bens-take-inset-350Two months into my tenure at DRS and Associates and the learning process has not ceased to trudge on. This internship is like a class and work environment mixed together, and my desk is at the front row of the classroom. Sometimes throughout a lecture I find myself relating the topic of discussion to my overall development as a young man in this world – pursuing and confronting his inner conflicts and theoretical confusions about life as a growing member of society. Yes. An existential epiphany may not happen while at the office, though all together you must take into account how unexpected it may be to find out something new about yourself through such a seemingly simple action as a phone call.

Making phone calls to strangers can be odd for some people. This week has basically been encompassed with my own little personal “run-ins” with a common communication device – the telephone. One of my projects was to call different publications in order to solidify information within our media tracking system, ACT. Most people are intimidated by the simple act of making a cold call. I treat the phone like it’s my best friend and dial the numbers with an air of confidence. I’ve made my fair share of calls to people that I don’t know through volunteer work. But this week life threw a little curve ball to my ego.

To make a long story short, I was calling a publication to find out a particular bit of information on a member of their staff. Cool and confident, I was in the zone… Until halfway through the conversation, the gentleman on the other end did the unthinkable: he asked me a question. I fumbled over my words, sounding awkward while he continued to ask me the relevance of my original inquiry. I thought to myself, What should I say? What is the “right” thing to do? Following a brief moment of silence I opened my mouth, unfroze and gave him an appropriate answer following my usual phone etiquette. Phew, I thought this was going to be easy.

While growing up I spent many years listening to my father talk “business” with clients over the phone. What they talked about was beyond me. Foreign ground. But when I was on the phone with that gentleman, I realized that phone call was not only a lesson on phone etiquette and professional composure but also my own personal introduction into what folks like to call the “real world.” It took me away from the football field, my senior prom, and the hooligan-like activities of my fellow young men. I was brought, quickly and swiftly into the future of adulthood.