When did you start working at PostNL?
“I started as a mail deliverer in 2000. It was just a side job to earn extra money while I was studying IT. To be honest, at the time I didn’t see a future for myself at PostNL, and I was also not that ambitious.”
When did things change?
“When I made an internal application for a position at the planning desk at Parcels. A whole world opened up for me there. Every parcel contains a barcode so that we can follow it from beginning to end. That fascinated me and I started to learn more about scan sequences and the logistics process.”
Photography: Sanne Paul
What led you to start managing?
“If colleagues wanted to know something they often came to me. My manager noticed this and encouraged me to develop further, and I became a process leader and later process manager. I noticed that knowledge can help you get ahead, and I then started to become more ambitious.”
At the start I wanted to 'just solve everything myself'
What is it like to suddenly start managing colleagues?
“Your relationship with your colleagues changes, but I never experienced that as unpleasant. As a manager you have to be able to distance yourself and delegate things to others. I did need to get used to this: at the start I wanted to ‘just solve everything myself’. I’ve now learned how to manage things in a good way. I ask employees for feedback and encourage them to devise their own solutions. They learn much more in this way than when I do it for them.”
Is it difficult to continue developing at PostNL?
It’s difficult to grow if your manager doesn’t notice your strengths
“Of course you need to work hard and take the initiative. But your manager has to pick up on this and allow you to develop your talents. I was given that chance. We once had a huge breakdown at my site. The manual says that you should wait for support. But I wanted to continue and got my employees to sort by hand. My manager valued this very highly. It’s much more difficult to grow if your manager doesn’t notice these things. That’s why I also try to give my employees the freedom to develop.”
Do you still have ambitions?
“Yes, absolutely. I’m now location manager in Amsterdam-West. I want to keep developing. I don’t want to keep doing the same routine; I need a challenge in my work. At PostNL that’s no problem at the moment. I’m already looking further down the road, towards a position as depot manager. And then I’ll have my hands full for a while, before I’ve really mastered that.”