One of our most experienced colleagues in the departement is back at work after two years of parental leave, and is now supporting our sales team part-time. We talked with her about her career at Erne and how she manages to combine familiy life and work life.
Katarina, you've been with Erne Fittings for eleven years, and it seems fair to say you've had an exemplary career.
Absolutely! My early years with Erne Fittings as a Sales Assistant were a good chance to acquire some initial experience in sales. Since I hadn’t worked in this industry before, I obviously didn’t have much knowledge at the time about the various materials and procedures. But here at Erne Fittings, if you’re open-minded and ready to learn, and if you acquire that knowledge, it opens up career development opportunities. So that’s how I became a Sales Manager after just three years. In 2014, I took over the role of Senior Sales Manager for the Middle East market region, and I then traveled around on my own on customer visits in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
As a woman traveling alone in the Emirates, and in a somewhat male-dominated industry at that - was it always easy for you?
Personally, I've had very good experiences. Obviously, you have to respect the culture of each country, and as a woman you dress accordingly. It's also not unusual for a man not to shake a woman's hand. But I never had the experience of not getting a contract becauce I'm a woman.
You became a mom in 2015, and after two years of parental leave, you're now back working half-days in the Project Sales department. How did your return to work go?
For me, there was never any doubt that I was going to start working again after two years off. Of course, it's a big transition at first. But my little one is very happy at daycare, and it's also good for me to have a routine again and to be working with exciting projects. Erne Fittings has given me really great support through it all. Before I came back, there were a lots of personal conversations to work out what my future tasks, activities and work hours would look like.
You've been back for almost two years now - how has your experience as a working mom been going?
Surprisingly enough, very well. I got back into the rhythm of the work pretty quickly, and now it's like I was never gone. Even as a part-time worker after my parental leave, I have a lot of exciting tasks to do. I'm supervising our project needs in the Middle East and I'm responsible for Aramco Overseas as Key Account Manager. I also support our young team at our factory in Saudi Arabia for certain individual projects. Erne also makes it possible for me to set flexible working hours when I need time for my child. That's very important for me, and I'm glad that Erne Fittings is so open and flexible with this and offers its employees those kinds of options.
Thank you for talking with us!
Erne News V03 / 2019