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From a holiday job to Senior Specialist and three children along the way: rising to almost all of life’s challenges with enthusiasm and Kroschu

Her dad already worked for us. So it is hardly surprising Birgit feels that Kromburg und Schubert – Kroschu for short – has ‘always been part of her life’. It was only logical, therefore, that she experienced virtually every side of our company: as a holiday worker after graduating from high school, then as an international intern in the HR department – at our Uitenhage site in South Africa – during her degree programme in languages, business and cultural studies and later as an intern in the IT department. Ultimately she decided to enrol on a second degree programme, namely in business informatics. A wise decision in our view. After all, her internship in our IT department led onto a position as a working student and soon afterwards to permanent employment as a junior specialist in December 2014.

Birgit now works as an application developer in our IT department, where she was in charge until recently of the complete software life cycle: from conception to programming to test phases, modification and support. ‘Until recently’, we say, as she was determined to switch her focus to another field of activity and is now taking on new challenges within IT as a system engineer in the database team.

Successful progress: not a problem with us, even with three children

Besides her enthusiasm for her position of responsibility, Birgit has also been a mother for several years. She and her husband, who also works in IT, have three children. That comes with a fair few challenges, of course, to balance the needs of work, children and family life.

But we would never have become the company we are today if we did not offer our employees a wealth of opportunities to reconcile the often complex interdependencies of ‘work and life’. But let’s return to Birgit...

Her time as a working student at Kroschu transitioned seamlessly into maternity leave. And once it was over, she was soon given her first permanent position as a junior specialist – with a convenient part-time arrangement of 30 hours per week. Obviously that isn’t enough to reconcile work and family life...

The job, the family, the kindergarten and ... Kroschu

Aside from the option of combining remote and hybrid work along with plenty of leeway in the scheduling of working hours, we support families in particular by offering highly flexible arrangements. A good example would be when the youngest child started kindergarten and found it hard to adapt. We therefore responded quickly and allowed Birgit and her husband to reduce their working hours at short notice to offer their son more support during this period. And we did it very simply, entirely without red tape. It was a huge relief for the two of them: for us it was part of who we are.

Working independently from day one

"I feel totally at home, especially in my team."

Birgit works as a senior specialist in our large and – for us – vital IT department. She has held a responsible position here right from the start and is ultimately in charge of many projects. And although women are thin on the ground in IT, it does not affect the mood in the team or collaboration with her colleagues. Birgit gets on with her ten male colleagues like a house on fire and her relationship with the team leader is “very relaxed and at eye level”. Everyone discusses what they intend to do and then proceed to implementation as they best see fit.

"I was seen and promoted. In eight years: from an intern to senior specialist, with two stints of maternity leave in between."

We promote professional development!

Performance reviews revealed that Birgit was keen to progress in her career. And that is something we welcome and make efforts to ensure at Kroschu. Her wish: to familiarise herself with another new field within IT and to move to the database team.

And she did just that recently. Her main focus will now be on strategic and long-term tasks – including questions such as: which kind of database will we use in future for particular applications? How can we improve our monitoring? These issues are immensely important to us. After all, the IT landscape within our company belongs to our defining features and makes us particularly flexible. Our proprietary operating system and applications enables us to harness and use our data precisely as we see fit.

And we want to pass on this flexibility to our staff. So that they can organise their lives as they see fit. Although there is still lots to do in this area, we are still convinced that we’re on the right track.

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