Marianne Bom & Rie Jerichow, Publicér

Johnny Tuan Nguyen, Christina Berg Olesen and Pernille Gylling Jensen each tell about what it is like to be new in the workforce at MOE, NIRAS and FMC Corporation, respectively.

New job, new colleagues, new home, new city

It might be a bit of a leap to leave all your friends in Aalborg to get a job in Copenhagen, but for Johnny Tuan Nguyen, an engineer in the consulting engineering company MOE, it has only been a good experience. Private photo.

When Johnny Tuan Nguyen graduated from Aalborg University in February 2019 and could call himself a bachelor in engineering within building and construction with a major in road and traffic planning, it did not change much in his everyday life. As it happened, Johnny continued as an engineer in a project position in COWI, where he had previously worked as a student helper.

It was a bigger leap when his project position ended in the summer of 2019, and Johnny moved to Copenhagen to start at the consulting engineering company MOE. Here, he talks about his experiences.

Excited expectations
“A lot of people told me it was quite a leap to move from Aalborg, where I had all my friends, to Copenhagen, where I barely knew anyone. They may be right, because I had a lot of hobbies in Aalborg, and a lot of great friends with very different ways of thinking and views on life. I was scared of losing it all by moving to Copenhagen. I may also have had a fear that people would be more snobbish and secluded here in Copenhagen, but I quickly realised that there was not a very big difference. I have in no way regretted taking the leap. Of course it sucks to lose some of what I had, but I look at it as a new ­chapter in my life. I am in good hands, and I have met some lovely people that I would like to continue with.”

The start is energy consuming
“I had been deeply involved in the tasks as a student helper. Therefore, there wasn’t a big difference between being a student and graduating. I got a higher salary, a bit more responsibility, and some more tasks, but work wise, it was almost the same. When I came to Copenhagen, I chose to move into a collective, where I would automatically meet new people. I was a bit surprised about how much energy it takes to move to a new city, meet new people, and start up in a collective. I am less productive in my free time, because I engage more socially. I am very active by nature, and like to climb and paint pottery, but there has not been a lot of time for that so far.”

Open colleagues
“I have good colleagues at MOE. They have treated me nicely, so it hasn’t been a problem for me to feel at home in a new workplace. Generally, you are very open to each other here in the company, and I have already been to several social events and parties.”

Varied days
“My days are very different. I like variation in things, and that there is a difference between being in the office and getting into the real world, so I can honestly say that I look forward to working every day. I look forward to getting smarter and completing the tasks I am given. I don’t mind working at all, and I am not the type to look at the clock – so my daily life is good.”

The biggest surprise
“It all surprised me. The culture, the city, the people. All of it in a good way. I have definitely not experienced anything negative – except maybe having my bike lights stolen. No, I am kidding – it has been a good experience all the way through.”

A lot to learn and more responsibility

Christina Berg Olesen has had an internship and a study job in the consultancy sector, so the transition from being a student to an engineer at NIRAS didn’t give that many surprises. She is however well aware that she still has a lot to learn. Private photo.

Christina Berg Olesen studied at Aarhus University, where she first got a bachelor in engineering in bioprocess technology before going on to get a master of science in environment technology. She finished in the summer of 2017. Along the way, she had a study job at COWI. She worked there until May 2018, when she was hired by NIRAS.

Read about her experiences from her first year on the workforce here:

Hopeful expectations
“My expectations were probably classic. I hoped to now go into the world and make a difference, and use everything I had learned in the last five or six years at university. At the same time, I expected to learn a lot of new stuff. It was my belief that in the field of counselling you work on a very broad spectrum of projects, so you constantly have a chance to broaden your professional profile. I was excited about getting a workday and a relation to my field, where I was going to do something that others could use and appreciate, and not have a primary goal of an exam. And then I probably looked forward to not being a ‘poor’ student.”

Gliding start
“I have previously been in an internship and had a study job in the field of counselling, so the transition from student to graduate did not surprise me much. I was fairly prepared for what awaited me, and what it entailed. But there was still a lot new stuff to learn. So I put a lot of work into the projects, and sometimes it ended up being long afternoons or nights. So even if I have now been done for two years, I still come across a lot of new tasks, and the days can still become long when you are buried in something new.”

