Nascida e criada em Portugal. Já morei na Polónia, no Brasil, na República Checa e agora é a Suécia que me acolhe.
O meu blogue, tal como o meu cérebro, é uma mistura de línguas. Bem vindos!

Born and raised Portuguese. I have lived in Poland, Brazil, Czech Republic and now I'm in the beautiful Sweden.
My blog, just like my brain, is a blend of languages. Welcome!

segunda-feira, 11 de março de 2019

In focus

We have a weekly newsletter at work, made with relevant news for all people who work in the building. One of the sections - In Focus - features a short interview with an employee. The last question of the interview is always "Who do you want to know more about?" and the chosen person is the following week's interviewee. Let's say it's a relay interview.  

This is a recent category, which started in January, and two weeks ago I was chosen by a colleague who had heard I have lived in several countries and was curious to know more about me. It was a bit funny to be interviewed (and photographed!) by someone, even if it was just for our building (ca 600 people). 

The interview was not my favourite part, choosing the next person was. The rules say I should not choose someone from my department, which removes almost half of the building as I work for 2 different departments. I was not interested in choosing anyone there anyway, as I know the people there. Instead, I chose Osman, the first person I meet most mornings and the first good morning I say and hear. We have talked to each other about our trivial things and make jokes very often, but I didn't really know his story. He is a cleaner and is always around, but I know that not everyone "sees" him or can see beyond his job. 

I know I'm not the only one who sees the problem. The second interviewee, a professor, had mentioned to the journalist during his interview that he would pay a fika (coffee/tea and snacks) to the first person who would choose someone from the cleaning staff. I knew nothing about this when I chose Osman, but I became very happy not for winning the prize but for knowing that I do see human beings for what they are and not what they do. Or at least I try. 

His interview touched me deeply and I'm really very glad I chose him. My life might sound different and remarkable to many, but is nothing compared to his life story. 
You can read both interviews below, but if you don't have much time, skip mine and read only his. 

In focus: Sara

Hi Sara! You are a research engineer. What does your profession mean?
As a research engineer, I am responsible for the purchase and inventory of chemicals and lab material. I also work with lab safety and make sure that the safety work is functioning well. In addition, I am a problem solver. I often get questions that go beyond my service and then I do what I can so that the person who asks finds someone to get an answer from.
What’s your background? Are you a chemist?
Yes, I studied chemistry in Portugal, where I am from, and then did my PhD studies in Poland. After that, I did two postdocs, in Brazil and in the Czech Republic. The research was mainly about the optical properties of nanotubes and Graphene. I did this for about ten years, but now, my research times are behind me.
But you don't want to put the chemistry behind you altogether?
It doesn't suit me to research. It took quite a while before I understood it, ten years, but then I realized that research is not for me. Now I have a much more fun job than as a researcher. It is also great that I can use my knowledge in chemistry anyway, so this is the perfect job for me.
What do you like about your job?
Besides being interested in chemistry, I’m very organized and I like to create order. I have had the opportunity to do this because this profession is very much about creating and following routines. In addition, I really enjoy helping others. When I started researching it was because I wanted to contribute and help mankind, but it takes so long to get the reward of seeing that you have done well. I do not even know if my ten years have been of any use. Now I get the reward every day when I see that I have been able to help someone. Another thing I like is to meet so many different kinds of people. It makes me happy.
Have you learned anything from meeting and working with so many different people?
I learned that no one is weird, because no one is normal. We are all just different. At first, when I moved out of Portugal, it was harder to understand why people thought so differently from me or from each other. Now, I have learned to see more from their perspective and I handle people in a more open and positive way. It is that variation that also makes my job so interesting.
What are your challenges?
Right now, it is all going well, but in the beginning, I had to introduce and update many routines. It was very satisfying when I saw that everything I implemented worked well.
How do you manage to get routines to work here?
If you have a positive attitude and are not judgmental it works better. It is also important to be clear about how the routine will make life easier for the user in order for them to adapt and accept the change.
Carina asked last week for you to tell about your background.
I grew up in the north of Portugal and ended up in Sweden because of my husband who comes from here. We met ten years ago at a research conference, but for several years we lived in a distance relationship. We met every month in different cities in Europe. It was fun, but also very difficult. Then, we moved together in Brazil and went from living in different countries to living in the same apartment. People said we were crazy and that it would never work, but it did!
Who do you want to know more about?
I want to know more about Osman, I don't even know his last name, but he is a caretaker in the Chemistry House. I meet him every morning and he always has a smile on his lips and is always very nice. I think his job is very important and he does fantastic work. I wonder if there is anything we can do to make him feel more comfortable and facilitate his work? I don't know if he knows that we appreciate the job he and the other cleaners do, but we really do!

