Porsche employees Katharina Novak, Michael Dimitrov
What ideas do people have of their professional life? How do different generations approach their job in a traditional German company? What thoughts are circulating when a career comes to an end, what hopes and worries are there when working life is just beginning, especially during a pandemic? SPIEGEL asked the car manufacturer Porsche and spoke to two employees about how they think about work. One of them has just completed the first few weeks of their training - and the other has a few weeks until retirement.
What ideas do people have of their professional life?
How do different generations approach their job in a traditional German company?
What thoughts are circulating when a career comes to an end, what hopes and worries are there when working life is just beginning, especially during a pandemic?
SPIEGEL asked the car manufacturer Porsche and spoke to two employees about how they think about work.
One of them has just completed the first few weeks of their training - and the other has a few weeks until retirement.
, 59, Head of Advance Development and Research Coordination at Porsche, joined the company in 1985 as an intern.
And stayed for 35 years.
He will retire in the spring - with a glass of red wine in hand.
“You don't think about this point in time for a long time.
About what happens when the job comes to an end.
It's a turning point.
Something is over so that something new begins.
You then look back on time.
And asks himself: Was that how I imagined it?
The search for your own talent
My parents were doctors, but they never pushed me to become a doctor too.
Both gave me the space to discover my passions.
When I was nine years old, I sent my first car drawings to newspapers;
I wanted to be a designer.
In the end, because I had to be honest with myself, I lacked the talent.
In my job I always felt that I was in the right place.
If I hadn't had that, I would have chosen my path differently.
"For a long time you don't think about this point in time when the job comes to an end."
If I look at my professional life, it is a classic path that is probably only rare today.
I studied mechanical engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, then did an internship at Porsche.
I stayed here for 35 years.
My whole professional life.
That sounds unspectacular at first, but I've always changed during this time: At the beginning I worked on new technologies for chassis, was in the series and advance development of vehicles, and did research.
Every five years I did something different in the company.
Each of these changes happened consciously.
I would recommend changing the focus from time to time to everyone.
To ask questions that you don't have a solution to and then answer them as a team;
that's the nicest thing.
In 2009 we brought our first prototype of the electric boxster to the public.
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If someone had told me 15 years ago that we are building electric cars today, then I would have given up first.
During the whole time I learned a lot.
The world of work has changed continuously in the three decades that I've been at Porsche;
it has become more digital and innovative.
When I started here in the mid-eighties, we were not 2,000 employees in Weissach, today there are more than three times as many.
"I did something different at the company every five years."
I'm not afraid of missing this high speed.
The way I work at work, I transfer that to my private sphere, I have hobbies.
I like to work on vintage cars, maybe I can electrify one of them for fun.
How my everyday life could change, thanks to Corona and the home office I had a little foretaste: My wife and I, we survived it.
I would like to play tennis, golf and sailing more.
I would also like to live many of my social contacts outside of my job more intensively.
All of this only has value if I stay healthy.
I had to think a little about how I spend my last day at work.
I'll finish it off with a steak and a glass of red wine in the Porsche Museum. «
150 young people are trained at Porsche in Zuffenhausen near Stuttgart every year.
One of them is
, 19, who has been doing a three-year dual course at Porsche since September.
During this time, she changes between the university and the company every three months.
Novak is studying business informatics with a focus on application management at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University.
At Porsche, she will later work in logistics.
“I think you're always nervous when something new begins.
But at the same time there is a great anticipation in me.
Especially in practice: my colleagues in logistics, the hallowed halls, all of that. That is something different than just looking at it all in documentaries.
Until now, unfortunately, I've only been to the canteen and training center at Porsche.
With the exception of the pre-study internship, I haven't been able to do so much practical work in the company yet.
Corona is making this even more difficult.
This is a pity.
Actually, my part in the first practical phase would have been to listen and watch a lot.
I was particularly looking forward to the new colleagues and the personal contact.
Online cannot replace that.
"My job should fulfill me and be fun, that's the most important thing for me."
Sure, I already had a meeting with the godparents from my department.
That's why I was very motivated.
Now of course it is a little harder to develop an understanding of what is to come.
For example, I don't even know about production.
Here is the heart of Porsche.
This will develop.
Overall, it is a challenging time to start over.
Of course, everyone tries extremely hard.
Nevertheless, I have a certain respect for practically arriving at the company during these times.
The dream: work abroad one day
My job should fulfill me and be fun, that's the most important thing for me.
When I hear now that Mr. Dimitrov was with Porsche for 35 years, I am impressed and I see it as an incentive.
I was really happy when Porsche accepted the offer.
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I do believe that I can develop here in such a way that I sometimes get the opportunity to work abroad.
That would be great.
America would be a dream.
Basically, however, I am happy about every experience I can gain in another culture and I have a great desire for everything that is to come.
What does everyday life look like after Corona?
I noticed in the ninth grade that I wanted to do something technical.
So I didn't have to take long to orientate myself.
I am quite a car fan, especially sports cars.
Porsche was obvious.
The technological progress, especially in my professional field, is enormous and inspires me.
Even if computer science is already quite advanced, a lot will change and I will have to constantly adapt to my job.
But that's exactly the great thing.
"I noticed in ninth grade that I wanted to do something technical."
I don't worry about the fact that the job cuts and changes my everyday life too much.
I want to arrive first.
I am currently lacking the feeling of what my everyday professional life could look like if there is no Corona.
But that will change again.
Of course, I hope that in five years I'll still be with Porsche, in logistics.
The job should then fulfill and make me as happy as I imagine it to be after the first impressions. «
Icon: The mirror