Helpful colleagues
“I am happy about my colleagues, and it has made a big difference in my workday. In both companies, there has been a good mix of young people and more experienced people, and I like that. Both places also had good introduction periods for new employees – so-called onboarding, where you are taken by the hand in a planned process. It included meetings every so often where you evaluate with your boss.”

Commitment every day
“My life has not changed that much. I have stayed where I am, in Aarhus, so my free time and my friends are practically the same as when I studied. But my everyday life has still changed. I am not as much in charge of my own time as I was while I studied. Because even if the engineering courses and lectures expect you to study from 8-4, I usually decided for myself, and was able to control my day a lot. Now there is a lot more commitment, but I can, on the other hand, spend my free time with a good conscience when I have done my job. As a student, you can always do more.”

The biggest surprise
“It still surprised me how many new areas and work processes I came across. You can’t get to know everything during university. For instance, I had to read up on procedures and conditions in relation to open procurement, and there are a lot of laws that are new to me, and that are different from project to project. But I think it is exciting to work so broadly within my field and constantly learn new stuff.”

Butterflies in the stomach

Pernille Gylling Jensen is a production engineer in the American chemistry company FMC Corporation in Harboøre. It is not completely a man’s world – but almost. Of the circa 230 employees in the ­production, only three are women. Private photo.

When Pernille Gylling Jensen graduated in the summer of 2018 as a chemistry engineer from Aalborg University, she was excited about getting into the real world, and experiencing that someone could use everything she had learned. The first of october same year, she started as a production engineer at Harboøre Tange in the American chemistry company, FMC Corporation Site Rønland, that produces plant protection products. These are her experiences from the first while.

Mixed expectations
“I had learnt a lot in the five years at university, and was looking forwards to using my knowledge. But it was also overwhelming, and I was honestly a bit scared when I had to start.
It all went fairly quickly, because it was only ten days from when I was hired to when I had to start. In that period, I had to move from Aalborg to Holstebro and get track of my life. I can remember that I was especially worried that I could not understand the dialect. Site Rønland is in between Harboøre and Thyborøn – out in the west. I probably also had butterflies in my stomach because I was worried I didn’t know enough. My position included a lot of responsibility, and I had no experience. But since then, my boss has told me that I knocked their socks off, and I also think it went fairly well.”

Flying colours
“My worries turned out to be correct. I did actually have a hard time understanding what a lot of people said, because it is not just the dialect that is different. They use some completely different expressions. Today, I no longer have difficulties understanding what my colleagues say. I have actually started to speak like them a bit. Up here, you say ‘quite’ about everything. So when you say ‘it is quite bad weather today’, it means ‘it is very bad weather today’. That took some time for me to get used to. There were two new production engineers that started at the same time, and there was a detailed starting program planned that made sure we got through the production. We were taken by the hand and introduced to all departments – even the departments we were not going to work in. This gave me an extensive knowledge of the entire factory.”

Male coworkers
“I have very nice colleagues, but I am in a man’s world. There are about 230 people in the production and only three are women, so we stick together. It is lucky that we get along so well, when I don’t have so many shots. I think I behave a bit like a man in that company, and I am fine with that, because I don’t care for girly stuff. That is why I don’t think much about how all my colleagues are men.”

Happy days
“Every day, I get up happy, and go to work. The shift from being a student to going to work has been really positive. Not that I was not happy about studying, but I was excited about getting into the real world. I needed it to matter what I did. And, here, it matters that I make the right decisions. It is vital for the plants to keep going. I like for people to call and ask for my help, because they appreciate it and say thanks. I did not experience that a lot at university, but it is awesome.”

The biggest surprise
“The biggest surprise was probably the level of responsibility. I had hoped to get a position with responsibility, but the level of responsibility I have gotten is high. There are so many that are dependent on me, and my decisions matter. It does not work for me to say ‘just try, and then we will see how it ends’. That never happens. It has also been a new experience to join an American company with a lot of formalities.”

