MAN Truck & Bus

When detours lead to the goal

Portrait of Christina Hörl

19 Jul 2023

Christina Hörl's CV shows how multifaceted work at MAN can be: first an apprentice as a production mechanic, then a second apprenticeship as an industrial clerk, assistant in the test workshop, later coordinator at the works council. Today, Christina works as a divisional assistant in engineering. An interview about women in assembly, perceived detours in the career choice and the fun of the – right – job.

Christina, why did you decide to do the apprenticeship as a production mechanic 15 years ago?

CHRISTINA: At that time, I was one hundred percent sure that I never wanted to work in the office. In addition, I did a lot of manual work in my private life and had some friends in technical apprenticeships who told me about it. So the apprenticeship with milling, drilling and other manual activities sounded exciting to me – and it was.

Nevertheless, you did a second apprenticeship as an industrial clerk. How did you end up working in an office after all?

CHRISTINA: After working for about a year as a trained assembly fitter on the main assembly line of axle production, the point came when I asked myself how I could develop professionally. It wasn't always easy back then as one of the few women in production. I then informed myself both internally and externally. But I felt connected to MAN and wanted to get ahead internally. Through my role as a shop steward in axle assembly, I had a lot to do with the youth and apprentice representatives of the works council. We planned actions together and had joint meetings. As a result, I have done one or the other task in the office – and realized that I liked it after all.

Was it easy for you to decide to do another apprenticeship?

CHRISTINA: No, certainly not. I think everyone reacts to big changes with doubts and fears. After all, it was not only a completely different job for me, but also a financial difference with the step back to the apprentice salary. I lived alone at the time and had to pay my rent. But it was clear to me: I want and have to do this, so I'm going to go through the two and a half years. And so it was an effort at the beginning, but in the end it was the best decision.

What motivated your other job changes?

CHRISTINA: As an industrial clerk, the field of activity in which you can work is much broader. There are more options and so it wasn't quite clear to me which role I wanted to take on. That's why, in my first assistant role in the test workshop, I was still unsure whether it was really the right thing for me. In the meantime, I think that the doubts are quite normal. Everyone needs a little time to recognize where their own strengths and weaknesses lie and what they enjoy. For me, there have always been job opportunities that sounded good and where I thought to myself: I'll try this out.

Porträt von Christina Hörl

It took me some effort, but in the end it was the best decision.

Christina Hörl

How do you benefit from your experience from the different stations?

CHRISTINA: I took a lot with me every time, both professionally and organizationally as well as in terms of personal network. For example, during my three years as an assistant in production, the technical apprenticeship helped me a lot to understand the processes there. Some of the knowledge is always useful in the next department, it builds on each other. One of the greatest added values is also the network: You can't always know everything, but you know who to ask.

What have you learned through your individual career path?

CHRISTINA: Nothing is set in stone. You shouldn't be satisfied with your situation if you think you're not right in a position. If you want to change, you can do it. The only one standing in your way is yourself. And that's where sometimes you shouldn't give yourself so much thought, but just do it.

If you could turn back time, would you go your way again?

CHRISTINA: Yes, even if it felt like a detour. Because I met a lot of people along the way. And every experience, even negative ones, takes you further. Besides, who knows where I would be now otherwise. I'm having a lot of fun now, I feel absolutely right here, and that was exactly my goal. So I did everything right after all.

Based on your experiences, what do you want to give as a message to other people?

CHRISTINA: The journey is the destination, because you take away a lot of valuable things from all the stations. Besides, everyone has a goal. Mine was to have fun in my job and enjoy going to work. In my opinion, that should be the top goal for everyone. After all, we all spend a lot of our lives at work.

Many paths lead into the company

Eine junge Frau arbeitet an einer Lkw-Karrosserie

MAN offers a wide range of opportunities for apprenticeships or dual studies: With more than ten apprenticeships at three production sites, junior colleagues work on specific projects and quickly gain experience. With a dual study program, graduates also have in-depth practical expertise in addition to a bachelor's degree.

There are also opportunities to become part of the MAN team as part of a trainee program, PhD program, or direct entry. We also offer exciting options for students in the form of internships, working student positions, and thesis writers.

You can find more detailed information on our career page.

Text: Renate Wachinger

Photos: MAN

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