Weltenwandern für Anfänger*innen

Unsere Mitarbeiterin Judith hat sich in einem dreimonatigen Sabbatical in der klassischen Unternehmenswelt umgeschaut. Die Deutsche Lufthansa – eine ihrer Stationen – hat sich davon zu einem eigenen „Explorers“-Programm inspirieren lassen. In diesem Interview mit ihren Gastgebern berichtet Judith von ihren Erfahrungen.

We met Judith while we were in the middle of redesigning the explorers program for the 11th generation when she visited our department FRA CU (Lufthansa Group Campus) for 2 weeks. Doing so, she was one of our key inspirations for the Summer Camp because this is basically what she was doing with her visit at our department  and other workplaces throughout Germany. We met Judith again last week to interview her about her experiences and to ask her for tips and tricks on how to find and prepare a Summer Camp.

explorers:      Why don’t you introduce yourself first, Judith?

Judith:             Sure! Hi everybody, my name is Judith Hartmann, I am a 34-year-old political scientist and I work for the recruitment agency Talents4Good in Berlin. Talents4Good is a social enterprise that was founded in 2012 and our mission is to recruit the best people for non-profit organisations and thereby enhance their social impact. Among our customers are NGOs like Amnesty International or foundations, the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt. Another thing that we do is to coach individuals from the private sector who would like to continue their career in the non-profit sector and support them in finding – and getting – their dream job in that new field.

explorers:      The 2 weeks within Lufthansa Group Campus were not your only spot for your Summer Camp. Where else did your journey take you?

Judith:             After Lufthansa Group Campus, I went to the communications agency “neues handeln” which focuses on customers from the social and political realm, also for two weeks. Afterwards, I got an insight into the kitchen of a large hotel for a couple of days and worked with a private university in its startup phase. In between these stations, I supported some documentary filmmakers in their research for new film projects and my last stop was a week at a police station in Berlin. All in all, I spent 10 weeks exploring.

explorers:      Wow! That is an incredible journey. How did you decide where to go? Was it just coincidence or did you follow a larger plan?

Judith:             Mhm, I’m too strategic to leave something like this to pure chance but to be honest I didn’t have a larger plan either. My process was as follows: Before the sabbatical, a friend of mine who is also a career coach gave me a great questionnaire that consists of 12 questions that guide you towards your basic – and maybe subconscious – interests. For instance, two of the questions I loved were : “To what kind of event do you go although nobody joins you?”, or “If you were going to an isolated island and could take three objects (food and safety are provided for) – what would you take?”. I answered all questions, wrote my answers down and clustered them. The next thing I did was to ask myself which of these clusters also interested me on a professional level. Lastly, I brainstormed what people in my private and work environment have affiliations to these clusters and asked them for ideas and actual contacts. Another thing I did was to meet up with a couple of great people who know me well, told them about my plans and let them think out loud what they felt might be an interesting experience for me. The stop at the hotel kitchen was a result of one of those exchanges – somebody obviously wished for me to finally get my hands dirty…

explorers:      How did you get the actual spots? How did you approach the companies you wanted to get to know better?

Judith:             Some of the companies I got introduced to by someone I knew. Others I knew myself and just asked them. At the police, I regularly applied for a one-week internship. Whatever way I took: I always made sure the introduction contained a few sentences about myself, why I wanted to do the company visit and what I thought could be interesting for the company – what I had to offer basically. This last aspect is really important: You’re really asking a lot from the company to take you on for such a short amount of time. So you need to tell them what they can expect in return.

explorers:      So now you got your visit confirmed. What happened then? Did you just show up there on the first day?

Judith:             The most professional process was definitely yours, at Lufthansa Group Campus. Here, I was assigned an official mentor (thanks again, Gerd!) that I talked to on the phone several weeks before my visit and we exchanged our expectations. He then designed a kind of timetable for my time at DLH and arranged lots of meetings with interesting people for me. In other companies, there was virtually no communication between making the deal and starting the company visit . Which was also a wonderful exercise – in spontaneity and flexibility.

explorers:      Can you tell us your Top 3 learnings from your journey?

Judith:             Wow, only three? Okay, I’ll try. First, I’ve become very grateful for my work conditions: Starting from the absence of night and weekend shifts, I can work very autonomously compared to others, I have wonderful, supportive colleagues and a job that I believe has a positive impact on our society. Second: Although they were so different, good communication skills seemed to be the key to all the jobs that I took an insight in. Third: It’s absolutely valuable to take a peek into other worlds from time to time because you see and do things differently in your own afterwards.

explorers:      Is there anything else you want to tell the explorers?

Judith:             I think it’s great that you’re taking the chance to do this! From my own experience, I’d say that the stranger the institution to you, the more interesting the visit. So, I would encourage you to pick an institution that is really very different from what you’ve gotten to know so far. And do try to talk to as many people as possible there to take in all the different perspectives.

explorers:      We really enjoyed having you with us and also this interview. Thanks a lot!

Judith:             Thank you for having me – again!