Marianne Bom & Rie Jerichow, Publicér

Johnny Tuan Nguyen, Christina Berg Olesen og Pernille Gylling Jensen fortæller hver især om hvordan det er at være ny på arbejdsmarkedet hos henholdsvis MOE, NIRAS og FMC Corporation.

Nyt job, nye kolleger, ny bolig, ny by

Johnny Tuan Nguyen er fagingeniør hos den rådgivende ingeniørvirksomhed MOE. Han forlod Aalborg og alle vennerne for at få jobbet i København, men det har kun været en god ­oplevelse. Privatfoto.

Da Johnny Tuan Nguyen i februar 2019 fik sit eksamensbevis fra Aalborg Universitet og herefter kunne kalde sig diplomingeniør inden for byggeri og anlæg med speciale i vej og trafikplanlægning, rokkede det ikke meget ved hans hverdag. Johnny fortsatte nemlig som ingeniør i en projektstilling hos COWI, hvor han umiddelbart inden havde arbejdet som studentermedhjælper.

Noget større var springet, da hans projektstilling udløb i sommeren 2019, og Johnny flyttede til København for at starte som fagingeniør hos den rådgivende ingeniørvirksomhed MOE. Her fortæller han om sine erfaringer.

Spændt forventning
“Der var mange, der sagde til mig, at det var lidt af et spring at flytte fra Aalborg, hvor jeg havde alle mine venner, og til København, hvor jeg stort set ikke kendte nogen. Det kunne de have ret i, for jeg havde mange hobbyer i Aalborg og mange dejlige venner med meget forskellige tankegange og syn på livet. Jeg var bange for at miste det hele ved at flytte til København. Jeg havde måske også en frygt for, at man nok ville være mere snobbet og indelukket her i København, men jeg fandt hurtigt ud af, at der ikke var så stor forskel.

Jeg har på ingen måde fortrudt, at jeg tog springet. Selvfølgelig er det ærgerligt at miste noget af det, jeg havde, men jeg ser det som et nyt kapitel i mit liv. Jeg er kommet i gode hænder, og jeg har mødt nogle dejlige mennesker, som jeg godt kunne tænke mig at fortsætte med.”

Starten kræver energi
“Jeg havde været dybt involveret i arbejdsopgaverne som studentermedhjælper. Derfor var der ikke den store forskel på at være studerende og færdiguddannet. Jeg fik en højere løn, lidt mere ansvar og nogle flere opgaver, men arbejdsmæssigt var det næsten det samme.

Da jeg kom til København, valgte jeg at flytte ind i et bofællesskab, hvor jeg automatisk ville møde nye mennesker. Jeg har været lidt overrasket over hvor meget energi det kræver at flytte by, møde nye mennesker og starte op i et bofællesskab. Jeg er mindre produktiv i min fritid, fordi jeg engagerer mig mere socialt.

Jeg er meget aktiv af natur og er for eksempel glad for at klatre og male keramik, men det har der ikke været meget tid til indtil videre.”

Åbne kolleger
“Jeg har gode kolleger hos MOE. De har taget pænt imod mig, så det har ikke været noget problem for mig at finde mig til rette på en ny arbejdsplads. Generelt er man meget åben over for hinanden her i virksomheden, og jeg har allerede været med til flere sociale arrangementer og fester.”

Varieret hverdag
“Mine dage er meget forskellige. Jeg kan godt lide variation i tingene og at der er en afveksling mellem at være på kontoret og komme ud i virkeligheden, så jeg kan sige helt ærligt, at jeg glæder mig til at komme på arbejde hver dag. Jeg glæder mig også til at blive klogere og til at opfylde de opgaver, jeg bliver stillet. Jeg har slet ikke noget imod at arbejde, og jeg er ikke typen, der kigger på uret – så min hverdag, den er god.”

Den største overraskelse
“Det hele har overrasket mig. Kulturen, byen, menneskerne. Alt sammen på den gode måde. Jeg har i hvert fald ikke oplevet noget negativt – det skulle da lige være, at jeg fik stjålet mine cykellygter. Nej, pjat – det har været en god oplevelse hele vejen igennem.”

