Anyone who chooses a career as a consultant needs one thing above all besides a head for figures and plenty of experience: self-confidence. As having been to university is not enough to be able to optimise processes and projects. You have to be able to convince people in particular that proposals make sense in the long-term. Tatjana Karlej knows just how to gain self-confidence in a male domain like industrial engineering as a woman and mother of two children and still be true to yourself.
"What was crucial to me when choosing a career was that I was doing exactly what I enjoy and what inspires me. I wanted to do something that combines technology and industry right from the start. Because I have a keen interest in both of them. However, at that time it hadn't even crossed my mind that there are unfortunately only a few women in this sector. It wasn't therefore an issue for me when choosing my career, it wasn't about me doing a man's job but about fulfilling myself," says the 36-year old industrial engineer.
The fact that self-fulfilment wasn't that easy at the start was not necessarily due to the job itself, according to Karlej, but more the lack of experience. "If it had been up to me, I would like to have done a sandwich course right from the start. But as a mother of two children it just wasn't possible with the working models back then. So I completed a normal course even though I actually knew that practical experience would be important." Luckily she then got the necessary practice with the employer of her choice. "After studying in Munich I then got to know EDAG and the consultancy service brand Feynsinn at an engineering trade fair and was instantly inspired. The areas of work there, complete vehicle development, plant engineering and process consulting, were exactly the things that interested me. I attended an interview at Feynsinn the day after and was appointed as Process Consultant. Probably also because they noticed that I really wanted the job and because I knew that I would do a good job."
It was clear to Tatjana Karlej right from the start that self-confidence would be the start to her career. However, the fact that you don't necessarily have to gain confidence in yourself and your abilities on your own but can be bolstered up best by your team colleagues is something she is still experiencing at EDAG today. "Naturally I had a great deal of respect for the work at EDAG at the start. But what is special about our corporate culture is that you're not given the chance to have any inhibitions even at the start. They are immediately removed because people approach you directly without any reservations, take you by the hand and support you. I immediately had an experienced colleague by my side with my first tasks, who not only showed me how to do the job but motivated me to gradually take responsibility for tackling the tasks on my own," says Tatjana Karlej.
According to Karlej, self-confidence is mainly a question of acceptance. And this is exceptionally high within the company. "The support that you get here is not just with regards to the work but also the way in which you work. You get support here for all issues and way beyond all the corporate divisions too. And the main thing that we rely on here is trust. As a mother, for example, I need more time than my colleagues to be able to juggle organising my family and work. As a result I can schedule my hours very flexibly. This is also about trusting my colleagues to talk to me. I take responsibility for both with my time management, the good projects that we complete for our customers and likewise for my family. And I only get the trust that is placed in me because they know that both are equally important to me."
According to Tatjana Karlej, acceptance and trust are the values that you should always consider when starting a career today. "I believe that you usually end up in a job that you don't enjoy as much if you don't trust your own abilities. "I have learnt here at Feynsinn / EDAG that work is only so enjoyable partly because it is of no interest to anyone who you are and where you come from. The only thing that matters and ultimately ensures a good atmosphere and enthusiasm at work is that you concentrate on your area of work. And that you're good at what you do. As every door is open here at EDAG and you can achieve a great deal. Whether we are a better employer than other companies as a result, I can't say. But for me at least working at EDAG is simply the best job there is!"