MAN Truck & Bus

„Sometimes it is hard work to make your dreams come true“

Portrait of Deniz Bulbul

27 Sep 2023


Deniz Bulbul has been working for MAN since October 2021 as a technical project coordinator in the bus development team in Ankara. He has had an orthopaedic disability since birth and wears a prosthesis on his left leg. In this interview, he talks about the situations in which his disability affects his life, how the company supports him and how he discovered diving despite his physical impairment.

Deniz, what exactly do you do in your job and what do you like about it?

Deniz: I work in the Future Lion 2.0 project team to build up the engineering team here in Ankara. The project includes human resources topics, know-how transformation, budget management, office arrangements and much more – in other words, everything that goes into building up a new team. My job is very varied, I don’t have any routines. The job is challenging and I can see the results of my work immediately. That makes me feel that I’m adding value.

Why did you choose MAN as your employer?

Deniz: I was born and raised in Ankara. Since MAN is a big company here and has a very positive image, many people work there. One of my school friends is also an engineer at MAN. He encouraged me to apply. Besides, the MAN plant seemed like a good place for me to improve my German skills by using it from time to time. That’s why I came back to Ankara after studying and working in Istanbul for a few years. Since MAN is a large, global company, I was sure that there would be good conditions here for working with a disability.

How does your disability affect you in life?

Deniz: It does not significantly restrict me in my work or my hobbies. To a large extent, I can do what I want and am not dependent on others. Of course, there are some limitations that you have to be aware of. But I have known these difficulties all my life and know how to deal with them. For example, when it snows in winter and the roads are slippery, I try to avoid walking longer distances outdoors.

What challenges does your disability create?

Deniz: The biggest challenge is not physical, but mental. I often have to deal with various prejudices. Everyone has a bad day – that’s when I find it exhausting when other people meet me with prejudices. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen that often, especially not in professional life. In addition to prejudices, I have also experienced paternalism. I remember an example from my private life. Once, when I was on holiday, I decided to go on a paragliding flight. The office owner and the paragliding trainer made a plan for my paragliding flight without involving me. But I myself can best judge what is possible for me and what is not.

How does the company already support you in your working life and how could it support you even more?

Deniz: I have my own space in a car park near my workplace, instead of in the general car park further away . This is very important to me, because using my own car offers much more comfort in my situation than the company’s own shuttle service or public transport. Not only accessibility, but also mobility is very important in my life. In order to support mobility, there could be a subsidy for fuel costs for colleagues with similar impairments.

Often things are easier than they seem.

Deniz Bulbul

What do you do in your spare time?

Deniz: I am a very active person. One of my passions is sports – I’m in the gym three days a week. I also like diving. I plan all my holidays for the diving season. I did my first dive in 2017. That’s when I realised: this is going to be a hobby for my whole life.

What do you like about diving?

Deniz: It’s like visiting another planet: really adventurous and fascinating. Diving is dangerous, of course, but I like the adrenaline. Being in the water is nice for me because I feel my disability less. I can move more flexibly, although it is difficult to dive with only one fin when I take off my prosthesis.

What did you have to struggle with in order to pursue your hobby?

Deniz: When I spoke to the instructor after my first dive, he recommended that I talk to another person with a disability. This man had lost a leg in an earthquake and had previously been a diver. I met with him and he told me that in Turkey, you can’t get a diving licence as a person with a disability. I waited two years for a regulation to come along. In 2019, the Turkish Underwater Association finally created it. Now I am the first and only one in Turkey who has a level 3 disabled diving licence.

What did you learn from it?

Deniz: Diving was one of my dreams and now it has become a reality. Sometimes it’s hard work to make your dreams come true. But once you’ve done it, you may find that it was easier than you expected. From this, I learnt to maintain a positive attitude.

What message would you like to give to other people?

Deniz: If you have enough motivation, you can achieve a lot of things. Often things are easier than they seem. Or, as Nelson Mandela put it: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”


Barrier-free on MAN buses

Eine Bustür mit barrierefreiem Einstieg

The solutions developed by MAN Truck & Bus for public transport enable mobility and independence for people with and without disabilities. In order to be accessible to all people, the barrier-free design of our products is crucial. For example, appropriately placed tactile holding bars, illuminated buttons with braille, contrasting colours or ramps and wheelchair lifts take into account the different needs of passengers. In product development, diversity in the teams makes a positive contribution. This is because employees with disabilities have a deeper understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face every day. Their input contributes to improving important details of our products.

Learn more about accessible bus travel in this video.

Text: Renate Wachinger

Photos: MAN

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