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This is the next article out of the series “interview with…” made by vocational trainees and dual students of different Continental plants in Germany. We want to show the world what you can achieve in your professional career at Continental. For weeks we have been searching for employees whose career has started at Continental as a vocational trainee or a dual student and who have made big steps in their career. In this case we interviewed former trainee Konstantin.

How did it all begin?

I was working at the university from which I graduated and I was in charge of the Career Services Center with the goal of establishing contacts with companies for recruitment purposes. There I tried to build a relationship with Continental. In that process, I received a suggestion to apply myself and that’s how my career at Continental began! I first started with a traineeship in Marketing & Sales in tires in Hanover.

What was your funniest experience at Continental?

My funniest experience was at the same time my toughest in retro perspective. I just started working in pricing in Slovenia at the end of my traineeship. In an important calculation for a price comparison with competitors I made a minor mistake, so that our price was higher than it should have been. Consequently our salesmen had to explain the mistake to all our customers. This is in retro perspective also my funniest experience, because sometimes sh** happens. The learning is that it is important to realize if you caused the mistake and not to deflect it or blame it on others. You should instead admit that you made a mistake and propose a solution and move on. That is a culture we have partly at Continental and are trying to strengthen.

What does Continental mean to you as an employer?

I have difficulties seeing Continental as a third party. I do not see myself as a separate part in the organization. I want Continental to be an employer of choice for myself. So I consider me as an employee and as a company in some way. My job is to make sure Continental is an employer of choice – therefore myself, too.

What were your highlights at Continental so far?

My highlight is the experience with the company and its different people, divisions and cultures all around the world. We are a global company with experts everywhere. At the same time we have a lot of locations which are concentrating on people with various backgrounds. This is a parallel to what I have experienced at my university where we had a campus environment with hundreds of nationalities. The vividness of that has been tremendous, especially concerning learning and creativity.

Was there a point in your career when you decided to go another way?

When I was coming back from Slovenia I made a cross move to Human Relations (HR). It is not the logical next step to move from pricing to HR, but for me it made sense. I wanted to focus on the bridge between one part of the company and another. In general at many companies, HR is often seen as a policy making department which does not know the business at all. I want to fill these gaps and help bridging those parts.

How do you manage your work-life-balance? What are your hobbies?

Honestly, it is quite smooth, I don’t have any concern or challenges there. What I do at work is not what I do for the job but for my life. What I do is not a job, but what I am interested in. For example, I read books and listen to audiobooks that have to do a lot with psychology, marketing, and creativity (I studied psychology and literature). And these topics are very relevant for my work. But I read the books out of pleasure, not because they are part of my job. And yet they inspire a lot about my job and the things that we do.

Relaxing for me is looking around and starting to wonder what parallels exists or could be drawn.

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How does your everyday work look like?

I wake up around 5:30, go running and get ready for going to the office. Then I have a couple of meetings in the morning, lunch and again a couple of meetings in afternoon mostly with project members. In between I am working on my E-mails, I also spend a lot of time on ConNext – our internal social collaboration platform -, but I am also checking the news, Twitter and external resources. I am looking for inspiration I can bring in to the company.

What do you recommend Young Professionals?

Set yourself clear goals you want to achieve and which you can measure your progress on as well as create a network of people who are very different from you. So you exchange feedback on your development, learning, motivation and your energy. Seek that feedback actively. We are not talking about formal activities but asking them over lunch. “How did I perform last time?”, “How was my energy?”, “How do you think my energy reacted with the mood in the room?” – things like this help us to adapt ourselves to the needs of our environment and becoming more flexible. This will help to achieve your goals and develop yourself.

Niklas Karow

I started my dual education at Continental in 2015. Since then I am part of the Facebook Content Team Hanover.

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