Endless business articles will tell you about how you need to make an impact at work and impress your boss to move up. Yet, most of us feel stuck to our usual 9-to-5 schedules and yearn for a way to make a difference.

Stephen R. Covey, the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People once wrote, "People who end up with the good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to do whatever is necessary to get the job done." 

Perhaps this mantra rings truest for Mark Comeau and Matthew Lane - two former Tesla interns who were personally hired by Elon Musk himself as "professional problem solvers."

How they wow'd Elon

Comeau and Lane, both engineering students, found ways to apply their creativity and determination to make a difference at the company. It all started when they noticed a problem with Model 3 line's gating issue. Rather than waiting around for something to be done, the two gentlemen decided to take charge. According to Lane, they "sort of crashed the meeting with Elon ourselves and presented the idea." 

It was a bold move but paid off as they fixed the gating system six weeks later.

Then, Tesla sent the two interns to solve a problem in a Gigafactory in Nevada-a five-hour drive away. Comeau and Lane were assigned with another issue and solved it in a record two days.

What happened next was unprecedented. The duo met with Musk in person who personally congratulated them for their hard work.

"It was probably one of the most unnerving experiences ever," said Comeau. "Here's the CEO of a company and we're just two young interns, and he was like basically, 'Yup, you guys have to stay.'"

Now, Comeau is a special projects engineer and Lane will join after he finishes his summer semester at school. They seem themselves like firefighters, willing to put out issues when they arise.

Say what you will about Elon Musk. To some, he's the most brilliant entrepreneur of our generation. To others, he's reckless and known for some odd behavior.  Either way, you must admit that this is pretty cool and says a lot about his character and commitment to talent at any level. 

It's interesting to note that Tesla's communication policies are what allowed this event to happen. According to a leaked email, Musk believes that communication should travel through "the shortest path necessary to get the job done, not through the 'chain of command.'" In any other company, the two interns would go through endless barriers to merely get in a word.

Unusual? Yes, but Musk has never been your average entrepreneur. And that atypical mentality certainly applies for the intern path as well.

Published on: May 16, 2018