Day 9: Going “Fishing” and Gettin’ a Bite

Miami Dolphins: After a few rough days in a row, “South Florida’s Biggest Party,” the Miami Dolphins, provided an energizing boost of confidence. The day started on a sour note when  I could not figure out how much money to throw into the self-service toll booth. After tossing two dollars in quarters into the basket, and still not getting the green light to go, I assumed the booth was not functioning properly. If the “go” light was not working properly, the “you did not pay” buzzer seemed to be working just fine. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I do not hear from the Florida Department of Transportation!

After a few hours of driving and a couple of trips through tolls that actually had people working in them to take my money, I arrived at Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. I then went through my normal pre-team routine, in which I find the nearest gas station to collect my thoughts and attempt to telephone the team, if I’ve yet to have success in speaking to someone. I made another phone call to the polite receptionist at Sun Life Stadium, who put me through to someone in the HR Department, but again I received only a voicemail message. This would mark the fourth unsuccessful call I had with the Dolphins. Realizing my last option was to simply drive up to the gate, I headed across the street.

The woman working the security gate told me the Dolphins no longer accepted resumes in person. In fact, the process to submit a resume is through their website. I quickly told my story and the distance I had traveled to deliver this resume and she compromised with me by taking my resume and offering to give it to the Senior Director of Human Resources when she saw her in the morning. I did not want to leave Miami empty-handed so I asked for a contact name and number to make a follow-up call. She gave me a telephone number, which was the same number I already had, and the names of two people in HR, one being “Yolanda.”

At that point I was officially out of cards to play so I made the dreadful U-turn at the gate and began heading back to Orlando. Knowing how much my loyal blog readers enjoy the photos, I pulled over to the side of the road to take a few shots of Sun Life Stadium. Realizing I was about to drive 3.5 hours back to Orlando, I made one last attempt to reach someone in the HR Department. This time, though, I asked for “Yolanda in the Human Resources Department,” when the receptionist answered. The persistence paid off. Yolanda answered the phone and I quickly gave the reason for my call. Stating, “Hi, my name is Chris McGaha and I am from Indianapolis. I am driving to every NFL team in the country to personally deliver my resume and I am now outside of Sun Life Stadium. I was curious as to whether it would be possible to deliver my resume to someone in the HR Department while I am here” (I think that is how the conversation went. My mind was running a million miles a minute so some of that statement may be skewed, but you get the point). Yolanda’s response, “Wow, well where are you at right now?” “I am parked on the side of the road outside Sun Life Stadium,” I replied. To which Yolanda stated, “I don’t see a problem with you dropping it off. Just tell the people at security that you are here to see me and then come to the third floor.” (Again, you get the gist). I literally could not get off the phone and inside fast enough. It seems weird but I was too excited to feel nervous. I could not believe I was finally going to have human interaction with someone inside an organization!

After pulling back up to the woman at the security gate, grinning from ear to ear, I told her of the good news I had just received. She directed me inside and wished me luck. I was greeted at the main door by another security guard who quickly pointed me to the elevator when I told him I was there to see “Yolanda Barreto.” He seemed a little surprised to see me again after only about 2o seconds but began smiling after I asked him, “did I pronounce her last name right?” He reassured me I had and before I knew it I was in the third-floor lobby, waiting to meet the Senior Director of Human Resources. I was so happy to have a few quick seconds out of her day to introduce myself and hopefully make a quick impression for future reference.

I was stunned when Ms. Barreto invited me into a vacant conference room to talk to me. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes and included topics such as me describing my journey, my possible field of interest, and my background. Ms. Barreto also discussed the importance of customer service to the Miami Dolphins. Based upon the amount of respect and attention I was given, I can hardly imagine what it would be like to be an actual customer of the Dolphins. It seems like that fan base is in good hands!

After our discussion, I was fortunate enough to be shown a quick glimpse of the Ticket Sales “offices,” more like a community of desks, and the Marketing “offices.”  During our “conference room discussion”, Ms. Barreto talked about the normal life cycle of employment at the Miami Dolphins. She informed me that most people usually begin as interns and then work their way up to full-time employment and beyond. She even mentioned that the Dolphins currently have Officers who began their careers as interns with the organization. While in the Marketing offices I was introduced to one such employee who began as an intern, Caleb Quaid. He not only offered encouragement, but also offered some helpful advice in contacting people with other NFL teams.

After my conversation with Caleb, and about 20 minutes after I first sat down with Ms. Barreto, I was back in the lobby and attempting to truly express how thankful I was for the opportunity I had just been given. I have experienced some let downs during the past two weeks, but have also come across some great people who really have offered help when they had no obligation to do so. However, the Dolphins, and Ms. Barreto, really outdid themselves in the hospitality department.

One point that Ms. Barreto made to Caleb was that the normal procedure for people who arrive at Sun Life Stadium to drop-off a resume is to have them leave them at the security gate, at best. However, when Ms. Barreto heard my story she was interested in meeting me. Therefore, I am going to keep emphasizing my strong desire to be an employee of an NFL franchise by mentioning the distance I am traveling just to drop off my resume. My hope is that I will come across more teams like the Miami Dolphins and more people like Yolanda Barreto and Caleb Quaid!

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