“You want to feel fulfilled in your day’s work.”
“When I arrived in Griffith, it was about 2006. I was studying the Higher Diploma in Journalism and Media Communications, and in all honesty I wasn’t in a very good place.” David McIntyre’s story starts in a place familiar to anyone who has ever struggled to find the motivation to make it through a work day. Having stumbled into a business degree and then a career in banking, he knew something had to change; he just wasn’t sure what.
“When I was a child, I was a sports nut. I couldn’t read enough, watch enough, play enough sport,” and that was the start of his journey towards a career he could feel excited about. He admits to having realised at a young age that he would never make it as an athlete, “but the next best thing is for someone to pay you to actually go and watch it.” Even after he had sorted out his passion, McIntyre knew he would need a little more than a love of sport to pursue his passion, “and the HDip in Journalism and Media Communications at Griffith College seemed like the perfect fit.” It let him continue on at his full-time job while studying three nights a week.
“Why don’t we give him an opportunity?”
Hearing McIntyre’s story makes it hard to ignore the value of networking and getting in touch with the right people. While studying three nights a week and working full time, he walked into Newstalk and spoke with then-sport editor Jerry O’Sullivan, offering to work weekends at the station for free. “Jerry thought, why not, he seems reasonably normal, so why don’t we give him an opportunity to make the coffee?” McIntyre says with a smile.
Later on in his career, he benefited from his Griffith connections when his former lecturer, Tim Tuomey, was head of Setanta Sports. McIntyre doesn’t mince words as he recounts their conversation. “I remember going in to him and telling him that at some stage over the next six months one of us commentators was going to die, a wife was going to go into labour, or someone was going to get run over by a car, for some reason…he simply was not going to be able to turn up for a commentary at really short notice.”
“Here’s my number,” McIntyre remembers saying, “I’ve absolutely no experience.”
The call came two weeks later.
“Now is the time.”
When his first opportunity to take a full-time sports journalism role arose, McIntyre was still working in the bank. He had just bought a house. The economy was going well and to take the job he’d have to take a massive pay cut and spend most of the week in Waterford, away from his family, his girlfriend, and his new house – all plenty of reasons to say no and stick to the path he was on. Then he had a conversation with his sister, who told him “you can say no, but never ever mention again to any of us that you think you could be a sports broadcaster. We will have no truck for what you say from now on if you say no to this.”
“You need the yes mentality first,” McIntyre says. With that conversation in mind, he took the job in Waterford and spent eighteen months there, learning the ropes and making the mistakes everyone makes in a new job, but ultimately kick-starting his career.
Ultimately, McIntyre says, the key is to identify what you want to do and do everything you can to pursue it.
“If you’re unhappy and you’ve the next 40, 50 years of your working career ahead of you, eventually your head will be in a place that is very unhealthy. There are opportunities out there if you’re willing to upskill, if you’re willing to broaden your horizons, if you’re willing to adopt that yes mentality. I would encourage anyone sitting in this room… to make that change, because dreams can come true.”
Watch David's full speech: