When I walked into my interview with David Schlocker six months ago, I thought that I had it going on. I had woken up around 30 minutes before the interview, got dressed in three minutes, and when my stepmom wished me good luck as I was walking out the door, I said something outrageously idiotic like, “Thanks, but I’m good at these.” 1) You have to be one pompous kid to throw around such an ambiguous phrase as “I’m good at these.” 2) You’re nineteen years old, somewhat smart, and haven’t gotten the job yet. Get off your high horse.

ben-take-6I wasn’t attending a big university where a microcosm of drugs, alcohol, and sex could give me all the reason to rationalize slacking off, so taking on an internship seemed like the best option at the time.

The interview came around and it went well. We chatted for a bit, I asked him a few things, brown-nosed a bit with my knowledge of American literature, worldly facts, andsports fiction – and I was hired just like that.

David told me that I could start the next day. Oh… he also needed some extra hands for the big office move from Sherman Oaks to North Hollywood.

I didn’t know it at the time, but getting this job at DRS would actually be a pivotal point in my growth and development as a young man. At the time, I was pretty stoked. I have no doubt that I bragged about it to as many people as possible, and my self-esteem had just reached a momentary plateau. The hard work had not yet begun, which made it easy to romanticize my short-lived success of getting getting hired at DRS and Associates.

Jump ahead six months. It’s a Tuesday morning in late June. I was at the office doing research for our media database when I got bombarded with text messages from my friends. (Hopefully David didn’t see me on my phone.) They wanted me to go to the beach. I realized it would take a little while for them to get used to the fact that I worked full-time. I told them that I couldn’t go; that I was busy with work. “Oh, I totally forgot,” they said.

Six months ago, the idea of all my high school buddies hanging out without me would have done a number on me. I would have felt that I was missing out on all the fun, all the goofing around, and all the mystical attraction of girls half-naked on the beach. Even though all of that sounds lovely, and I still try to fit as much of that into my free time as possible, I don’t get that empty “Oh my God, how am I missing this?” feeling anymore.

Things have changed a lot since I worked my first hour with the DRS team. The gates of my career path have been surmounted, responsibility is no longer put on the back burner. No other company would have taken the time and effort to teach me everything that I have learned here, as far as tangible skills sets go.

From learning how to write press material, to calling editors and pitching them a product for one of our new clients, I cannot even begin to explain all the applicable skills that I have learned here. Hey, now I actually know how to write articles where the reader knows what I am trying to convey. Oh, and guess what? My newly acquired skills helped me publish a number of articles for a few all-pro NFL athletes. A step closer to my passion.

All those things wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t started working for DRS. All those things would not have become a reality without the help of David Schlocker, Jennifer Cash, and the rest of the team over here in North Hollywood.

The other afternoon I popped my head into David’s office to bug him for the fifteenth time that day. He was smiling. He knew I was going to say something out of the ordinary as usual.

I looked at him and got serious for a moment (which is sometimes hard to tell with me), and said, “If I get famous, you are going to be the first one that I thank.”

He looked back at me and quietly said, “Thank you Ben. That means a lot. Though always remember to do something that you love. Find that first, and then you will become famous.”

I say some pretty wacky things sometimes, but I was serious. It means the world to me to have the opportunity to work here at DRS. I can’t give back enough to David, Jennifer, and everyone else here who has taught me priceless lessons about life, work, and growing up.

Just a little note of thanks to all my team members:

Natalie H.,
Thank you for teaching me how to stay focused and to grind at work. How to balance socializing and working. Thank you for being so kind to me.

Jon,
I would be the most irresponsible sneakerhead in the world without you. You’re my mentor when it comes to impulsive online spending.

Jocelyn,
In being my virtual team member, I’m not so sure I could recognize you without a Skype window and monitor around your head. Regardless, you have given me insight into what it means to commit to something and indulge yourself in what you do.

Mariakay,
1) You’re a “Beautiful Mess” (Her favorite Jason Mraz song- inside joke). 2) You are the best dog mom in the planet. 3) You have showed me that I can LAUGH at the office – something that I wouldn’t be able to live without.

Natalie S.,
Thank you for your hard work. One of my football coaches once said, “Character shows up when no one is watching.” You proved that to me.

Joellyn,
Not only do you get to the office early and leave late, but you also have an awesome attitude about it. Your positivity rubs off on me.

Jennifer Cash,
Jennifer, you are the best manager that I could ever hope for, and I mean that. I brag to my buddies about how awesome my supervisor is. I could write a whole blog post on how much you help me on a daily basis. I have learned dedication, detail orientation, and many other things. Seriously, I could go on for days about how much I appreciate what you have done for me. You also crack MK and I up… you’re one of the most unintentionally hilarious people that I know.

David,
You know what you do for me.

Even though all of this might seem like a bunch of emotional exaggeration, it’s not. I just care a lot, and by now I hope you understand what working here for the past six months has meant to me. I came to DRS and Associates on December 19th as an eighteen year old kid who needed a job and was a little too full of himself.

Now, if you decide to take a stroll into our North Hollywood offices, you’ll see a far more mature and adult-like version of the kid who started here back in December.

Thank you.