Interview with Torben

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“I’m not leaving here any time soon!”

Torben Hein started working at SABIO’s IT support department on August 1, 2016. Before that, he was a Senior Principal Technical Support Engineer at Oracle. He was looking for a change. The job at SABIO was a little bit like love at first sight for him. In our interview, talks about how it all happened and what he thinks about his first weeks at SABIO.


How did you learn about SABIO?

It was an employment ad. I was on looking for IT support jobs. And I liked the design and the wording of the SABIO ad a lot.

What did you like about it?

The ad just stood out. Everything about it was more cheerful, even the green dot. It didn’t come across as ultra-serious like lots of the other stuff that I saw. I thought that was pretty cool. I was coming from Oracle, a very traditional, large, and very American company where everything was very staid and formal. I was looking for a change. I wanted to go to a small, German company that was still growing—some kind of startup. And the job description SABIO published really spoke to me in that way.

The first interview was over Skype, and it was so embarrassing! I planned to have my wife out of the house with the kids for the interview, but of course things didn’t work out that way. Our kids were sick, so everyone stayed home and there was so much commotion in the house. At the beginning of the conversation, I let the microphone cable fall into the crack of my chair and the on-off button switched off. So, nobody at SABIO could hear me and I couldn’t figure out why. So, there I am, this supposed IT support expert who can’t even troubleshoot his own equipment. Then, once everything was up and running, my wife is trying to finally get the kids to calm down, so she turned on Amazon Fire TV. That sucked up all our bandwidth, so Skype stopped working. But despite all of that, me and my future co-worker Tibbeke got along really great.

Why was that?

I don’t know, it was just a feeling. We had a good really good conversation and understood each other. I just knew that I wanted to work there. It was kindof like love at first site. But it quickly became apparent that there was a problem with the salary I envisioned. It was higher than what SABIO was able to pay.


Uh oh. So, what happened?

Well I was ready to compromise but it was also clear that SABIO didn’t want to haggle with me. In the end, the question was if I could live with 80 percent of my salary — whether that was something I would be willing to deal with. Both sides had to think about whether that could work.

But you ended up agreeing. How does that feel now?

Just fantastic.

What makes up for that missing 20 percent salary now?

Job satisfaction. At Oracle, you’re just a number. You did your job and, in the end, nobody cared how you did it or how you felt. Also, I worked from my home office and my team was spread out all over the world. We never really had that team spirit you get that makes people stick up for each other. Here, I’m working in a real team that pulls together when it needs to. Every single day, I feel valued here, and that people take notice of my work. That gives me an amazing amount of satisfaction. That’s not something you can replace with money.

What does a really good workplace look like in your opinion?

The first thing is that the job has to give me the option and the freedom to do my work the way I think is best. For me, that means that I get assigned a task and I am free to complete it at my own pace, using my own methods — so long as I meet my deadline. I want to have the freedom to organize things myself. And then I would want the team leads to guide me and support me, but not subject me to constant surveillance. I could never work in a call center where I absolutely have to do 50 calls an hour. I don’t like that kind of work. That’s another reason why I went to work for a small company. Things aren’t already written in stone here.

What would you say are the three best things that you rediscovered in the last two months at work?

Team spirit, challenge, and validation. When people walk into the office and say, “Hey I’m so grateful that you made that work.”

What do you expect from SABIO?

SABIO should keep being a good employer. It should challenge me, but also give me the freedom to think up things that are good for the company so I can contribute.

When are you going to quit SABIO?

They’ll have to drag me out kicking and screaming! Unless that happens, I’m not leaving here anytime soon.