So you’re interested in an internship at Pearson? Bring your cleats! Pearson softball is just one way you can get to know your colleagues, but it sure is a rewarding one. You will meet some characters, and listening to old friends talk
to each other can make you forget they work together too. Several departments have field teams here in the Upper Saddle River office in New Jersey, and most weeks there are two games a week per team, weather depending. It is a league where determination and hustle are requirements, but you will meet department presidents some days and marketing managers the next, and it is extremely worthwhile.
If you think those hard hours training, sprinting, and the general “beat-you-down-until-you-get-it-right” mentality of high school sports will never impact your life beyond graduation, think again. As much as Pearson makes a strong effort to introduce you to many individuals who can offer you guidance or gainful employment, the softball league is a chance for you to prove you have what it takes outside of the office. Just by going out to play, you show bravery and initiative, and by being yourself you will gain great networking connections and learn about yourself.
Those who know what intercompany softball at Pearson is like will understand. They understand that the end of special workdays is only the beginning. The competition in the office, a battle fought sitting down in swivel chairs, over donuts, coffee, salad and smiles, is over. The smiles invariably remain, but suddenly a layperson will gain a new appreciation of their fellow colleagues. Mild mannered by day, editors, managers, and IT men and women converge at a nearby field to contend for the most prestigious prize that may not fit on your resume: becoming the champion of the Pearson softball league.
Nobody needs to play softball to fit in. It gets really hot, people can’t always make the games, and thanks to celebrations after each loss I usually don’t get home until 9:00pm or later. Yet Pearson softball goes back a long way. Some of the athletes are swamped in the office and do not have the social space to see all their friends regularly except on the field. The trash talk is legendary, and thanks to my “fresh” legs and my own style of play (and an occasional habit of talking about Kieran in the third person) I have been referred to as Rickey “Rocket”Henderson(as well as “the really fast kid”, “that freaking intern”, and most often, “lefty”). I have met Mad Dog, Buehler, and Crazy Legs.
Nothing is more disconcerting in an office environment, with your nice shoes and maybe even a neatly tucked in shirt when suddenly someone dressed with equal aplomb gives you a smile that can only be described as an “I can’t wait to try hit the ball so far over your head you’ll be chasing it for a week” kind of smile, and you instinctually smile back as if to say “Yeah then you better hit it pretty far!” If that sounds slightly sophomoric in maturity to you, that’s because it is. Yet we can’t play by ourselves. The whole community recognizes the importance of all players on each team feeling included and comfortable in the field, and negativity is hardly tolerated.
Winning doesn’t matter. My teammates and I play because it is a chance to spend a few hours in the sun, with people we know and relate to through our work at Pearson. If you want to solidify your standing at Pearson as a lowly intern, or if you don’t know how to begin to network in a professional environment but can heft a bat or toss a ball, I strongly encourage you to explore your department’s softball team. If you don’t know who to ask, talk to your mentor and you may be shocked to hear that he or she might even be the coach! Finally, if you are considering coming to Pearson as an intern, be prepared to have fun with the people you work with, trust your instincts and find your niche. Maybe you will succeed where it seems I most likely won’t; our record is 1-6.