How did you come to ERICH JAEGER?
I started with an apprenticeship here and applied quite traditionally via a job advertisement at the employment office. I had written six applications for completely different professions and was finally invited to an interview at ERICH JAEGER.
Were the other applications also in the engineering field?
No, not at all. They were more in the creative field, such as graphic design or advertising design. At the beginning, I couldn't imagine what "engineering draughtswoman" meant. I didn't realize it was so technical and had so much to do with physics and math - I was never good at that in school. My mother soon went mad. She thought, "For God's sake, now this kid is doing a technical education and has never had anything to do with technology." But I just threw myself in at the deep end. It went well and I enjoyed it.
Did you have the same worries as your mother during your training?
No, strangely enough, not at all. I had the ambition to do it and to succeed. I also really enjoyed it. The first three months were a lot about drawing. I still stood at the drawing board and learned constructions: How do I draw a triangle or a tangent to a circle? This initial period was very intensive, but also totally important for overcoming inhibitions about all the technical content. At the technical college it was even more theoretical, but that somehow suited me.
Where did these inhibitions come from? Do you have the feeling that it's built up unnecessarily during your school years - especially in science subjects?
Totally. It used to be much less common than it is today for girls to pursue a technical profession. I was 16 when I started. And as a 16-year-old girl, I was really an outsider, or rather a rarity.
Did you also feel like an outsider during your training? Or was the image you had in your head from school not confirmed at all?
It was confirmed in that I was the only woman in the class at the technical college. It was a total male domain. In the first year, we shared classes with industrial mechanics. This area is also very male dominated. But even here in the company, during my internship in toolmaking, they didn’t really know what to do with a girl. There were also prejudices. However, this rather challenged me and I developed even more ambition. In the end, everyone can only prove themselves through performance, and this challenge did me a lot of good at that moment.
A challenge not only for you, but also for the company and the technical college at the time...
I had a good forerunner, my trainer. She led my training back then and is still in the company today. She was always a proponent of "women can do it just as well, and why not?" She was also a bit of my role model and motivation - if she can do it, I can do it. But I never perceived the issue as a problem here. It was rather pleasant for everyone that a woman was finally part of the team.
What was it like for you to take on responsibility as a project manager right at the start of your training?
I quickly realized that project management was my thing, and ERICH JAEGER also let me do it. I then worked together with a colleague and that showed success.
After successfully completing your training, you then stood on the other side as a supervisor for trainees. What did this change of perspective show you?
The change of perspective was not so present. At the end of my training, I was already in the thick of things and very involved in the day-to-day business. As a supervisor, it no longer felt like I was on the "other side”.
In 2007, you successfully completed a 4-year further training to become a technician for general mechanical engineering and automation technology. How did you benefit?
It was mainly the challenge of continuing my education for four years while working that I benefited from. Studying on Friday evenings, Saturdays and another day a week and writing exams - all while working. Although I deepened my general technical background, I already knew before the further training that I wanted to go in the direction of project management. I then benefited from the personal sense of achievement and the confirmation that the training brought. Just like self-confidence, time management and leadership skills. ERICH JAEGER was very supportive and cooperated with me when I didn't quite manage to complete my lessons. For example, I was given special leave on exam days.
Which responsibilities have you taken on at ERICH JAEGER since your first training in 2007?
After the further training came the large, international projects, which have to do with all plants and with A-customers. In those, I took over the project management and I still do that today. That was a completely different act, but a challenge that I gladly accepted. At ERICH JAEGER, it is often the case that you have to familiarize yourself independently with completely new content with which you have never had contact before. You get the trust, work your way in and have the opportunity to prove your abilities. That's what I find is the good thing about working here.
You had the opportunity to look at technical development from an economic perspective during the second further training in 2011/2012. What are your most important insights?
The training gave me a completely different perspective on the profession. It was a lot about calculations and cost analyses, operational business relationships and company structures. This helped me in my daily work, especially with product price and production cost calculations, because I was now able to reinforce the background knowledge. After that, I was sent to the purchasing department once a week for a year for a special project to analyze the costs of existing parts.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Organizing and structuring complex issues. That means getting the chaos at the beginning of a project on the right track, deriving to-do lists and putting together task packages. This interest already emerged during my training and has been actively encouraged here ever since.
Your advice for young professionals in general and those who want to start a career at ERICH JAEGER?
Be curious and get involved in new, unfamiliar things. Show commitment - especially here it is recognized and rewarded. If you show that you are "up for it", then you will also move forward here. And, very importantly: don't let prejudices scare you off! Especially as a young person, if you don't really know what you want to do yet: just do it and see what happens.