Courtesy: Anthony Staggs

Steve Tarachow, a Western Illinois University Sport Management graduate, finds himself in a position where he knows much more now then when he graduated in 1989.

He claims that there are some things students can learn in school and others that must be learned on your own, either through triumphs or tribulations. Tarachow quickly learned that employees can not just go from point A to point B and be successful.

“It’s a step ladder type of process, you must continue to learn the business and prove yourself constantly within the organization,” said Tarachow.

He learned that as people gain experience, they will find themselves needing a sense of balance between work and their personal life. People should always be looking to spend time with their family and give back to the community. Tarachow says sometimes there is just not enough time in the day and people must make sure to still maintain that balance.

Tarachow also believes that an individual learns how to become a team player through practical experiences.

“You don’t become a complete employee unless you go beyond your responsibilities and help other departments and other employees,” Tarachow said.

Tarachow currently works for the Milwaukee Bucks as the group ticket sales manager and said that the highlight of his career so far was meeting Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his childhood hero, during the team’s 25th anniversary of their only NBA championship.

When searching for a position in the sports field, Tarachow said it is important to look at the team and league websites because these sites list possible employment opportunities. It is important to be patient, persistent, and flexible. He also stressed that it is valuable to continue to network no matter the stage in your career and to maintain some sort of contact within that network, no matter how small, or if it provides no benefit to you.

Tarachow also makes a point that experience is everything; any type of experience is beneficial to a candidate’s resume, whether the internship is paid or unpaid, it is still a beneficial experience. When trying to differentiate from other candidates, Tarachow says it is not a magic trick.

Students must do all they can to set a foundation for themselves through work and school related experiences. With these experiences it is also valuable to attain references and maintain a dialogue.

“Interview with confidence and have a spirit about yourself and in the interview make sure everyone knows this spirit. After the interviews do something that is commonly overlooked, send a thank you card,” said Tarachow.

Whether in work or in school, it is important to find that balance and ensure that you are looking out for your best interest. The sooner you learn this lesson the sooner you will be a more complete and humbled person.