After four years of studying the ad industry with scrutiny, I was prepared for my start to be tough. I was braced for the most menial of tasks, ready to pick up soy lattes for my whole department. I was prepared to do meaningless assignments that would give me no real exposure, work late to get them done and have them ignored the next day. That was how things worked, and I had to do my time as a cog in the machine. Didn't I?
I've been here three months, and sometimes I still question it. Where is the horrible, political ad world I've heard about, where you don't get to write a TV spot unless you've already won an award for a TV spot? Why am I sitting in the Santa Monica sun, drinking a beer, and writing a Super Bowl ad? Why do I get this much face time with people who have Cannes Lions in their office, years of experience under their belt, and water-cooler conversations about Louie C.K.?
The answer is because great people work here. They believe in you, and they believe in good ideas. They give you opportunities to show your character and to own your work. And they're too wrapped up in incredible things to immerse themselves in politics.
RPA is the opposite of what you expect, the pleasant surprise. Like when you order the meatloaf and instead receive filet mignon with a side of yucca fries (assume we're in heaven, here). It is a place where ad rules were made to be broken, because most of them suck anyway. It is a place where a recent graduate can find opportunities to write taglines for big brands, TV spots for new launches, and Twitter posts for a mythical creature. People work here for decades, simply because no one wants to leave.
Thanks to RPA, I am a 22-year-old who still can't make coffee. I don't have a clue how many sugars Joe Baratelli likes. And it's awesome.