Grantland editor-in-chief and ESPNer Bill Simmons spent nearly 40 minutes of a recent podcast talking about his climb up journalism’s ladder, and how he almost quit the profession twice out of frustration. (He thought that because he had been a four-year sports columnist at the Holy Cross Crusader that he’d get a column right out of college. Instead, he ended up covering high school sports at the Boston Herald before joining AOL Digital Cities and then ESPN.)
Simmons closed his podcast segment this way:
The reason I’m telling that story is because, first of all, everyone always asks me how I ended up here [at ESPN]. But also, I really did almost quit [journalism] twice. I almost quit in ’96, and I almost quit in 2000. I literally almost gave up.
I always get emails from writers who are trying to figure out what to do with their life, or they’re hoping for some break or whatever. There’s really no way to help anybody; there’s no magic sentence to tell somebody. Because, really, it comes down to: are you willing to outwork everybody else? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get a chance? And if you get that chance, how hard are you going to work once you get it? And that’s it. There’s no magic comment other than that. You just have to work harder than anybody else.