Meget nyt at lære og mere ansvar

Christina Berg Olesen har tidligere været i praktik og haft studiejob i rådgiverbranchen, så overgangen fra at være studerende til at være færdig ingeniør hos NIRAS gav ikke så mange over­raskelser. Men hun er godt klar over, at hun stadig har meget nyt at lære. Privatfoto.

Christina Berg Olesen er uddannet fra Aarhus Universitet, hvor hun tog en diplomingeniøruddannelse inden for bioprocesteknologi, før hun læste videre til civilingeniør i miljøteknologi og dimitterede i sommeren 2017. Undervejs i studiet har hun haft et studiejob hos COWI, hvor hun arbejdede frem til maj 2018, hvor hun blev ansat hos NIRAS.

Læs her om hendes erfaringer fra de første år på arbejdsmarkedet.

Håbefulde forventninger
”Mine forventninger var nok meget klassiske. Jeg håbede, at jeg nu skulle ud og gøre en forskel og bruge alt det, jeg havde lært de seneste 5-6 år på universitetet. Samtidig regnede jeg nok også med, at jeg skulle lære en masse nyt. Det var min fornemmelse, at man i rådgiverbranchen arbejder inden for et virkelig bredt spektrum af projekter, så man hele tiden har mulighed for at udvide sin faglige profil. Jeg glædede mig til at få en arbejdsdag og en relation til mit fag, hvor jeg skulle lave noget, som andre kunne bruge og sætte pris på, og ikke have som det primære mål, at jeg i sidste ende skulle op til en eksamen. Og så så jeg nok også frem til ikke længere at skulle være en ’fattig’ studerende.”

Glidende start
”Jeg har tidligere både været i praktik og haft studiejob i rådgiverbranchen, så overgangen fra at være studerende til at være færdig gav nok ikke så mange overraskelser. Jeg var temmelig forberedt på, hvad der ventede mig og hvad det indebar. Der var dog stadig meget nyt at lære. Så der blev lagt meget arbejde i projekterne, og nogle gange blev det til lange eftermiddage eller aftener. Og selv om jeg nu har været færdig i to år, møder jeg fortsat mange nye opgaver, og dagene kan stadig blive lange, når man fordyber sig i noget nyt.”

Hjælpsomme kolleger
”Jeg er glad for mine kolleger, og det har en stor betydning for min arbejdsdag. I begge virksomheder har der været en god blanding af unge og mere erfarne, og det kan jeg godt lide. Begge steder har der også været gode introduktionsforløb for nyansatte, såkaldt onboarding, hvor man bliver taget i hånden i et planlagt forløb. Det indebærer for eksempel, at der er tilrettelagt faste møder, hvor man evaluerer med sin chef.”

Forpligtende hverdag
”Mit liv har ikke ændret sig voldsomt meget. Jeg er blevet boende i Aarhus, så min fritid og mine venner er stort set de samme, som da jeg læste. Men min hverdag har alligevel forandret sig. Jeg er ikke helt lige så meget min egen herre, som da jeg var studerende. For selv om ingeniørstudiet og undervisningen lægger meget op til, at man studerer fra 8-16, så stod man ofte mest til regnskab over for sig selv og kunne i vid udstrækning kontrollere sin dag. Nu er jeg langt mere forpligtet, men kan til gengæld holde fri med god samvittighed, når jeg har passet mit arbejde. Som studerende kan man altid lave mere.”

Den største overraskelse
”Det kom nok alligevel bag på mig, hvor mange nye områder og arbejdsprocesser, jeg er blevet mødt med. Man kan jo ikke stifte bekendtskab med det hele på universitetet. For eksempel har jeg skullet sætte mig ind i procedurer og forhold omkring udbudsprojekter, og der er en masse lovgivning, som er ny for mig, og som er forskellig fra projekt til projekt. Men jeg synes, at det er spændende at arbejde så bredt med mit fag og hele tiden lære nyt.”

Sommerfugle i maven

Pernille Gylling Jensen er produktionsingeniør hos den amerikanske kemivirksomhed FMC Corporation i Harboøre. Det er ikke en ren mandeverden – men næsten. Af de ca. 230 ansatte i produktionen er kun tre kvinder. Privatfoto.

