What I Do... And What People Say About It

So, I don't know if you folks have realized, but I have a bit of a different career goal than most people you come across. And if there's anything I've learned, it's that saying "I want to work in the Olympic movement" is not a phrase people expect to hear when they ask about your life. Color me shocked, right? And, if we're being honest here, working in the Olympic movement isn't really something a ton of people totally understand.

In the six-plus years I've (consciously) been on this path, I've noticed a number of responses and/or misconceptions keep cropping up. So I thought I'd take this opportunity to address 'em, and explain what it is I actually do.

Team USA and London 2012 Ceremonies gear

...Besides be ridiculous, of course.

Response #1: "WOW, how glamorous and exciting!"

Well, thanks! I'm flattered that you think so! But this isn't quite true. I mean, anything involving talking to Kerri Walsh Jennings sure sounds glamorous, but the bottom line is that it's still a desk job. What I'm working on is definitely more exciting than what most people in other fields are working on (in my totally biased opinion, of course!), but I'm still in my cubicle from 8-5 every day. And when I'm not in my cubicle, I'm working from home at 3 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday. Unless passing out on your couch at 7:30 p.m. is your idea of glamour, this job ain't it. But I'll be the first to tell you that I do have a really cool job. :)

Response #2: "Sweet! So, what do you do?"

Things with words! That's a lame answer, but since I'm still in that gray, temporary-employee area, I don't know what my "real" career is actually going to look like. But in my various positions, I've written stories, I've posted stories, I've done all manner of social media things, I've created and updated athlete bios, and I make a mean photo gallery. Among other "duties as assigned" (including helping Brandon decide what he wants to eat for lunch on an almost everyday basis).

Gallery of Sochi's 100 most memorable images
Shameless plug. You should go look at this one. :) Kay thanks.

Response #3: "Oh, so you only want to work once every four years? LAWL."

I don't know if I only heard this once, or if it was more than once, but it sure stuck with me! 'Cause everything about it is painfully wrong!

First and foremost, the Olympics are every two years, not every four years. Check yourself.

And second, do we really think that the Olympics just suddenly pop into existence? That everything happens out of nowhere? I mean, think about it. Ignoring the fact that the International Olympic Committee, United States Olympic Committee, and all the other National Olympic Committees around the world are companies that permanently exist and employ thousands of people full-time, cities are already contemplating bids for 2024. That's TEN YEARS away, folks. The IOC will pick a final list of candidates in 2015, and will award the Games in 2017 (a solid seven years before they take place). In those two years, cities spend millions of dollars figuring out branding and logistics and drawing up a plan as to how everything would work. If a city is successful, it only has seven years to update its infrastructure and build new facilities and design the ceremonies and everything else involving putting that plan into action. Hell, when I joined London 2012 Ceremonies, the staff there talked about things that happened in the office several years previously. And that was just the ceremonies! And those amazing people worked every day of the week, sometimes for 12 hours a day, for months on end.

We're just coming up on two years out from Rio 2016 and Seb Coe has gone on record to say that, should Rio not be ready in time, it's already too late to think of moving the 2016 Games to London. Because two years is simply not enough time, even with a solid chunk of the venues still existing.

As a very wise man once said, "The Olympics is the most complex peacetime venture. The only thing more complex than the Olympics is a war."

Sorting bibs at London 2012 Ceremonies
(A peacetime venture involving a whole heck of a lot of bibs to sort.)

Response #4: "Oh, cool! ...Why?"

Er, because I totally hate the Olympics and never want anything to do with it ever again for the rest of my life. #obviously

In all seriousness... because this is what I'm passionate about. They say that what you do in your free time is what you should be doing with your life. And in my free time, I google Mark Pavelich and dig into past Olympic bids and get giddy about the Mexico City 1968 logo and and and. I mean, I do this less now that I do Olympic things all day at work (because even I have a threshold), but doesn't it make sense to enjoy what you do?

And also? There's absolutely like those "USA! USA! USA!" chants, bro.

Who do you play for? The United States of America!

Respone #5: "You're kind of unhealthily obsessed."

First of all, thanks so much for passing so much judgment on my character! I certainly appreciate it.

How about NO

Secondly, I'd like to point out that Malcolm Gladwell said that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Considering my blog has been quoted as an academic source (woop woop! Thanks Jo!), and people at the USOC refer to me as an Olympic expert... y'know, I think I'm doing pretty okay for myself. Sorry not sorry if it makes you uncomfortable. *drops mic*

Does anyone else get these (or other strange) responses about your career goals?

post signature


  1. I need one of those "Who do you play for?" shirts in my life.

  2. hahaha i have no interest in the olympics at all but i love what you write about it and how you addressed some misconceptions! do your thing and who cares what the world thinks.

  3. I think it's amazing to have such a well define dream! And that you're working consciously and with efforts towards it! I think it's a great thing and I wish you the best of luck :)