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Tanja’s story: I came as a flight attendant, I stayed as a scrum master

Meet Tanja – she started her career as a flight attendant and spent the next 25 years traveling the world. Today, she is one of our scrum masters working to coach her team members.  Or as she would put it – she supports them in further developing themselves.  

In this story, she explains how she ended up in an IT company – after working in a completely different industry for more than two decades – and shares tips that you’ll find useful if you’re thinking about a career change.  

So, Tanja – tell the readers what exactly do you do at NETCONOMY? 

I’m a Scrum Master and I’m helping my team members to improve and streamline the processes by which they achieve their goals. I also work with my colleagues on their development and act in a supportive role wherever my or other teams might need it. However, I didn’t join the company in this position.  

                  Tanja and Anett at the Agile Facilitation Lab 2020

What was your journey to NETCONOMY like? 

It’s been quite a road that got me here so bear with me. I first worked as a flight attendant for 25 years. After more than two decades of flying, I’ve decided I’m ready for something new which is why I started studying healthcare management on the side. I stumbled into the IT industry by accident when I found a job opening in NETCONOMY’s travel management department, which was quite a fit since I was familiar with travel bookings, transfer times and so on. I decided to apply and boom, that’s how I got here! 

When did you realize that there was something else in it for you?   

My desire to work with people and to support their development was always there. Then, at our yearly open house event, colleagues presented the various project team roles. This included the role of Scrum Master, and I noticed some parallels between this role and my inner striving. I took the chance right away and asked colleagues about the daily tasks of a Scrum Master and what they liked the most about it. Then, I took some time to decide if I really wanted to change roles – and surprise, I did. 

What was the process of changing roles like?  

Well, one thing I learned quickly at NETCONOMY is that we follow the pull-principle – if you want something to change, go and ask for it. That’s exactly what I did. I approached the department lead and we talked about our ideas and expectations for this role and quickly realized that it could be a good fit for me. Since I had never worked as a Scrum Master before, I still had some doubts.

But luckily, NETCONOMY and my dear colleagues made things easy. I went through a three-month traineeship where I both focused on improving my theoretical knowledge and accompanying other Scrum Masters throughout their days. This helped me collect first-hand experiences and get real-life examples of what to expect later. After the traineeship, we sat together again and reviewed whether I wanted to continue this career path.   

Let’s be real, are you happy today in your role?   

Yes, a 100%. Especially since, in this role, you can’t ever finish your development or education. I still don’t “really” feel like a Scrum Master, meaning there’s no point in time where you can say you’ve learned everything there is on this exciting role. That wouldn’t fit with agile either. You constantly gather new experiences and inputs from others, exchange ideas at MeetUps and conferences, and work every day to become a “better” Scrum Master.  

Any final advice for others who are trying to change their career path? 

It sounds like a cliché, but never stop being curiousWhen good career opportunities are handed to you on a silver platter, you might not even look for other possibilities that are waiting out there – so be curious, ask for the things you want and dare to make the first step out of your comfort zone. When you do that, you will immediately notice if the direction you are going in is right or not. Beyond that, you should learn about the new role from as many people as possible and gather as many impressions as you can. Most importantly, don’t get rattled right away if something doesn’t go as you expect – you can only know if something is really good or bad if you try it out! 

If you liked Tanja’s story, and think your path might be similar, check out our open positions.
And if you have any questions about your future career path, our HR colleagues are happy to help!