Jason Beem's Thursday Column for August 4, 2022

August 4th, 2022

A good Thursday morning to you all! Wanted to follow up a little bit on last week’s Thursday column today about working in horse racing. You can find last week’s article by clicking here.

If you don’t feel like reading it, I talked about some of the pluses and minuses of working in racing in a seasonal nature and all of the travel and moving that is a part of it.

So today I wanted to follow up by talking a bit more about the topic of working in racing, but from the angle of passion. I always say that it’s a big leap from going to a racing fan or bettor to working in the game. A massive majority of folks in the industry began as fans and decided to make it their occupation. Now there are people who end up in racing who weren’t fans beforehand, but the majority of folks I’ve met, especially those who live the nomadic travel lifestyle in racing, were and are extremely passionate about the game.

I think making your job something you’re extremely passionate about is kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can be truly wonderful to be around the game on a daily basis. You walk into work excited about the day ahead. You feel as though you’re contributing to something that is important to you and important to the people taking part in it. And sometimes, you get to witness great racing moments or just hilarious things that can happen at the track.

The downside of working around your passion is that it can get you down when things aren’t going well. Just like anything, no matter how fun it is, there will be periods when you might be burned out by it. There will most definitely be times when you are upset about decisions made by leaders or management, because even though it’s a business decision to them, it’s sometimes completely emotional for you.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to stay quiet about something (or didn’t stay quiet) that I completely disagreed with and believed was the wrong way to do something. For what it’s worth though, that’s not exclusive to horse racing; that happens in many jobs. But when your passion and livelihood are one in the same, it can amp up the frustration level of such things.

Horse racing is a focal point of my life for 50 weeks a year. I take two weeks of vacation in September each year, and I try my best not to watch a single race. I get off of social media, I don’t look at past performances, nothing. I find that when I crack open that first Brisnet page after vacation, I’m fully ready once again to be immersed. I think breaks are actually really good when it comes to racing or anything that is such a time and energy commitment. That’s something I’ve gotten much better at as I’ve gotten older — learning to take time away, even if it’s something I thoroughly enjoy.

All this said, if horse racing is willing to keep me around, I want to make it my entire career as long as I can. I’ve worked in the industry for 16 years, and there isn’t a day I walk into work where I’m not excited about the races. I’ve worked other jobs and for me, the experience of working in a field and game I’m passionate about is just too good. The other thing is that racing really is my community, and I know for a lot of people that is the case. If I woke up tomorrow and didn’t have racing, I truly think I’d be lost for a while.

Racing needs people who care about it in the game. At any and every level. Personally, I just don’t have time for people in racing who don’t truly care anymore. So I’ll end by telling you how I replied to the emailer I talked about last week who said he wanted to work in racing.

“If you’re passionate and you care about racing, then jump in. Only thing I can guarantee is that it won't be boring.” As someone who is addicted to action, it’s a great job to me.