Not a cog in a machine

My biggest fear is to become a cog in a machine. To be a very small part of a machine that runs year after year, never breaking or doing anything unpredictable. 

I told my manager this during the job interview for my current position as an International Trainee at Vattenfall Research and Development (R&D) with a focus on Customer Product & Solutions. He smiled at me. At the time, I didn't know why. Now, six months later I do.

Every day at work I get to experience working in cutting-edge projects in an innovative environment at high speed. We investigate technologies to facilitate the renewable energy transition, new smart home solutions and, in what ways we can, influence our customers to make better choices.

Upon my start at Vattenfall, I was quickly given challenging and exciting assignments, most recently as project manager of a Horizon 2020 EU-funded project called Flexiciency. The aim of this project is to demonstrate what opportunities the access of standardised metering data across Europe can enable, mainly focusing on services within flexibility and energy efficiency. Furthermore, R&D works in close collaboration with different business units within Vattenfall. This has given me the opportunity to work as an integrated member of the E-Mobility team. E-Mobility is a fast developing area where technical development goes hand in hand with business development. The pace is high, IT development is central and the customer perspective is always top of mind – it is like working in a startup: Not what I thought working in a state-owned company with 20,000 employees would be like.

While I love working in "startup mode", having the possibility to consult any of my 20,000 colleagues within Vattenfall, operating throughout the entire energy value chain is an amazing asset and strength. Personally, I love to work in a company where I can zoom in on a specific challenge, but at the same time obtain the perspective of the whole energy sector.

Throughout the trainee program, my understanding of the energy sector as a whole has grown. I have had the opportunity to work abroad, in functions outside of R&D and to build a network across the company. All International Trainees are spread across the company's geographical and operational units. Questioning, discussing and reflecting together with them has contributed immensely to my personal development during the past year. And, as if that was not enough, they have all become my very close friends too.

The other day, my manager and I talked about the cog in the machine again. This time, we both smiled. I am no longer afraid of becoming a cog in the Vattenfall machine: We are developing innovative and sustainable solutions along with digitalisation, decentralisation and decarbonisation. We are the ones developing the cogs.

Last updated: 2018-05-21 11:00