Two years ago, Pam, a then-communications intern at Stories, blogged about what it’s like to work here. I figured two years later, it might help some potential Stories Inc-ers if I shared my story.
In a way, a conference I attended last week inspired this post. There, I sat in on a talk with Sydney Fulkerson, author of The Coffee Run: And Other Internship Need-to-Knows. While her presentation covered more than just coffee runs, it reminded me of the experience a lot of interns have: getting coffee for the higher-ups and photocopying contracts.
And as Pam mentioned in her post, that isn’t the experience at Stories.
When I started my summer internship with two exceptional co-interns, we almost immediately decided that interns wasn’t a fitting name. The word “interns” implies that we’re short-term and, frankly, not valued team members. This couldn’t be further from reality. We renamed ourselves “ninjas.”
Over the summer we decided to showcase our team members’ non-work skills. Jamie happens to have a unique skill that we all wanted to learn: karate.
One Friday morning, the team arrived to the office decked out in workout clothes. We filed into a conference room, to the mystification of the other companies in our coworking space. Jamie, our illustrator and designer, happens to be a karate teacher outside of work. So for the first hour of that morning, Jamie guided us through basic karate moves and exercises. It’s hard for me to imagine many other companies that offer karate lessons (taught by fellow team members!) at work for interns.
Plus, our new karate skills validated our self-proclaimed ninja status.
Karate perks aside, Stories offers an immersive experience that allows for real impact. Fellow students ask me all the time what it’s like to work for a startup. First, I ignore their question and urge them to join a startup so they can find out for themselves. Once I step down from my soapbox, I tell them about Stories.
I tell them that Scott and Lauryn ask for my opinion, I have a say when we hire new team members, and my feedback is encouraged. I tell them about attending the company’s first all-hands meeting, being granted vacation time as I need, and receiving the flexibility my student-work balance requires. Usually their response is “wow” or “holy crap” or a comparable expression of surprise. It’s not what they expect of an internship: it’s so much better than that.
Part of what’s so great is that I knew from the beginning this internship would be great. I talked to the preceding interns about their experiences. Throughout the entire interview process, everyone on the team told me of about how much they valued the ninjas. Stories’ core values were clearly a priority to everyone and team member experience was on top of everybody’s mind. What I heard during the interview process is exactly what I’ve experienced since joining.
I can’t thank the Stories Inc. team enough for not only welcoming me to the team but also for making sure the experience has been unforgettably incredible.