It’s been already 8 months now, since I changed my job for the first time in my career. After my graduation in late 2012, I spent one year in the German-Tunisian graduate program and then got my first job ever: A Software Engineer at Valeo Switches and Detection Systems in Stuttgart, Germany.
After spending about 2 years at Valeo, I built quite a good first knowledge of what a graduate should know about how a company generally works, starting from functional and hierarchical relations, to meeting customer commitment and only end up with yearly interviews and administrative procedures. I used to develop software in the field of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems, a field that I discovered during my Diploma Thesis and have been found of and dreaming to work in ever since.
At the end of my second year, I started to realize that this job doesn’t really require a lot of human contact. It’s rather about sitting almost the whole time in front of your screen and surfing between technical requirements and lines of code. Doing this quite often and often made me feel some kind of unease and lack of motivation during my working days. Everybody knows that routine kills motivation and creativity. As this does not get along with my personality as an active person always yearning for something new, I started thinking, maybe I’m not meant for this kind of job ? Maybe I should seek some change else where?
Reflections started to build up, I was then thinking, what kind of job do I want to do ? How can I not get bored with your tasks during your working days ? How can I constantly have new different challenges to deal with each day ? How can I make sure to meet new people all the time ? Thanks to some research and enriching talks with my friends who were more experienced than me, I came up with two options: Field Application Engineer or Technical Sales Engineer.
I started then browsing some opportunities in the neighborhood and trying my chance with other companies. I kept receiving negative answers for a good period of time. Until I got the invitation to sit for an interview where I could do my best and prove myself. Such drastic and radical changes are in general not that simple nor easy to handle, because you have to justify how your inadequate profile will meet the new job requirements. If you don’t have a good asset which you can rely on to give a convincing explanation for leaving your core field of competence for another completely foreign, then you will start already with little chances.
I had the chance to get accepted at Bosch, where I once was for my diploma thesis, but in a different subsidiary. The first 6 months were the toughest, really not simple for me, to tell the truth. I had to deal with quite challenging situations from the very first beginning. I had to step in directly in the new world and handle some responsibilities. I had to let go all my R&D reflexes and skills and focus on acquiring new ones. Everything was new, a completely different world, to which I must adjust as quickly as possible.
It’s no more about solving technical problems, it’s no more about understanding software requirements and it’s no more about developing some modules on your small desk. Now I am on the other side of the process. A completely other scope: I have to coordinate between the plant and the technical department, I have to juggle between the technical department, project management people and the customer, and I have to survive explaining logistics problems and possible quality issues in front the customer.
This might sound not very interesting to some, but it was what I am looking for. I am discovering a new face of the corporate world, I am learning new skills I was seeking to learn, and above all, I no longer get bored during my working days. For the simplest reason that the customer will make sure you won’t in the first place, and in the second place as a coordinator and a customer interface, you will meet new people all the time and handle different situations and tasks.
Maybe I left the technical field too early. Maybe I stepped in such a world too early. That might be true. But as far as I am enjoying what I currently do, that might also be not true…