By Jack Kazmierski
Special to The Toronto Sun
Okay, so maybe you can't hit a ball as well as Shannon Stewart, Josh Phelps or Eric Hinske, and maybe you couldn't catch a fly ball if your life depended on it. Nonetheless, if you've ever dreamed of working with the Blue Jays, a major league job could be yours.
Every year, the Jays hire hundreds of part-timers to work behind the scenes preparing the stadium for opening day. Before fans sit down for the first inning of the season, hundreds of hands have already spent thousands of man-hours cleaning, repairing, painting, testing and checking the facilities to make sure everything is a go.
And once the season gets under way, many more are on the job to make sure all the departments run smoothly.
"Between ushers, ticket-takers, security guards, ticket office part-time staff, and others, you're talking probably in excess of 400 people," says Mario Coutinho, director of stadium operations. "Then you have the Ontario Sports Service, which is the concessionaire, and they probably have another 350 people."
Add to that the staff that works in the SkyDome's restaurants, including kitchen staff, hostesses, etc., and "you've got a total of around 1000 part-time people," Coutinho says.
More "glamourous" jobs are also available. "Probably the most exciting job would be one in the clubhouse," Coutinho says. If you're a Ballboy or clubhouse attendant, you're on the front lines and able to interact with the athletes.
"Others would say that ushering is the most exciting job, because everyday you're interacting with a different group of people and you never know what's going to happen," Coutinho adds.
All part-timers are hired on a seasonal basis, from April until the end of the baseball season. But don't think about working with the Jays this year -- recruiting started last December, and by now all the employees they'll need for this season are already on staff, trained, and ready to go.
How to Apply|
If you'd like to work directly for the Blue Jays in one of the following capacities: usher, ticket-taker, security, grounds crew, ticket office staff, souvenir concession stand staff, runner (gopher), or retail staff, send a resume and cover letter to:
Or via regular mail to:
Attention: Operations Department
1 Blue Jays Way
You can send applications for Blue Jay clubhouse staff to the same address, but you'll have to wait in line for an opening -- after all, everyone wants to be a ballboy.
If you're interested in working in one of the restaurants, you'll have to contact the individual restaurant.
Anyone interested in working at the SkyDome in general (concerts and non-Blue Jay events) can apply online at www.skydome.com, click on "The Building" and then on "Employment".
"We basically terminate employment with everyone at the end of every season," Coutinho says. "We judge everyone on the quality of their work and their availability during the season and we invite back only those who meet our specific needs -- probably about 75% of the workers."
Salaries start at about $9.60, but vary depending on the position and the number of seasons an employee has been with the Jays.
Although some of the jobs (maintenance, repairs, cleaning) are done pretty much out of the public eye, most positions involve substantial contact with fans and patrons. That's why the HR department looks for individuals with great people skills.
"Ninety-five per cent of the positions rely greatly on communication skills, and involve working with the public and treating them properly," Coutinho says. "Someone with a very outgoing personality who enjoys interacting with people and is available to work the dates we need them to will do well."
There are no nine-to-five jobs. Expect to work mostly evenings and weekends - the times most games are played. Many Blue Jay part-timers have a day job that allows them to get the SkyDome by 5 o'clock, while some are students who spend their days in school.
(Jack Kazmierski (firstname.lastname@example.org)
is a Toronto-based freelance writer and editor.)
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