Since April, anyone who contacts the local IT department at Conti's headquarters in Hanover may end up with me on the line, Michael Jakob. A few years ago, I could not have foreseen that I would be working again in my profession as an IT specialist: After an unsuccessful effort at self-employment, my path led to unemployment in 2010. Despite part-time jobs and short-term assignments at various companies, I didn't manage to re-enter the workforce for years and the longer I was out, the more difficult it became.
I joined Continental in August 2021 through a funding program of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency). First, as part of an internship at the Continental Institute for Technology and Transformation (CITT), which had advertised a job in the warehouse sector. I received the offer through the JobCenter – I must admit that it wasn't quite what I wanted. But the interview convinced me, on a personal level it was an immediate fit. And after I was able to show my potential during my internship, I was allowed to take over the management of the digital equipment in addition to the storage and shipping activities.
Being a full-time employee again and getting my foot in the door at a company like Continental gave me a real sense of achievement. Nevertheless, I have occasionally experienced prejudices in my everyday work. Be it that the simplest things have been explained to me in detail or that I have encountered typical unemployment clichés in conversation. When I told them that I always had a regular daily routine, the person was really amazed.
I took these individual cases in stride – and countered the cliché with my own initiative. So, I not only took on additional tasks within the CITT, but finally switched to my current job in local IT, which I discovered while browsing through our job portal. It was nice to see that my previous manager supported this application – and even nicer that it was successful.
When I moved to my current job, my time in the support program also came to an end. Looking back, I can say that I think the idea behind this program is great, because it makes it much easier for long-term unemployed people to get started. If you want to develop further within the company, you still need a certain drive: show performance and initiative, make yourself visible, maintain contact with other departments – without that, it doesn't work.
I have now achieved my goal of taking the step out of the program. Now, I'm very happy here in local IT – and at the same time I can well imagine that this won't be my last step in the company. Who knows, maybe I'll even go abroad for Conti....