In focus: Osman

Hi, Osman, you've been cleaning the Chemistry Building for 20 years. Tell us about your job.
I started the fourth of January 1999. During my twenty years at Chalmers I have worked at the mathematical library, at physics and at the Chemistry Building and many other places. Next year it will be twenty-one years at Chalmers. Then I turn 67 and will retire. I asked the boss that I wanted to stay for two more years even though I had been able to retire at 65. I wanted it because I like my job. It is a good and fun job and I enjoy it very much.

How did you end up at Chalmers?
My wife died and a few months later the war started in former Yugoslavia and I fled with our two children. We came to Sweden in 1992. I could not speak Swedish, just a little Russian, but I had no use for it here. In the beginning, we moved around to different cities, including Halmstad and Säffle. It took seven years before I got a job at Chalmers. Before that, I had tried to study, but I could not focus on education. I was just thinking about my wife, about the friends who remained in Bosnia and about my two children and how things would work out for them. In 1999 I started as a cleaner at Chalmers and it worked great. I want to thank Chalmers and the cleaning unit for that. In Bosnia I worked as a construction worker so for me cleaning was an easy job. No heavy lifting and so.

What happens in your life now?
I am retiring on the fifth of February next year, but in reality, I will probably end in December. I have a vacation to take out as well. I have two children and four grandchildren so I do not want to move back to Bosnia, but I have a big house there so during the summers I plan to be there.

Many say that you are always positive and happy. What motivates you at work?

I think it is important with good managers and I think my managers have been good all the time. But it is also important to have a good working group. I enjoy my workmates very well. That is why I chose to stay two more years after I could retire. I usually joke and say that Fridays are not good. “What should I do on Saturday and Sunday then? Sad! ” But it's just for fun. My grandchildren often come and visit so it's fun.

Sara who I talked to last week wanted to say that she and we others appreciate the great job you and your workmates do, and she wants to know if this is something we can think of to make your job easier?
Sometimes people do not throw the paper in the trash and even forget to flush. I think that that is something even small children know how to do, but apparently not all adults. Sure, we are paid to clean but that's not fun. Previously, it was quite common for students to spit on the floor, but fortunately, it is not so common anymore.

Who do you want me to talk to next week?

I would like you to talk to Mikael on AV service. He is very often in the Chemistry Building and is responsible for lecture halls and ensures that they work as they should, changing chairs that are broken and more. I like him. He is nice and funny.

All interview credits to Mats Tiborn. 

6 comentários:

  1. That was a great post. What a clever idea to get to know your fellow workers. I thought all the questions had been well thought out and knowing someone's background gives us a far better understanding of what makes them tick.

    1. Thanks Fun60! I also think these interviews are a great idea and our communicator is very good at it.

  2. Sara - this is wonderful in so many ways! It is great to learn more about you and Osman (the interviewer does a very good job!) I like the sound of your Employer and I'm sure you will all work better together as a result of knowing more about each other. Say Hi to Osman for me!
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren! I agree, these interviews will improve our work environment as we will all get to know each other better. Osman says Hej (Swedish hi) back :)

  3. What a great idea to interview the employees, so you all get to know each other better. So nice of you to choose Osman to be interviewed. As you say most people would ignore him as he's just a cleaner, but just like me, I also believe we are all the same and deserve the same value and respect.

    1. Thanks Sami! And why wouldn't we believe we all deserve the same, right?
      This is a great idea. Every Friday I wait eagerly for the newsletter :)


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