This post is to inform potential future interns as to what Athens’ Own is like, and what they are getting into.
First, I want to say to you, potential intern, good choice in even looking at Athens’ Own! I know that if I were again looking for an internship or a job, (on the surface) little Athens’ Own, with no “big” presence would not be my first choice. But, AO is a lot more than that, and I will get to why. As for pros and cons of AO, there are many. I think I’ll start with cons:
The first of the cons is time. A lot of time will be asked of you, maybe even 6 days a week, if you are available that much. If you include some homework in your personal home time, 7 days a week. That can be hard and tiring, I know. Next, not so much a con, but is somewhat difficult, your best is ALWAYS needed. Unlike other places where your best may not be needed, or even wanted, AO needs you to always try to do your best, whatever that might be. My next point is when you don’t do you best, the “boss-man” Constantine will probably notice, then he will probably say something. He can be quite demanding at times, but only because he wants you to “grow”, and for you to do that by doing your best. Yes, those are really only two cons, but they are big ones, difficult ones to get over/through.
As for the pros, well there are more of them than the cons. The first is learning. You can learn (if you want to) so much with AO, so much more than school. Yes, MAYBE half the stuff you learn here you already learned in school, but here you can really apply it. You can hone the skills you learned before and understand them better, because you are applying them to/in the real world and not in a class room. There is also the variety. Each week, there will be different things to do. Monday might be accounts. Tuesday is production packaging and deliveries. Wednesday could be web work. Saturday is usually the farmer’s market. Every day varies. True, you could maybe call that a con, but I like that variety. You are constantly learning and doing different things. There is no real constant every day, same thing schedule. Along with that, if you have, say, a school schedule Constantine is very, very willing to work around and with whatever time you have, or that you want to commit. That can be a real plus.
As to why AO is a lot more than just a small business, I can try to elaborate on that. AO is involved with so many things that I can’t really go into much detail about any of it, but one part is that AO works to build community. AO and Constantine do that by collaborating with other local businesses like Jackie O’s, Seaman’s, and Bagel Street Deli, just to name a few, in so many ways. That part is so big, I can’t really go any bigger in this small log, just read more on the rest of the AO site to learn more, or join and become an intern to get the full, completeness of it all. Another thing AO does is just plain education. AO and Constantine teaches stuff that you don’t learn in school. The main reason behind the education part is that Constantine believes the current education system is lacking by not training/teaching students things they really need to know once they leave that school (high school or college). Constantine address that by taking that stuff and applying it in the real world, something you don’t/won’t get in the class room. (If you think he is wrong in that belief, I DO think you should intern and see if you/he is right/wrong)
You might say “well, you aren’t still with AO, so why aren’t you? Why should I start with AO?” Good observation and good point. I first worked with AO a couple of years ago for a few years, mainly just at the farmer’s market. Recently, maybe about 8-9-10 months ago, Constantine asked if I would like to return to AO and I said yes, I would. So I did. Now after those (great) 9ish months, I just felt it was time to move on. It was not that I hated Constantine for some reason, or that I got sick of the work, nothing like that. I just felt I needed to move on. If I were given the opportunity to trade all that time for something else, I wouldn’t. Ever. I am quite glad I had all that time with AO. I learned a lot, made a lot of new friends, among lots of other things.
Finally and overall, interning/working with Athens’ Own can be quite demanding and somewhat stressful, but it is well worth it. I believe even if you just come a month or two, you should by all means, DO IT. You certainly might decide AO is not for you, and you will leave. Multiple people have already done that, but to my knowledge, none of them dislike AO, or wish they hadn’t done it. I will see them around town now and then and they are just a pleasant now as they were then, with no obvious dislike of me or AO. So, it will be tough, but it is very much worth it, and so I do encourage you to join AO. It is worth it.