With a little under two weeks remaining in my internship with Cintas Corporation, I can safely say that I have grown both personally and professionally. I have to admit I haven’t fully mastered the art of blogging just yet, so I figured with my last and final blog I’d keep it simple for you. Below I have listed the top five lessons that I have taken away from my 3 months interning at Cintas…
1. Positive Discontent. Out of all the jobs that I have held in my past, Cintas stands as the most culture driven company that I have ever had the chance to work for. The company was built from rags to riches and has created a strong foundational culture in order to maintain that same level of resiliency. The term “positive discontent” is one that has been branded into my brain for the past three months as both an intern and as a partner at Cintas. The term means, never be satisfied with your best and always push for new limits, even if they may not seem attainable at first. This term taught me to always to expect more out of myself as a professional and never stay complacent.
2. Being the Obvious Choice. While the past three months provided me with a good opportunity to learn more about the opportunity with Cintas, It was also a three-month job interview. In any job, time has a tendency to make you complacent. Whenever I felt this complacency coming onto me, I tried to tell myself that every day is an opportunity to make an impression. The greater the impression you can make as an intern the more obvious the choice it will be to hire you as a full time employee.
3. Learning the Business. A company like Cintas has several moving parts that work cohesively as a unit. Each division has separate functions and requires different skills and expertise. As an intern I learned that the most successful people in the company weren’t always the most talented individuals but were the “Cintas Nerds”. They were the ones who studied every facet of the business. As a result, they are better equipped to assess the business as whole of its parts. To attempt to get to this level of expertise I tried to take the time to ask people questions from every department and learn more about everyone’s roles and responsibilities not just that of the sales department.
4. Staying Aggressive. In my role as intern for the sales team I learned that in order to maximize my success, I needed to develop a competitive urgency. This sense of urgency is essential when you are working in an environment that demands positive results on a weekly basis. Out of habit, I learned to sustain an aggressive mindset that allowed me to plow through challenges, roadblocks and objections so that I could reach my goals. This can be tough at times and can burn you out a bit; however, I learned that by consistently staying aggressive you can turn the mindset into a habit and build results driven routines.
5. Looking the Part and Playing the Part. One of the major lessons that I learned from Cintas didn’t directly have to do with my performance or abilities but rather my overall professionalism. Prior to my internship I thought I had a pretty good understanding of the proper business mannerisms and attire. However, after a week or two on the job I quickly learned how naive I truly was in that regard. After some time on the job and a couple brief moments of embarrassment, I learned how to purchase the correct shirt size, the best way to introduce myself to upper-level managers and even learned how to perfect the windsor knot. All of these small details helped me to put on my best front, maximize my first impression on others and not allow the little things to detract or cloud up the substance of my work.
As I noted earlier, the past three months have been a tremendous learning experience. I feel confident that I have made the greatest impression I can and left not regrets on the table. I truly felt that I was at home working at Cintas and hope to sustain a long and successful career with the company!