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When the Intern Wears Socks with Sandals

2016.05.24_Headshots_JACKSON_073_web
Kylen Bailey

Kylen served as a Volunteer Support Intern with Team Rubicon during the summer of 2016 while attending The Ohio State University.

After my first week as an intern at Team Rubicon, my supervisor and Senior Membership Associate Joe Thompson said, “You need to reduce the hours you work.”

He and I were both new to the team and spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to understand all the software platforms used at TR. I absorbed the workload of the HAMmer intern team before my time. My current team – better known as the Big MAKKs – followed the intern tradition of drinking from the firehose.

The Big MAKKs crushing tasks with tenacity at Team Rubicon's National Office.
The Big MAKKs crushing tasks with tenacity at Team Rubicon’s National Office.

The initial struggle prepared me for everything to come. Shortly after wrestling the software platforms, Membership Associate Kate Browne told us, “You’re going to mobilize Greyshirts to Canada for Operation Pay Dirt. Here are your tools. Good luck!” Again, I got in trouble for too many hours that week. Despite hitting every obstacle head on, we got shit done.

During my last week here, I made time to pull the ears of all of the veterans around me. I begin Naval ROTC at The Ohio State University in a month, and I wanted to speak with my supervisors to hear their experiences and leadership lessons on more of a personal level. From stories of battle, transferring knowledge from the field to the workplace, or even recounting nights of partying, I heard things that built a diverse perspective of what this organization is and where it’s going. I am fortunate to be part of a rapidly growing organization with a clear vision.

To say that everyone at TR brings something different to the fight is an understatement.

The collaboration of personalities and unique sets of knowledge wouldn’t work on paper, but it does here. For example, it was the beginning of June when I walked into the office. I made the mistake of wearing socks with sandals, a norm from where I hail. The entire office let me know in a hundred different ways why I looked like a goofball. I recall being shot multiple times by a Nerf gun while trying to mobilize Greyshirts to Canada. It’s a work hard, play hard environment and the personalities make the dynamic that much more amusing and ruthless. Expectations were high, but everyone was willing to jump in and help, even if they were giving me a hard time.

Kylen helped deploy members to Alberta, Canada in the wake of the Fort McMurray fire.
Kylen helped deploy members to Alberta, Canada in the wake of the Fort McMurray fire.

I am thankful for the constructive criticism I received along the way. Whether I wanted it or not at the time, Deputy Director of Membership Pat Ross was going to throw it at me. Joe, a little more discrete, was always there to make sure I was on top of my game. CEO Jake Wood and Wisconsin Badger would just talk shit, no matter what the occasion (Go Buckeyes). Every day someone would be there to help from each department, no matter what. This place truly is a team and strives to improve itself every day.

Thank you to Kate, the Yoda to my Luke, for helping with everything along the way, to Pat, Joe, and David for being mentors and leaders and to Jake for landing me and encouraging me to go after this gig. To everyone in TR, thank you for letting me be on board for this ride.


Got what it takes to join the team? Apply to serve as a kick-ass intern with Team Rubicon.