My job is also my hobby. It’s great fun, even after 17 years

Germany-based Peter H. Nielsen began his career in OJ’s export sales. He later moved on to a position as North American Market Manager with responsibility for the region, and for the last six months, he has been holding the position as Sales Director. He describes his time at OJ as a journey filled with development opportunities, collaborative team spirit, and plenty of freedom with responsibility. As well as really good fun.

Most of OJ’s sales are international, and during most weeks, Peter will be traveling somewhere between customers abroad, OJ’s headquarters in Sønderborg, and working from home in Germany. His American customers are sound asleep at the time that he gets up in the morning, so there is no such thing as 8-16 at the office. No two days are quite the same.

“I like the flexibility. Doing the same day after day wouldn’t make me happy. It’s normal for me to wake up and not know what the day will bring. Instead, my days are shaped by my agenda and where my customers are. If they are in the US, I’ll work from there. If I need to collaborate with colleagues in Denmark, I’ll be there. The most important thing is to succeed with the tasks at hand. And to see that you make a difference.”

He continues on the way of working at OJ, “OJ gives you a lot of freedom with responsibility. If you want to, they will let you. The management displays a great degree of trust in their employees and makes room for people to develop. They let you take on difficult challenges and tasks. It is part of the OJ DNA to invest in the employees. In learning, developing, and growing. And in turn, initiatives are very welcomed.”

As an example of his employer’s will to invest in people, Peter looks back at the way he moved from export sales to Key Account Manager. While in his first job, he was given the opportunity to study for an HD, and in connection with this he wrote a thesis on how to turn customers into Key Accounts and how to acquire and manage large customers. This gave him a solid theoretical foundation and at the same time he helped acquiring several large customers. It followed naturally that he moved on to become their account manager.

“Freedom under responsibility is present everywhere in my job,” he explains. “For instance, I have a sales target for the year and a budget. It’s as simple as that. It’s then up to me how I want to spend the budget to reach my target. Nobody checks up on me all the time to see if it’s going in the right direction or not. Of course, I have to report to management regularly, but nobody is breathing down my neck, and I don’t have to spend time constantly defending my work. Basically, there is no micromanagement, just a high degree of trust!”

At OJ, many different departments must come together to achieve success, and everyone respects that no single department can achieve it on its own. “We have great respect for each other,” says Peter. “The OJ machine is only well-oiled if we acknowledge each other and support each other in moving forward. There’s a great appreciation for each other’s skills.”

Cooperation at OJ Electronics A/S

People generally stay with OJ for a long time compared to other companies, and while OJ has doubled its turnover and grown in staff numbers during Peter’s time here, it is still small enough that everyone knows everyone. “It becomes like a family because you have known each other for such a long time. On a personal level too,” he says. “That’s the OJ spirit and has been as long as I’ve been there. You join in and help each other out. We genuinely care and worry about each other.”

Even if he is unable to join many of the social activities with his colleagues because of his German location, he finds plenty of opportunities to spontaneously get together. “It’s up to you. You can also just meet up for a beer after work. Take action, set something up. There’ll always be colleagues who want to join in.”

Peter sums up the experience of working at OJ in three prominent pillars: freedom, trust, and a fantastic collegial community. “There’s no better basis for growing and developing as a person and in your career,” he says. “We have some very good values at OJ. No doubt about that. So much that I think of my work as my hobby. It is very rare that I don’t feel like working. I feel lucky that someone will pay me for doing this, because it’s so much fun. Even after 17 years.”

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