Janine is a trained medical laboratory assistant (MLA). At EUROIMMUN she first worked in the laboratory and today, she trains colleagues and customers in the application of EUROIMMUN test systems. In this interview, she tells us about her professional journey within our company.
Hi Janine, thank you for taking the time for this interview. Would you please introduce yourself shortly?
I’m Janine de Vries, I’m 34 and trained MLA and mother of two daughters of 7 and 2 years. I live with my family in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern near the Schaalsee lake, where I grew up. Since I am very close with my family, I have always wanted to stay near home and never thought about going away. As the Schaalsee region is quite rural, there aren’t any possibilities of working as MLA, I was very lucky to find a job at EUROIMMUN, only a 40 minute drive away.
For how long have you worked with EUROIMMUN and in which department did you first start working?
First of all, I must explain that my former biochemistry teacher at the MLA school in Schwerin had worked with EUROIMMUN before studying medical pedagogy. She taught us in the subject “Immunobiochemical Methods” and we worked with the EUROIMMUN test kits. From the beginning I enjoyed learning and working with these tests. In this way, I learnt about the company EUROIMMUN and sent my application in right away.
In 2007, after concluding my vocational training, I started working in the department ELISA Autoimmune Diagnostics. However, already during my vocational training I had noticed that I could also imagine not working in the lab. And little by little, this feeling became more concrete. After two years in the ELISA laboratory, I fancied a change. And I knew already then that there are also other interesting departments at EUROIMMUN to work with as MLA.
So which interesting new task did you take on after the time in the lab?
When I took the decision to not continue working in the lab in 2009, the Complaints Department was looking for someone to support their team. I found the tasks extremely interesting and applied for the job. I was over the moon when I was taken on right away and really eager to start working in this new task.
When people hear the word “complaint”, they often think of troubleshooting and are put off. In my case, there wasn’t anything to be scared of at all. I basically knew the ELISA, IFT and immunoblot test systems by heart due to my work in the lab. Having incubated them myself and in some cases even having produced them myself, I knew exactly which errors could produce which results. In the new department, I was able to apply this knowledge and assist with any enquiries right from the start. Therefore, I never found my job to be especially complicated.
Moreover, I really enjoyed working together with the scientific departments to solve the complaints and getting to know the test systems even better. Since the complaints are managed by our external sales representatives not only in Germany, but also abroad, and I was constantly communicating with them, I was even able to refresh my English skills, especially in writing.
Today you train customers and colleagues in the EUROIMMUN Academy. How did that happen?
I had worked in the Complaint Department until there was a vacancy in the Academy which I found very interesting and which represented a great new challenge for me. I knew the troubleshooting from the Complaints Department and the practical work from the lab. Now the challenging part of it (and also the great appeal of the new task) was the theoretical, scientific part referring to the diseases and their background. I really had to catch up on this. However, I was really keen on broadening my horizon. And also this time, I was again really grateful to have the opportunity to develop within the same company.
What do you like best in your current job?
In the Academy, my 22 colleagues and I train guests from different countries in the areas of autoimmune diagnostics, infectious serology, allergy diagnostics and automation.
I am in charge of the field of autoimmune diagnostics and provide both theoretical and practical trainings. I had heard of autoimmune diseases already during my vocational training, but I learnt about their diagnostics and the evaluation of the test kits at EUROIMMUN.
What I like most about my tasks? I get to meet new people, hold presentations and lectures in English, I can apply my knowledge from the vocational training, and I can also continue working in the lab. In this way, my work routine is very varied. It remains interesting and I never stop learning.
In school, it was unthinkable for me to give presentations. The familial atmosphere at EUROIMMUN and the fact that everyone is willing to help each other definitely helped me to overcome this aversion. I am really proud to have mastered this challenge.
You have worked with EUROIMMUN for 12 years and in three different departments – can you tell us what you like best about the company?
My personal journey at EUROIMMUN might say enough already. I mostly appreciate the fact that you can develop within the company if you like. Moreover, I think the working conditions are unrivalled for mothers and MLAs. In hospitals, for example, you would need to work shifts and even on holidays and weekends. At EUROIMMUN we generally have flexible working times which you organise yourself within the core time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Obviously, these times may differ a little depending on the department. In the Academy, we train from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Altogether, it is amazing to work with EUROIMMUN. Every colleague greets you or smiles at you. Everyone really has a strong connection and feeling of identification with the company.
If you had to tell us in one sentence what working with EUROIMMUN means to you as an MLA, what would you say?
That’s easy: As an MLA, EUROIMMUN was the best thing that could have happened to me.
That is a great closing statement! Thank you, Janine!