Mathilde: "Important to be seen, heard and feel good at what you do"
The first steps into working life after graduation are often filled with uncertainty and pressure of expectations.
After five years of school at Aalborg University, Mathilde Rosager Thorø was looking forward to unleashing her potential in the real world with a Master's in information technology, specialising in UX design.
But the leap and transition can be something of a culture shock, suddenly filling your head with treacherous thoughts. Mathilde had even had a student job related to the subject.
You will become nervous and insecure, asking yourself: Am I good enough? And will I be able to live up to a company's expectations? I was also wondering if there would even be a job for me? That's why I started applying even while I was writing my thesis," says 26-year-old Mathilde, who has now spent a year and a half at Nykredit as a UX and Service Designer.
Mathilde Rosager Thorø Foto: Casper Jarlberg
A dream job
In fact, there is great demand for UX designers who find solutions that make it easier for users to navigate a company's website. Mathilde had therefore only applied for the one job, when she was invited to an interview at Nykredit.
"It was a dream job that I could easily see myself in, and I was especially attracted by their one-year graduate programme, which would give me the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally. My interest grew even more during the interview, where I was given the impression of a culture where you become part of a team that focuses strongly on consultation, coaching and knowledge sharing".
They understood me, and that calmed me enormously
The very day after having defended her thesis, she had her first day at Nykredit; she was received by her manager, and she met her buddy for the next few months. Most of her future colleagues were working at home due to COVID-19.
"I was super excited and nervous, obviously, but my manager made it very clear that she didn't expect me to save the world, I just had to believe in my own abilities. I also used my buddy a lot. She had finished her education the year before and could therefore clearly remember how it felt. We could talk openly, and I felt seen and understood in every way. It was safe and calmed me enormously as she assured me that everything would be fine."
She has experienced the same openness in relation to her manager, who follows her daily life and regularly pulls her in for a chat in private.
"I feel very privileged. As a new and junior employee, it is extremely important to receive feedback on your work. My manager has a strong focus on that. I am seen and feel understood, and she is very good at praising and showing recognition. It has had a major impact on my well-being."
Nykredit’s young community
Nykredit has 14 UX designers, and most of them are located in Copenhagen; needless to say that it was neither ideal nor particularly personal for Mathilde to meet them for the first time on Teams during the pandemic. But, to Mathilde's manager, the social aspect is very important, as is the team’s occasional restaurant visits. Moreover, the Friday afternoon bar offers a cosy atmosphere and small talk across departments. Finally, there has also been the graduate programme, which Mathilde is completing together with 21 other junior employees in Nykredit. It has been very intense at times, but it has been fruitful both on a professional and social level.
"It has been a fantastic experience and exciting to be with other young people with very different job functions at Nykredit, and to form a social network. It is extremely important because although you can air views and ideas with your manage, it is completely different doing so with other young people – also in relation to the uncertainty and the challenges we all face as new staff".
Er... I'm pregnant
It has become everyday life long ago. Mathilde interviews users, analyses their needs, designs solutions and is quite happy with her colleagues, also when she proposes new ideas:
"There's a really good culture. Even as a brand-new employee, I did not experience from neither colleagues nor managers that my opinions were less important."
In addition, it means a lot to her that they have a flexible working life, enabling them to work from home up to two days a week with a fixed day where everyone in the team is at the office.
"It allows us to finish a task at home without being disturbed. But it is also an opportunity to improve our work-life balance – which I may appreciate even more after my maternity leave.
Because, yes, Mathilde is now expecting a baby due in December.
"I felt a little guilty about that, and also thought it a little unfortunate, because I have to take a break and be away from my work. However, I chose to go to my manager and tell her about it almost immediately. But there was nothing to feel bad about. She responded with "huge congratulations" and "how amazing!"."
Mental health and well-being
How do we protect our mental health and well-being when our work life is under constant change? And what learnings and initiatives should we make use of to ensure both fellowship and flexibility? Learn and get inspired here.Read more