Although most people think that we, millennials, don’t pay too much attention to our careers (because, let’s be real, some younger people change jobs more frequently than their socks), I took a very long time to decide where I should start my career. Because why get a job when what you really want is to begin a career?
When I was searching for graduate sales positions, I had a list in my head of what I wanted any prospective employer to offer. This list included an open and friendly workplace, where everyone – regardless of background, gender or nationality – has multiple career paths, extensive training and with mentoring and the opportunity to work in a global environment.
I knew that I was not the only one making these demands. Employers have so many choices and I hoped that my engineering apprenticeship would make me stand out. I already had a deep insight in manufacturing environments, which strengthened my inner desire to get to know other production operations.
Following my apprenticeship, I studied business administration at university, as I aspired to work with both the technical and economic aspects of sales. I also speak three languages – which I hoped would be a benefit for an international company.
When I first saw an ad for the Rockwell Automation Graduate Trainee Programme, I wasn’t sure whether to apply – I didn’t know the company or its products. Sure, Google gave me the instant stats and information about the company and its offerings, but that is not enough to make a decision.
Fortunately, I had an acquaintance who worked at the company who was able to tell me more about the company – more “insider” information than dry facts. He told me that Rockwell Automation is a very dynamic and international company and that I would be speaking to people from all over the world on a daily basis. He also said that though it’s a huge company, everyone’s opinion is valued and everyone is treated equally – regardless of their seniority.
So, armed with this recommendation and my hours of Internet research I applied … and here I am six months later learning my trade with lots of other EMEA graduates.
I have already traveled all over Europe (who doesn’t want to travel for work?) and learned how the company works across many different disciplines. I am working with like-minded graduates from Europe, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and we all get brilliant hands-on experience in the industry.
We are lucky to get advice from the most senior people in the EMEA region – although sometimes we don’t even know who we are talking to. I will give you an example. At my kick-off meeting I engaged in a conversation with a colleague named Susana, who was giving me very useful advice. It was only later that I found out that Susana Gonzalez is the regional vice president sales for Northern Europe!
It is a genuinely nice feeling to know that someone who is so important to the success of Rockwell Automation will take time out of their busy schedules to mentor graduates. It is as if our current company leaders are excited to help develop a future generation of leaders.
The next few months I’ll be working in Brussels and Poland on a graduate project dealing with data-driven services, sales training and workshops. The programme will finish with a nerve-wracking presentation of our project in front of the upper management of the EMEA region.
But it’s not all stressful and serious. From the first day in Brussels to the last day of training – when it finally comes – I am having so much fun working and spending time outside of work with such wonderful people.
Although the team in Austria made fun of me for wearing a tie in the office (I thought “dress down” day was only on Fridays?) I’m so happy I chose this programme.
My goal now is get into a position where I am part of the decision-making process, defining where Rockwell Automation is going to go in the future.
I love the innovative mindset, and I want to be an instrumental part of it. Ultimately, I want to leave a legacy that I can look back on and be proud of!