2016 Was a Weird Year

Every so often I write about my career, I try to be honest and offer up details.

So…weird year.

I entered 2016 finding myself recently unemployed. I tried for months but couldn’t get a sniff of a job. Then I wound up back at Bleacher Report in August, not writing articles this time though, and largely spent this season just getting by. When I last wrote a piece like this I was decrying how difficult it was to make this a career while watching friends and former coworkers who were being forced to give up on their dreams.

At that point I was still just watching them but as the season wore on I became one of my friends and former coworkers.

Having spent the best part of a decade trying to make it happen, I decided relatively early on during the 2016 season that it would be my last trying to cover the NFL full time. I’d finish out my Bleacher Report contract, put together the quarterback catalogue one more time and use any money I had to go back to college.

Presuming that you follow me on twitter since you are reading this, if you were paying close attention you will likely have noticed a change in my twitter account from about mid September. I stopped caring. I’ve never been one to hide my thoughts but I’ve generally tried to hold back on some things. That went out the window for two reasons 1) I was no longer thinking long term 2) I figured if I was going to give up I’d do so as myself.

Funnily enough, that lack of caring played a big role in turning my year around. While I’m not recommending you start stepping on as many toes as you possibly can, sometimes there’s a need to be more proactive in making sure you’re getting the credit you deserve for things you have done.

That’s not necessarily something I’ve been great at doing over the years but, like I said, I stopped caring so was less concerned with bothering people.

Anyway, that brings me to what changed. I owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Ryan, Jon Weiner and Dan Le Batard. I went on the local hour of Dan’s show about three months ago now. They replayed the segment nationally and it went over well. About a month later I returned to the show and have made weekly appearances since. This has done a couple of things:

  • Interacting with those guys has helped my comfort being on radio. I can’t tell you how terrifying the idea of talking to 9 million people was at the beginning. It’s still pretty terrifying but at least now I’m kind of used to it.
  • Dan is someone I’ve had huge respect for over the years. Just getting to go on the show was a huge deal to me, having him offer praise and recommend me to other people publicly not only added massively to my audience but it renewed a belief that what I was doing was worthwhile because that belief had been dying for a while.
  • I think Dan and the show ultimately sent me about 16k twitter followers, which is madness. It also led to invitations to do many, many more podcasts and radio shows. The exposure was legitimately crazy.
  • One of the negative sides of this business has been dealing with a lot of people who aren’t exactly friendly. I don’t really blame anyone because everyone is desperately trying to build a career or just simply pay their bills and put food on the table. That still doesn’t mean it’s not tiresome to deal with though. Probably the biggest perk of appearing on Le Batard was learning about how genuinely nice so many of the “big name” people in this business are. I received unsolicited messages of support from people who I’d watched on tv growing up or admired from afar without ever engaging. Some of those people I’d even perceived as being jerks based on what I now realize was a pretty unfair representation. Those people have indirectly (and one or two have directly) helped me get my career back moving in the right direction and convinced me to actually keep trying to make this a career surpassed February 2017.

Okay, so weirdly I’m now in a position where I can’t actually talk about the stuff I want to talk about. The behind-the-scenes stuff. I know this really defeats the purpose of why I started writing about my career like this but it’s an unfortunate necessity right now. Maybe I can talk about it in a few months but for now I’d just like to note how much has changed from being fired in December 2015 to being where I am now in December 2016.

I don’t want to say Never give up on your dreams because this isn’t a Disney movie despite my recent ventures onto their podcasts. I guess I mostly just want to say thank you to anyone who has sent me messages, passed on advice, shared my work with others and/or read my work.

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