Ever wondered what working at TA Europe is really like? Nomazulu Sammüller shares her experience. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, she now works as a cost manager full-time in our Munich office and is a mother to 3-year-old Ludwig.
1. What does your typical working day look like?
The best part of my job is the fact that no two working days are exactly the same. I do cost management and cost control for two projects currently and occasionally provide other cost-related functions for other smaller projects. As I have the option to work from home, I spend part of my week in the office and the other part at home.
2. What do you like most about your job?
What I most enjoy about my job is the team and the management. I am surrounded by an amazing team and have a management that appreciates me as the person that I am. In terms of the job itself, my favourite part is working with numbers. I enjoy the cost controlling element of my function and writing reports.
What most people tend to overlook is the fact that the average person spends much more time at work than they do at home with their families. Therefore, a healthy work environment is really important, not only in terms of career aspirations but also in terms of mental health.
3. What do you consider unique about TA Europe and its culture?
Before joining TA Europe, I worked in Qatar, therefore TA Europe is the first company I have worked for since moving to Germany, and the first job I have taken on since becoming a mother. The unique thing about working for TA Europe, is the fact that, even though I had the option to work part-time, the way it is structured, makes it possible for me to work full time. I have the option to work from home and the flexibility of the company makes it easier to balance my role as a mother and my career without feeling like any part of my life is being left behind. This is something I appreciate a lot.
Michelle Obama said that “Women CAN have everything, just not at the same time.” Though that is mainly true, at TA Europe, I do feel that I come pretty close. Additionally, I know that if I ever felt that my work-life balance was suffering, I always have the option to reduce my hours.
There is also a lot of support for career progression. I am currently in the process of applying to do my Assessment of Professional Competence with RICS to become a Chartered Surveyor. The company has not only made this possible by funding the entire assessment, but I also have had overwhelming support during the application process.
4. What does it take to thrive at TA Europe?
The main thing that has helped me to thrive has been my willingness and eagerness to learn. Since joining TA Europe, a little over a year ago, I have acquired a lot of new skills and am consistently learning new things every day.
5. Have you ever found yourself in a really challenging situation – and if so, how did you solve it?
The most challenging part for me was the cultural adaptation. I come from a culture where people tend to be far less direct in their communication. We would always phrase criticism in a way that acknowledges the positive aspect of what a person has done, and only then come up with what might have to be done differently. Here in Germany, this is not the case [laughs].
Initially, I didn’t know that and was shocked about the seemingly rude behaviour. Colleagues would just bluntly tell me, “No, this needs to be changed.” But I quickly learned that this is simply the Germans’ way of giving feedback.
6. Could you imagine working at another office location or is Munich the perfect place for you?
I live in Augsburg and am pretty settled here, therefore Munich is perfect for me. However, if I were to select another location to work, I would choose Essen, simply because the place is very beautiful, scenic and has fantastic architecture.
7. What do you do when you are not working at TA Europe?
When I am not working at TA Europe, I am a mom, so I spend my free time with my son and my husband. When I do find pockets of extra time, then I spend that time researching and writing about the real African History and incorporating that into my historical fiction novels. I am currently writing a book based in the late 1500s and it is set during the fall of the West African Empire of Songhai. I enjoy learning about little known histories and trying to figure out how life would have been like for the average person within that setting.
8. What insider advice can you give to someone who would like to work at TA Europe?
My advice to any new potential candidate is to be yourself and be confident in your ideas. Not all ideas will be taken on board, but this is one company that does listen to your ideas, allows you to contribute and express yourself.