Da Pernille Gylling Jensen i sommeren 2018 var færdig kemiingeniør fra Aalborg Universitet, glædede hun sig til at komme ud i virkeligheden og opleve, at nogle kunne bruge alt det, hun havde lært. Den 1. oktober samme år begyndte hun som produktionsingeniør på Harboøre Tange hos den amerikanske kemivirksomhed FMC Corporation Site Rønland, der pro­ducerer plantebeskyttelsesmidler. Her er hendes erfaringer fra den første tid.

Blandede forventninger
”Jeg havde lært en masse i de fem år på universitetet, og det glædede jeg mig til at bruge. Men det var også overvældende, og jeg var ærlig talt en anelse skræmt, da jeg skulle starte. Det hele gik ret stærkt, for der gik kun ti dage, fra jeg blev ansat, til jeg skulle starte. I den periode skulle jeg også flytte fra Aalborg til Holstebro og have styr på hele mit liv. Jeg kan huske, at jeg især var bekymret for, at jeg ikke kunne forstå dialekten. Site Rønland ligger jo mellem Harboøre og Thyborøn – det er helt ude i vest. Jeg havde nok også sommerfugle i maven, fordi jeg var bange for, at jeg ikke kunne nok. Min stilling indebærer meget ansvar, og jeg havde jo ingen erfaring. Men siden har min chef sagt, at jeg gik ind i dem allesammen med træsko på, og jeg synes også selv, at det er gået ret godt.”

Flyvende start
”Mine bange anelser viste sig at holde stik. Jeg havde faktisk svært ved at forstå, hvad mange sagde, for det er ikke kun dialekten, der er anderledes. De bruger også nogle helt andre udtryk. I dag har jeg ikke længere problemer med at forstå, hvad mine kolleger siger. Jeg er faktisk selv begyndt at snakke lidt vestjysk. Heroppe siger man for eksempel ’ret’ til alting. Så når man siger: ’Det er ret dårligt vejle i dag’, betyder det: ’Det er temmelig dårligt vejr i dag’. Det tog mig lige lidt tid at vænne mig til. Vi var to nye produktionsingeniører, der startede samtidig, og der var lagt et detaljeret opstartsprogram, der sikrede, at vi kom rundt i produktionen. Vi blev holdt i hånden og blev introduceret til alle afdelinger – også alle de afdelinger, vi ikke skulle arbejde i. Det har givet mig et virkelig godt kendskab til hele fabrikken.”

Mandlige kolleger
”Jeg har meget søde kolleger, men jeg er endt i en mandeverden. Vi er vel 230 i produktionen, og vi er kun tre kvinder, så vi holder sammen. Det er ret heldigt, at vi kommer så godt ud af det, når jeg ikke havde mange skud i bøssen. Jeg tror, at jeg opfører mig lidt som en mand i det selskab, og det passer mig meget godt, for jeg er ikke så meget til tøsefnidder. Derfor tænker jeg i hverdagen nok heller ikke ret meget over, at alle mine nærmeste kolleger er mænd.”

Glad hverdag
”Hver dag står jeg glad op og går på arbejde. Skiftet fra at være studerende til at gå på arbejde har været virkelig ­positivt. Ikke at jeg ikke var glad for at gå på universitetet, men jeg glædede mig til at komme ud i virkeligheden. Jeg trængte til, at det har en betydning, det man gør. Og her har det en betydning, at jeg træffer de rigtige beslutninger. De er afgørende for, at anlæggene kører. Jeg kan godt lide, at folk ringer til mig og spørger om min hjælp, at de værdsætter den og siger tak. Det oplevede jeg ikke så tit på universitetet, men det er superfedt”.

Den største overraskelse
”Den største overraskelse har nok været mængden af ansvar. Jeg havde håbet at få en stilling med ansvar, men det ansvar, jeg har fået, oplever jeg som stort. Der er så mange, der er afhængige af mig, og mine beslutninger er så væsentlige. Det går ikke, at jeg siger: ’I prøver da bare, og så ser vi, hvordan det ender’. Det sker aldrig. Det har også været en oplevelse at komme til en amerikansk virksomhed med mange formaliteter.”