There is lots and lots and LOTS of talk about getting hired in Sportscasting. Take a look at the top Google searches for sportscasting and many of them are about jobs and careers in this industry. But few in this industry have the opportunity to retire after a long and successful career…many are fired or laid off as a sign of the changing times. So it makes sense that we talk about getting fired in sportscasting and how to handle an emotional situation with poise and professionalism.
I’ve been fired once. It wasn’t from a sportscasting job, but it was broadcast related. During broadcast school, I was working at a video streaming company in Vancouver that specialized in streaming, recording and then creating on-demand video of horse races around the world. The site was linked with a betting company where race fans would wager on the races and be able to not only watch it live, but also stream it on demand immediately after the race. It was a challenging job with multiple races on multiple tracks happening at the same time.
I enjoyed it. I went through training and thought I was doing quite well. A lot of the skills required were in my wheelhouse so my main challenge was learning procedures. I remember after finishing a shift on a Thursday, I was intercepted by a manager as I was leaving who said they were thrilled with how I was doing and were keen to give me additional responsibility by having me monitor more tracks at once. Then a few days later, late on a Saturday morning I got a call from a different manager who informed me that they were letting me go. Needless to say I was confused. Her reasoning was that I hadn’t grasped it and I wasn’t doing a good job and that they were terminating me.
So that was it, I was fired. I wasn’t angry so much as I was confused given my conversation a few days prior. She offered to talk further with me on Monday over the phone but I never followed up on that opportunity.
Unfortunately during my career, I’ve been in the room on three occasions when a co-worker has been let go. And while it was never me giving the bad news, it was certainly a difficult situation to be involved in. However the old saying says that when a door closes, a window opens and I know of a few people who say that getting fired was one of the best things to happen to them.
In sportscasting, getting fired can be a big turning point in your career. You can use it to re-evaluate and improve, or you can implode. I’ve seen both through current and former colleagues and here are three key responses to make if you want to succeed in sportscasting after getting fired.
1. Be professional
Getting fired is incredibly emotional. It’s an attack on your work and you as a person. But there is one thing above all else that you have to do and that’s remain professional. Keeping yourself cool, calm and collected in this type of situation can go along way with maintaining a professional relationship moving forward. Sure, they may not sign your pay cheques anymore, but a former employer who can still vouch for your professionalism and work ethic can be valuable down the line. Rest assured that if you throw a tantrum and hurl insults…that reference isn’t one you’d want to put on a resume.
2. Get feedback from your previous employer
Unless the firing is due to a toxic relationship, then being removed from your job is a great opportunity to reflect and learn. Most employers that I’ve worked for and had colleagues work for have all said that they would be willing to give a frank assessment of why a person was fired from a position and what they could do better. Instead of taking this as an attack, use it as an opportunity to grow. Is it something technical, like an inability to edit video, or poor writing? Is it something personal such as difficulty with inter-personal relationships? Many former employers will be only too happy to offer this valuable advice, which is easily actionable into making you a better sportscaster.
Reaching out will also leave a lasting impression with many employers. One employer may call another asking about you, and if you were fired they can also add that you followed up and wanted to know ways you can improve moving forward. That shows professionalism, integrity and work ethic…three characteristics that employers love.
3. Network in your area
Getting fired isn’t the be all and end all of sportscasting. Obviously it’s far from ideal, but rarely are people ostracized from the industry because of one mistake. Repeat firings raise flags, but in this day and age the reasoning for a firing could be a very minor infraction against a very strict workplace, or it could be budgetary. Whatever it is, the moment it happens you should ramp up your networking. Reach out to future employers, create your own opportunities through freelance work. Use the freedom (and severance package if you’re lucky) to move onto bigger and better things.
Hearing “you’re fired” is one of the worst moments you can experience professionally. It’s two words that signal a lot of emotions and even more change. However the right attitude can steer you towards that open window and present opportunities that you may have missed out on in different circumstances.
What’s your best fired story? Share on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments below.