Research+Development – From the workshop to the Office

11. Oct 2017 | Education + Careers

By the time I’d finished my eighth year at school, I was already convinced that school was stupid and I was itching to get a job as soon as possible. That my way wourld take me to the Research+Development team, was never on my mind back then.

And I definitely wanted to do something practical. Even back then, I was already very interested in cars, so I went on the hunt for a suitable traineeship in a workshop. During this time, I realised that it had to be an apprenticeship as a vehicle mechanic. Despite the advice to do my school leaving exams and study to “make something of myself”, I decided to plough ahead with my own path. Once I started the apprenticeship, I rapidly found out that the learning wasn’t quite over yet.

R+D Research+Development_Career at Herth+Buss Workshop Office

I have always been a fan of fast engines

However, cramming for this kind of work was somewhat different: I suddenly found myself having fun learning new things and got well and truly stuck in. I finally made a conscious choice in favour of the apprenticeship. When I successfully completed this with the third-best results in Frankfurt, I knew that I wanted to go even further. My thirst for knowledge was far from quenched. In the following one-and-a-half years, I tried to gain as much experience as possible – both good and bad.

Next stop: master school

Building on my apprenticeship, I decided to do a master’s course. For me, master school was a wonderful experience, although it quickly separated the wheat from the chaff. After the first week, there were already ten fewer candidates. In order to live up to what was expected of me, I committed to studying daily. Over a period of six months, this meant I spent a lot of time hunched over my desk. But the effort was well worth it in the end: as a newly qualified master, and still wet behind the ears, I was ushered into the world of workshop management and customer support. After a while of being back in the swing of the workshop routine, I developed an allergy to wool wax. Nothing too serious, or so I thought. My fingers became swollen and I developed a painful rash. Strong ointments gave some initial relief.

Hard work pays off!

The road to the Research+Development Team

After one-and-a-half years, I was sent to a different branch as a deputy workshop manager. My initiation phase went by very quickly and smoothly. After one-and-a-half more years, however, I realised that the workshop wasn’t going to be my domain forever. Yet the exact direction I should take was still unclear. What I did know was that my technical knowledge and understanding should definitely be involved somehow. My problem with my hands also didn’t improve. The ointments alone were no longer enough to soothe them and made my daily routine in the workshop pretty painful. According to the workshop ingredient lists, wool wax is contained in almost every single product: detergent pastes, creams, soaps, gloves, polishes, cleaning agents, sponges – the list goes on and on.

As fate would have it, I got talking to a friend and old work colleague. He told me all about his activities in Research+Development and introduced Herth+Buss to me as a company. It was hard to imagine anything more specific from his anecdotes and explanations alone. After a few days and nights of contemplation, I resolved to do a trial phase at Herth+Buss. On the very first day, this trial brought up a lot of questions. On the second day, however, many of these were answered. Alongside the questions, most of the things that popped into my head were exciting issues and observations. The topic of cars didn’t fall by the wayside and I was more than able to contribute some of my technical knowledge. Regardless of the day-to-day work, the working environment also had a significant influence.

The colleagues and managers made up a great team, which I liked right from the off. One of my colleagues, Mr Grund, also started off in the workshop before establishing himself in the Research+Development Team a long time ago. However, the route to Herth+Buss had been a “little” more circuitous for him than it had been for me. He had worn a few hats in between while attempting to find the right career path. These included stints as a hoist engineer, self-employed floor layer, sewer robot operator and warehouse manager at a car dealership, among other things. His eventful career path eventually led him to the doors of Herth+Buss.

As one of the first employees in Research+Development, he built the department up from nothing back then together with his other colleagues.

From workshop to desk – what has changed?

Now I’m here too and happy that I was bold enough to make the leap from workshop to office chair. Of course, talk in the workshop often has a very “harsh” and “rough” sound to it. Without wanting to speak too ill of it, you only really notice this fact when you see how it compares to the way people communicate in an office environment. Sentences like “Get under the transmission, I’m going to fire it up”, “Get a move on, the customer’s waiting” or “Can we squeeze in ten more services today than usual? We can’t turn customers away, money is money!” should all be a thing of the past from now on. After tyre-change season, you knew whether you’d been lifting the wheels properly or not. “Backache” was the word on everyone’s lips afterwards.

In the first weeks after making my switch, there was initially a fair bit of learning required.
New programs, new colleagues, various departments at a big company and the new work position. The biggest pain, and also the smallest, now no longer comes from my back or legs after a difficult day in the workshop. It’s my bum that hurts now after all that sitting! The right position to adopt on the office chair still needs to be fathomed out and switched several times a day. Thankfully, I’ve found myself in the right department for this problem. Once a week, it’s time to keep fitness in the office!

I’ve got to keep my wits about me at all times now and also need to concentrate a great deal. When all is said and done, I’m glad that I made this decision and look forward to the time that I’ll spend in the Research+Development Team in future.