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.
Miles, would you care to elaborate on the topic of ‘doing your best’, especially as it seems that an emphasis is placed on Athens’ Own NEEDS it.
Do you feel that this fully states how you see this, or are there other thoughts with which you may wish to embellish this concept and its place in your internship?
Well, first, I want to say that AO and Constantine not so much actually needs your best, they want YOU to want your best. If you want to do your best, they no longer really need you to do your best, because you already want to. Also, if you join, you will agree right off via the Four Agreements (1. Be impeccable with your word. 2. Don’t take anything personally. 3. Don’t make assumptions. 4. Always do your best.) to do your best. Since you have/will have agreed to do your best, Constantine then expects you to do your best, because you said you would. Thirdly, only you can know what your best is. Regardless of what Constantine sees or says, if you think (and believe, not just say it, but do believe) you are doing your best, and say so, that is all Constantine can ask. Your best is your best.
If you do try your best, it might involve research. Beginning research, like just learning as much about AO before you apply to intern. If you don’t do your research, Constantine can see right off that you don’t always try your best, and I bet you know you didn’t as well.
Yes, you might not know what your best exactly is. No one may have ever asked that of you before (I don’t believe I was asked before AO). Therefore, you may not know what your best is like, or what it means in a given situation. So, just try. If you end up doing your best, and you may not know it while doing it, you might know it afterwards. A feeling of accomplishment, that you know you did your best.
Lastly, if there was nothing said in AO or by Constantine about doing your best, would you just do the bare, bare minimum? Or would you try to do better than that? Maybe, your best, even just to make a good impression?
Yesterday, after that last comment was written, we somehow got on the subject of 4-H, and the boy scouts. I was in 4-H for a many couple of years, and I was asked if I remembered the pledge, motto and slogan. I know the pledge, and the slogan (“learn by doing”) I remembered a little later. Kathy looked up the motto, which for some reason, I had never heard in my years in 4-H. It is “To make the best better”. That’s good. That works with this other running dialogue about doing your best quite well. If you think you are doing your best, why not make that best a bit better?
Next, I did touch a bit in the last reply about best vs minimum. Constantine got from what I wrote in the main part that if he did not say anything about me doing my best, I would do only the minimum. That is not what I meant, but I believe that could have been what I was thinking as I wrote it. Like I said before, if it was not said to do your best, would you do just the minimum? I believe I would go somewhere in the middle, not the minimum needed, nor my absolute best, but I would just do a good job on the task, and I would do it efficiently.
Also, more importantly, Constantine noticed that I put “doing my/your best” under the cons category. He kind of wanted to know why. (I will say that I did say that “it is not so much a con, but is somewhat difficult.) He thought is was more appropriate, and I agree, to just note that your best is needed/wanted/expected and you can decide if that is a con or a pro. If you want a good challenge, then it would probably be a pro for you. If you like to do the minimum, then it would of course be a con. So why did I put it as a con? Again, I think it was more about what I was thinking as I wrote it more than what I really meant. I also think I didn’t use the right words to convey what I exactly meant to say. So, I believe “doing your best” is not really a con at all, but more of just a challenge. It is hard to always try to do your best in everything you do. I think that if it was not for this time at/with AO, I would find quite a bit more difficult to do my best, if it were asked of me in the future. In this environment, it has become almost habit to at least try to do my best at whatever I’m doing. That is a good habit to have, and one that I doubt I would have at all if it weren’t for AO.