I have never bought into any of the "poker superstition" like this. Some people absoultely hate pocket jacks. I don't. Sometimes I win with them, sometimes I lose, just like any other hand.
You pretty much just have to know how to play the hand, just like any other... if you attach some stigmata to a hand, then you are probably going to play it badly, hence perpetuating the stigmata.
Specifically, AT is a medium-strength hand. Suited, a little better. I really don't like raising with this hand. Some people hold this hand like they're pocket rockets, and they get all upset when they lose it.
My general strategy with AT:
Normally will just limp in with this at a full table, though I may raise from late position in an unraised pot
All of you work is going to be done on the flop pretty much. About 40% of the time you're going to hit a pair on the flop. Your best bet it so hit a Ten, so you have TPTK. All is not lost if you hit the ace though. You've got the 4th best kicker to a pair of aces, and only two Aces left in the deck, you may very well have the best hand here. Bet or raise the flop to determine where you're at. If you get raised, bail. Most likely you're up against AK or a 2pair/trips.
If you flop 2pair/trips/straight, well you know what to do.
If you hit a straight draw and/or flush draw, chase it down if you get the pot odds
If you hit a pair AND a straight or flush draw, bet it. You may have the best hand, and if not, quite possibly will get there.
Be cautious with top pair with an AT. I see so many people play this hand like they've got the nuts when they pair their ace... bad idea. Straight/flush draws are where this hand thrives, it's not gonna happen every time but it pays off well when it hits.