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The time I worked my wedding weekend...

Updated: Jan 18

Hi friends,

We talk a lot about the demands of working in sports. Most job postings include a “must be willing to work nontraditional hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays” disclaimer, especially when you’re just starting out in your career. And sure, that’s one of the not-so-great trade-offs of being part of the sports world, a fast-paced, at times all-consuming, industry. We get it, even if we don’t always like it (throwback to 22-year-old me sobbing after finding out that I was on the schedule to work 12-hour shifts on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas during my first year at ESPN, lol). 

But there’s a difference between being expected to put in long hours and being taken advantage of or not feeling as though you can take time off. Sometimes the nature of the industry can make it feel as though you have no power or agency. 

Before moving fully into a player personnel role with the Eagles, I was asked to help run communications for the team’s charitable organization. The foundation’s executive director is what Sam and I would politely describe as “not an empowHEREd kinda woman” if you catch our drift. Her public persona and the face she put on in front of others in the organization (specifically those she deemed “important”) was very different than who she was behind closed doors with our small, five-person team. There were a lot of issues with the way she treated people, one of which was the way she handled time off. While she arrived late, left early, worked from home, and took undocumented vacation days all the time, she made us feel as though we couldn’t use any of our PTO. If you did, she’d lay on the guilt trip and you were ALWAYS expected to be on call and available.

Case in point, I got married on a Saturday during the NFL offseason. We didn’t have any foundation events going on either. Yet I didn’t take a single day off, even for my rehearsal dinner on Friday. That’s right. I did my hair and makeup in between calls. I answered emails and responded immediately to any Teams messages. I called it quits “early” that day (at 4 pm) so that I could head over to the church and then our rehearsal dinner. 

The next day, my boss texted during my wedding. Not to say congratulations. Instead it was a group text to our entire team sharing something about her personal life. While I didn’t see the text right away, as I didn’t have my phone on me for large parts of the day, I felt obligated to text back when I saw it (about an hour after she’d sent it). I later found out that she complained to my coworkers that I’d taken so long to reply, lol. 

By this point, there had been multiple situations that had made me (and others in our department) question the culture and working environment. But that moment really sealed it for me. I understand that sometimes the sports schedule means you’re on call. If you work in the NBA or in sports media, you’re probably going to work Christmas at some point. Those in college athletics or the NFL have probably spent a Thanksgiving on campus or traveling to a game. I know multiple people (myself and my husband - an MLB reporter - included) who have scheduled their weddings around a particular sports season because of their job. And again, I get it! That’s part of working in sports.

But you should never feel as though you can’t take time off for the major milestones. Because at the end of the day, as awesome as sports can be, we’re quite literally talking about a game. It’s much more important to be there for the people you love and the meaningful moments you’ll never get back. My experience made me realize how important it was for me to work for a person/organization that understood that. And don’t worry, they’re out there! So as you continue on your journey in sports, we encourage you to keep that perspective. And remember…you’re awesome and you belong here.

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