter person and hate the sport. It’s a callous thing to do. I don’t want to have this happen but when a person wants something badly, sometimes frustrations can kill desires.
Anything less is deemed a massive failure and a waste of time. I don’t want this time period to be a waste of time because I’m not an instant media sensation. I want this time to be a self-learning experience and can look back in a few years as a time period that molded me into the hard working person I’ll become.
As a result, writing weekly content is one way allowing me to get my foot in the door and someday noticed by small or large publishing companies that covers motorsports.
I’m doing all the right things to grab an audience by coming up with excellent leads and tagging the sport, drivers and tracks on social media. Few times it has worked which is a start and that’s all I can ask for, some notice.
As far as my new job, my degree isn’t being wasted. Communications are applied and gives me an opportunity to polish my communication skills because any polishing equals strong results. Not a bad way to make some sort of living, working in a major market like Seattle.
This new adventure brings me back to the days being a Junior Counselor at Cispus, my favorite place in the world. People take the time out of their day—in this case one week at Cispus—to be welcomed and have a wonderful experience where the material they’ve learned can be taken back to school. Their voice mattered because without them, nothing can be done.
Helping others was also encouraged and one of my strongest character traits because I put my group of people as my number one priority. Exactly what my new job is about, the fans are there to have a great time rooting for their team and my task is contributing a positive experience in some capacity.
I thrive on helping others having a good time. It gives me a chance on understanding other people’s needs because ignoring them isn’t professional. I’ve had instances where my voice wasn’t heard and find it to be ignorant. This opportunity will allow me to help them out the best way possible and one of the things I’m looking forward doing.
If things work out, it may lead to something special down the road but that’s the future. The present is what I’m thinking about and this job may be a sign that things are slowly turning around.
Maybe this job is the kind of hunger I need to regain any form of motivation I’ve lost since graduating from Idaho which is why I’m looking forward to this opportunity coming up. Anything that’ll keep me busy on a consistent basis is all I need.
Then there’s you, reading this piece. If you made it this far, thank you. Thanks for taking the time reading the ongoing struggles of my young career. I’m doing my best hanging on and it can only get better. If you’re willing to support my ongoing journey, excellent and blessed to have you join my journey. Any audience is helpful to make my dream come true.
Career wise, I’ll continue my independent writing, giving different angles of the race and critique the world of racing. Also, continuing the grind of finding a job in motorsports. If I can’t be naïve and do those things I’ve said, connections wouldn’t exist.
To survive in the world of media, knowing people is as important as quality content. It helps keeping anyone’s professional career alive. Personally, it’s not a bad attitude to have if a person has the fire to do what it takes to achieve their goals.
The journeyman mentality shouldn’t be frowned upon or ignored, it should be viewed at a positive light. Safe to say, I’m the last of a dying breed who wants to work their way up the ladder by doing anything to get themselves noticed the hard way. Patience is key and must wait for my calling, tough challenge but doable.