By Nash Wills, Co-Editor
For all of you romantics out there who are searching for that dream job, I’ve got an inspirational story for you. It’s about someone who many of you probably know. A good friend of mine, and an alumnus of this school, named Drew Himmelreich.
During early March of last school year, I was walking back to my room from the Commons and saw Drew sitting outside of his room, working away at something, and quite intently, if I remember correctly. Whether it was unwanted or not, I decided I would provide him with a distraction, and so I went over to have a chat and to inquire into what held his attention. He was working on an application for a job at Adult Swim, but not in any way that could be described as normal. He was thinking outside of the box. Lying next to him on the ground was a big animated envelope laden with arts and crafts that included a headshot and instructive speech bubbles for the recipient. For someone who had spent the last 3 months applying for jobs—unsuccessfully I might add—through online portals, I was immediately curious to say the least. I took a seat on the ground and thought I’d find out more.
Drew had always been a loyal admirer of the rebellious TV network, both personally and professionally. For those of you who know him, no explanation is needed to see how a brand like Adult Swim would be right up his alley. He had begun to apply for jobs with the company online in early January but to no avail. His mind had been made up though, and he wasn’t going to let an impediment like an online job portal stifle his vision for the future. He told me that, “while it was entirely possible that a career at Adult Swim was not in [his] destiny, he couldn’t pursue anything else with real resolve until he had played all the cards in his hand.” That’s why, while everyone else was on vacation over Spring Break, Drew had been doing research, hashing out business ideas and proposals, designing packages, getting mailing addresses of execs at the company, and writing an article about his quest to be used in a digital campaign.
The packages were really amazing. Each had a cover page with a table of contents, personal and student business cards, cover letter, resume, business challenges facing Adult Swim along with ideas to tackle them, and a references page with company logos. They were designed to grab attention, while at the same time not letting the “visuals overshadow [his] eagerness to be taken seriously as a business professional.” There were a number of envelopes, each addressed to different targeted individuals within the company in the hopes that “sending them to more individuals with different positions and perspectives would increase [his] chances of having some of the packages and their contents be paid attention to.” In connection with trying to reach company execs physically, he also reached out to them digitally via Linkedin and Twitter.
By the time that I walked by his room on that early March day, everything was essentially ready to be shipped off and published. I told him that I would proofread everything, which I did, and that I was excited to see how it all panned out. Times were tough though, and even more so than that, they were fast. I was trying to finish strong in school, was facing an existential crisis in the form of an internship search, and with only a month left in school, Drew’s crusade slowly began to fade towards the back of my mind. That’s not to say that I didn’t keep up with it a little bit. I knew we had published a story about him in Das Tor, that he had launched the digital campaign, and that he had successfully shipped all of the envelopes. I even heard that he had gotten an email response from the President of Cartoon Network/Boomerang/Adult Swim thanking him for the package and informing him that, coincidentally, one of his ideas had actually been recently implemented. That email had led to a phone call with the VP and, eventually to another phone call with someone from HR.
School was coming to a close though, and I had just found out that I was going to Madagascar. In the midst of my relief and jubilation, I said all of my goodbyes to the graduating class, and my mind began to drift off towards the future. I didn’t completely forget about Drew over the following months. Occasionally I wondered about the outcome of his quest, but Madagascar is an isolated place, and by the time I got back to the States, school was only a couple of days away. This is all a prelude however, to say that I was pleasantly surprised, nay, a big smile and a laugh that I couldn’t contain radiated from me, when I got a text message last weekend from Drew informing me that he would be moving to Atlanta at the end of the month to start his job with Adult Swim.
To say that I was happy for him would be an understatement. His story made me believe, at least for the time being, in perseverance; in tenacity; in chasing a dream. But a text message wasn’t sufficient. I needed details, and so I called him to connect the dots, and to find out what serendipitous turn of events had transpired between now and 6 months ago when chance had walked me by his door on the way back from the Commons.
The phone call with the VP and the HR department had seemingly been it. April turned into May, school ended, and graduation was followed by an exodus of familiar faces here on campus. Drew, along with a few classmates, decided to stay for the summer though; at least until he was able to get a better lead on something. At the end of May hope was temporarily restored. He received an email from the HR department at Turner inviting him to participate in an online interview that was due to be completed within 24 hours of the email. Although it went really well and he felt good about it…nothing. A few weeks later he knew his time at Thunderbird was up and so he moved on, back to Houston.
In early August, while perusing the Internet for openings, he thought he would check out Adult Swim again and, lo and behold, found another opening. Fate was either coaxing him or taunting him, but he wasn’t going to let time settle that. Action was needed. He emailed the same exec who had originally thanked him for the package—he hadn’t talked to him since April—and updated him on how everything had unfolded over the previous months, along with telling him that he had found another opening. The result: he was to expect a call soon.
Two weeks later he gets a call from the HR department and gets set up with another digital interview. Again, all goes well, and they tell him that they will get back to him soon about the possibility of another interview. Wait another week, and he gets the call and interviews again. Same result, all goes well and they are going to get back to him again soon.
With his future still mired in uncertainty, he decided to take a trip out to Kansas City to visit a friend. What happened next couldn’t have been drawn up better in Hollywood. I don’t know if Drew is a “switch his phone to airplane mode at the last second” type of guy or not, but regardless, he hadn’t listened to the stewardess’s instructions, and right as the plane was about to lift off, his phone started ringing. It was a Georgia area code, (404). He couldn’t answer though; the flight attendants were perusing the isles. Put yourself in his shoes for a moment, dear reader. Imagine having to spend the next 3 hours, 10,000 feet in the sky, waiting, wondering. Imagine where your mind would take you. I know mine would race back and forth across the entire spectrum of outcomes. And so was the case with Drew’s.
Upon landing the first thing he did was check his email. Bad news: a rejection letter from Adult Swim, but only for the first job—the one that he had originally interviewed for back in May. Did I say that Hollywood couldn’t have written it better? He tried calling the HR department back. No answer. He called again a few more times until finally a non-robotic response emitted from the other end of the line and right there, in the Kansas City airport on Thursday, September 8th, his quest for a dream came to a close. The monotone HR representative, unaware of the circumstances that had led to that moment, was making him an offer to start work the very next month.
And so now you see why, when I got that text message from Drew last weekend informing me of the good news, I couldn’t hold back a smile and a laugh. It’s a great feeling to have, pure joy for a friend who finally gets something that he had always wanted and deserved. When I asked him on the phone about how he felt about the entire experience he told me, “I came to Thunderbird because it’s where I thought I needed to be. I followed my gut and it worked out. I did the same thing with Adult Swim.”
Feature photo courtesy of www.flickr.com