TLI Interview: Taylor Grey Meyer and the Counter-Offer Heard ‘Round the World
By Preston Clark
By now, you’ve probably heard of Taylor Grey Meyer, the former law student who applied roughly 30 times to work for the San Diego Padres. Deadspin.com posted a letter last week that Meyer sent to the Padres that contained, among other scathing remarks, the now infamous “I would like to extend you a counter-offer to suck my [expletive].” READ FULL LETTER HERE.
As the story goes, Meyer, who holds a BA in Psychology from USF, initially applied for a sales position with the Padres, but after numerous rejections, she lowered her sites on a minimum wage position selling Padres’ tickets at Petco Park. She was denied.
“Selling tickets for the Padres was not something I particularly wanted to do,” Meyer told TLI. “In fact, I originally applied to the organization for positions that were a better fit for my experience level. When I was turned down for those, I kept lowering the bar, just hoping to find a way to get my foot in the door.”
Then came a letter from the Padres organization inviting Meyer to its Sports Sales Combine where she could learn to “develop and refine [her] sales and management skills” for a price tag of $495. This was the final straw for Meyer.
“What set me off was the fact that they sent me an application to apply to spend $495 in the hopes of maybe connecting with employers,” said Meyer. “They are preying on the desperate. In this economy, there are so many who will do anything for work, even pay ridiculous amounts of money they don’t have. It’s absolutely unacceptable.” So Meyer sat down and wrote the Padres a counter-offer.
At a time when well-educated college graduates all around the country are struggling to find work, Taylor’s “counter-offer” struck a chord with many who find themselves in a similar position. Since the letter went viral, Taylor has been featured on Mashable.com, Business Insider and the Tom Leykis show– to name a few. And job offers have bee rolling in!
The Law Insider had the opportunity to interview Taylor Grey Meyer to ask her about the letter, her career goals and her advice for her educated unemployed following.
Here’s what she had to say:
Did the Padres ever respond to your letter (“counter-offer”)?
No, the Padres have not responded to my counter-offer. As far as I know, the only comment they’ve made was from an unnamed source in the initial DeadSpin article. In that article it was said they found my email too awesome to be upset about. (I’m paraphrasing)
If not selling tickets for the Padres, what’s your dream job?
My dream job is in broadcasting or PR. I have also written a book about my crazy-awful career luck, and this experience will be the somewhat happy ending. I am currently pitching it to agents. Getting my memoir published would be a dream come true – and one I’ve worked toward for years.
I am the only little girl I know of who grew up wanting to be an agent, but that dream was tainted a while ago. After getting turned down by the Air Force for military service due to a gymnastics injury I sustained as a 13 year old, I reached out to a former agent “friend” of mine. I asked him to mentor me. I told him I would start from the ground up for a chance to learn the CBAs, negotiating process, etc. He responded by saying we “could work something out” if I let him “hit that” because he’d “wanted to for a long time.” Disgusted, I said nothing and left the room. He should have been the original recipient of my counter-offer, but I was too surprised and intimidated at the time to do anything other than walk away.
We heard you dropped out of law school. Why? Was it your goal to work in sports law?
Dropping out of law school was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. The truth is, I have loans from flight school. Those loans would have been forgiven, if I had been able to go into the Air Force as planned. But after a 9 month process trying to get into OTS, my medical was denied, the loans came out of deferment, and I defaulted. So when I was accepted to law school, I was only able to get half the amount necessary to pay for each trimester. I decided to attend part-time so I could work. That means I had to come out of pocket $1300 each month for tuition plus living expenses. I just couldn’t do it. I ended up sleeping on a friend from law school’s couch. I was sleep deprived, stressed out and completely broke with no way to make ends meet. Being in law school actually made me less attractive to potential employers, because they were either intimidated by it, afraid of scheduling conflicts, or knew the arrangement would be for a short time. I have a very supportive family, but they were only able to do so much. The school is private, so very expensive. I believe it was recently ranked as one students leave carrying the most debt.
Yes, my goal was sports law. After the previous experience I shared in the answer to the third question, I figured I had to go to law school to be taken seriously. I did not want to deal with that situation again. I have always tried to better myself and increase my employability through school. A law degree seemed like the best decision at the time.
Have you received any job offers since the letter went viral?
Yes, I have received several job offers. The response has been overwhelming. I’m currently in the process of going through emails and responding to those who offered to help. I am incredibly grateful. It’s a little uncomfortable being called the voice of the educated unemployed middle class. I don’t know about that. I just know my words resonated with a lot of people. Lots of unemployed law grads took the time to send letters. There are tons of laid-off, intelligent and fed up people with student loans in default. I’m not special in that respect.
Do you think the letter hurt or helped your chances of starting a career in sports?
It’s counter-intuitive, but the email definitely helped. I’ve been contacted by teams in every league from as far away as Manchester, UK and Australia. I’ve had major league GMs reach out and congratulate me. The NFL and NHL have been especially great. The feedback in the sports world has been incredibly positive.
What advice can you give to your peers who might also be trying to break into the sports industry?
The best advice I can give is don’t settle. Be your authentic self. Sometimes it may get you some flack. Then again, it may get you worldwide attention and job offers. Play it how you like. Realize that sometimes you have to take positions beneath your capabilities to break in, and that’s OK. But never compromise yourself.
What message, if any, would you to send to potential employers who were less than impressed with your letter?
First let me say that I never even thought the letter would be seen. From my experience applying to sports jobs, I thought emails and resumes just disappeared into a cavernous void, never to be seen again. That email was nothing but cathartic. It said everything I’ve been wanting to say for years while getting absolutely nowhere. Also, I wasn’t reacting to the rejection. Rejection is a part of life. I was reacting to the scam and premise of the sports sales combine.
I have nothing to say to people that aren’t impressed with me. I’m an incredibly impressive individual, and it’s damn time people noticed.
Taylor Grey Meyer received a bachelor of arts in psychology from the University of South Florida before pursuing graduate studies in sport commerce. In addition to her Padres “counter-offer” email, she has written a children’s book and contributed articles to a magazine. You can find more information about Taylor on her website and follow her on Twitter @taylorgreymeyer.