Insight from Germany

Summer trainee Mai-Lan Röllig

The secret of success is to understand the point of view of others. Come together is the beginning, stay together is a progress and work together is success.
Das Geheimnis des Erfolges ist, den Standpunkt des anderen zu verstehen.Zusammenkommen ist ein Beginn, zusammenbleiben ist ein Fortschritt, zusammenarbeiten ist ein Erfolg.
-Henry Ford-

Summer trainee Mai-Lan praises her work and colleagues at Pfungstadt

“Helpful colleagues, harmoniously atmosphere and challenging tasks,” sums up summer trainee Mai-Lan Röllig, 28, her experiences at Pfungstadt location in Germany.

Let Mai-Lan tell about her experiences:

“This summer I took the opportunity to complete my internship, a part of my study (Bachelor of Business Administration), at Metso Paper Pfungstadt in Germany. The goal of this course is to transfer the theory of studying, in the practice and of course to collect new practical experience in a company that is acting worldwide.

Particularly important for me in terms of my specialization in the study, are the areas of HR and Controlling.

…to put it in a nutshell, the value of a company depends on its employees and their performance.”

Collegial, friendly and helpful atmosphere

“My superiors at the workplace are Doris Fischer (HR) and Frank Merl (Controlling). I can learn and support them in their daily work.

Pfungstadt has round about 70 employees, which are employed for different areas of Metso Paper. My first impression in the service center was impressive – the very collegial, friendly and helpful atmosphere and the interaction among the employees conspicuous me directly positive.

“My reaction to the Metso philosophy, which includes an employee oriented engagement next to other principles, was very positive. Especially when I noticed that this principle of management would transfer into the practice. Here it is clear that through an extraordinary commitment from Metso, the employee satisfaction is a significant amount of success.

I learned that this employee satisfaction is supported by the different areas of Human Resources (development, care, management, planning) as well as a positive corporate culture.

Particularly in relation to me, I can work every day with friendly and helpful colleagues, who are also willing to share their knowledge with me. In addition my work contents are interesting, challenging and practice-oriented.

THANK YOU for this very useful experience that I could make at the internship.

Furthermore I would recommend each student which has to complete an internship, to choose Metso. The harmoniously atmosphere and the creation of a link with the theory of the study and practice of working life are only two reasons of my recommendation…the other advantages the new trainees have to find out by themselves.”

Mai-Lan Röllig

Internship at Metso Paper Pfungstadt (Germany) at the period of time 15.7.- 30.9.2013

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A way to not lose it

WHEN I started working here I was very lost. I was enthusiastic and happy, sure, but so lost on the methods of product development. Knowing full well that I hadn’t done anything PD-related during my studies, I was confident that a good attitude and lots of hard work would get me to the fame, wealth and success I’d set as my goals. Working alongside an industrial designer would also be a new, exciting and yet very challenging opportunity, but I’m so social that of course we would get along well and be efficient, bold and beautiful as a team, right?

Lost in R&D

WELL, as an engineering student I’ve solved mathematical problems pretty much all my life. Strict mathematical rules, unambiguously correct answers and cold logic, that’s what I’m good at. However, when getting started on a product development project and in order to create something scientific you have to do things that, at least for me, seem quite unscientific.

“So”, I thought to myself, “where should I start?” Studying, of course! What I wanted to do was fill my head with knowledge on paper manufacturing, since I had to, naturally, possess a far above-average level of expertise on a process before trying to alter it in any way.

Beep! Wrong! You’re supposed to let your thoughts flow out freely, even with minimal to no knowledge on the subject, silly! In all of the few PD-related workshops I’ve attended, the main point has been not to get too caught up in details, at least not in the beginning. It’s also important not to grab on to the first good idea that comes up, since it’s possible you’d have a dozen better ones still on their way.

Of course we would be efficient, bold and beautiful as a team, right?

WHAT ABOUT teamwork, then? My CV says I can work with all kinds of people, so that’s obviously what I do. Just throw in a nice joke every now and then and it’ll be great.

Beeep! Wroong! Even being positive, energetic and extrovert won’t work on everyone, and they might even see it as threatening behavior. On top of that, the stereotypical Finn might think that you’re fake.

Whether the topic is good or bad, the ability to communicate with each other is key practically everywhere. Taking work-related issues personally, getting offended and all that, is just nonsense, and yet it can still happen way too easily. I believe the last time I was, without justification, annoyed by my partner proposing a different approach on something was this morning! Though I’ve improved on many aspects here, I’m still thinking of revising that phrase I have in my CV. But don’t get me wrong – I feel like I can and want to work with all kinds of people, but now I also know that in some cases it ain’t gonna be a walk in the park.

Even being positive, energetic and extrovert won’t work on everyone.

I’VE HONESTLY got a bit of a feeling that I was caught somewhat off-guard this summer. As a man of no clichés I can’t say that it has been an irreplaceable lesson for me, but I’ll say this: it’s better to be confused as a summer trainee, since it’s much more difficult to make things crash, explode and burn now, than it might be later on.

And of course, making errors and being confused is, dear reader, an excellent way of educating oneself.

Life, the Blog and Everything

This summer, my first working for Metso, started off with a pleasant surprise when I first set foot in the office: my name was already on the door! This being my first time doing legitimate office work, you can imagine the pride I took for the accomplishment of having those letters printed somewhere people can see them. I was finally going to be doing something that requires using your brain muscles, very much unlike all the cleaning, loading and lifting work I’ve done on earlier summers. Oh joy!

Now I’ve been working here for six weeks and the product development project I have been and will be wrestling with for the duration of my traineeship is finally beginning to unravel and clarify itself. I’ve also started to get accustomed to the office-lifestyle: excessive daily sitting-times, sweating only when walking up to the 3rd floor right after lunch, and the overwhelming chaos of my desk. Still joyful!

Office work? Sure!

But why blog? A friend of mine once cited a citation cited on a lecture she took:

“How can I know what I think until I see what I’ve written?” (C.A. Foster)

Besides wanting to accomplish this citeception, I can also say that my motives for writing here and now lie within this aphorism. I can have things wander around inside my head for days and not make any sense of them, but whenever I make these thoughts tangible, whether it is by writing, drawing or photography, they can suddenly become crystal clear. I’m very into communicating in all of its aspects: plain old face-to-face talking, chatting, non-verbal stuff like dance, photography and art in general, visual media, music and all the other ways I don’t yet know. A pessimist might view it as awfully selfish to be doing this out of my own will to keep improving, but in the end isn’t that the only reason one would want to challenge himself?

Plus I feel like I and the other bloggers could make this into something real cool.

Even if it requires lots of bad humor and crazyish photos.

Antti Surma-aho
Summer trainee, Product development
Jyväskylä, Finland