Today marks the end of Orientation Day at The Timken Company. Hats off to the University relations team for putting together a great program for us; I've been to much shorter programs which felt twice as long. Informative, fun and a great way to get our feet wet the first day.
I took plenty of things away from today, including one of the amazing spare lunches (boxed Honey Baked Ham sandwiches), but what I'm most impressed with is how well they treat their interns. It's a foundation of respect that you feel, even though you're the lowest ones on the totem pole.
I turned out to be quite a successful at all the activities we had participated in today, netting three different gift cards as prizes, but something I wasn't expecting was a live presentation from the CEO and current President: James W. Griffith.
I don't know how many CEO's of companies as large as Timken make time to come to an intern orientation day, but there can't be many. Seeing President Griffith and being able to spend 45 some minutes listening to him speak and then having our own personal Q&A session was awesome. As much as I respected his position before this morning, I respect him that much more for making time for us.
Something that the session with President Griffith reminded me of was an article by Tommy MacWilliam called What I've Learned About Smart People. MacWilliam is a student at Harvard and has had the chance to be around a lot of incredibly intelligent individuals. From this, and the fact he seems to be a pretty bright guy himself, he's noticed that smart people ask questions:
Smart people are different. If they don’t understand something, or even if they think they understand something, they’ll ask questions.
It was this idea that persuaded me to raise my hand and ask President Griffith a question. I don't remember exactly what I asked, it was something about how heavily Timken takes a business's patents into account when looking to acquire that company, but I knew I had to ask something.
That's not to say I wasn't really nervous and scribbled down a draft of my question to get the wording right, but after asking, not only did I feel proud - I also got a great response and direct conversation with the CEO.
Asking questions, especially when you are surrounded by people way smarter than yourself is always going to be intimidating. You don't want to sound stupid, or ask something that isn't relevant, but regardless how nervous you feel, just ask. Make it a good question and ask. It's worth it.
Tomorrow will mark my first actual day of work for The Timken Company. It seems like a decade has passed since I first submitted my application and resumé. I'm ready to dive in. Here we go.