For the last few weeks, I have been interviewing potential ambassadors for atlasGO. Most of them ended their interviews by asking me, How did you end up interning at atlasGO or How is the Community? I will try my best to answer these questions in this blog.
Being Belgian, I had heard about atlasGO since its beginning. I remember seeing my friends’ posts on the company’s Facebook page that Tommy created to start the Sweaty Community. As part of my Masters, I had to do an internship abroad. One of the students had interned at atlasGO the previous year and warmly recommended me to do the same. I thought it was a great idea. Nothing could be more exotic than working in a startup, especially one on a different continent, but most importantly for a B Corp. I took the leap, got accepted, and ended up in the GO house starting in April. I honestly don’t think I could have wound up somewhere better (and I am not just saying this to advertise for my employers).
During my first week in San Francisco, my colleagues (now I can say that I have colleagues) asked me what my expectations for the internship were. I answered honestly, telling them that I had been trying not to expect anything because I think that can make breaking your habits way easier. The only thing I felt was fear. I knew the previous intern, and I was scared that I wouldn’t be good enough or wouldn’t be able to perform how they wanted me to. I was scared that I wouldn’t meet their expectations.
Now that I am taking a step back, I can gladly say that I should never have been afraid. Even if being part of a startup means having to face the unknown every step of the way, which makes time very precious, every single one of the employees (even my fellow interns) always took the time to explain to me clearly what I had to do and how. No matter how many questions I would ask, they would be there listening patiently to all the (I hope not-so-dumb) questions I had. But most importantly, if I didn’t do something the way it was supposed to be, IT WAS OKAY! Throughout my internship, I could notice (and I hope I am right) that their trust in me was growing. I was appointed more important tasks. Not only did it made me feel like I could achieve anything for them, but it also made me feel like I truly belonged there, as part of the atlasGO family. I can say without any hesitation that all of my colleagues (whether they were virtual, physical, or interns) were mentors that taught me how to grow not only professionally but also personally. They would integrate me into any activity that would make me learn or discover what their social business/startup world was made of. They brought me to several events where I wasn’t the intern watching in the corner, but I was their colleague participating with them. They were even involved in helping me write my thesis!
In addition to this amazing team that I am really proud to be a part of, I had the chance and the challenge to participate in every single one of the fun runs organized by atlasGO. And I DID IT. I decided that if I worked for atlasGO, I had to sweat for atlasGO. This made me feel healthy, but it also allowed me to meet great people who are part of an amazing community. I like to think that the GO ambassadors became my friends and helped me improve as I was a beginner runner. They even made me want to run alone (which, trust me, isn’t easy).
At last, I would say that, in the end, I am glad I didn’t expect anything from this internship because my hopes would have never been high enough to match the reality. As I am holding back my tears, I realize that I am going back to Belgium grateful, whether it is for the learnings and pride of working in a social business or for being one of the atlasGO funky monkeys.