Malin Müller interviewed former WBB participant Barbara Reiners, who managed to get back on her feet professionally after a 20-year family break – a report on her experiences that is encouraging.
“When the children became more independent, they only needed me as a taxi”. This opening sentence by Barbara Reiners gives an idea of the internal hurdles the former WBB participant had to overcome at the beginning. Through contacts of her husband, Barbara Reiners was able to teach at the University of Applied Sciences in Kempten for two years with a temporary employment contract. After that, the search began again. Through research on the internet, she came across the WBB programme, because there was nothing like it in Germany – not even today, in her opinion.
Where are you now in your life? What is your current job?
While I was still on the WBB programme, I got a permanent job at Allgäuer Überlandwerk. Everything fell into place, and it was also a big portion of luck that I got this job. But I also made an effort and did a lot to get it. Anyone who just waits and thinks that with the completion of further training a job will come from alone is mistaken. Even today, after more than 10 years, I am happy in this job and still work a 100% stint. Over the years, the department has changed a lot, we have grown from two and a half to six employees. The entire field of activity has also changed, especially nowadays energy trading is extremely exciting, and digitalisation is a big challenge. In addition to my main job, I also have a teaching position at the university in Kempten, where I give lectures in winter.
Do you have another professional goal that you would like to achieve in the next few years?
My goal is to stay in the company. The conditions are very good, and we are a great team with a good supervisor. I wouldn’t give up something like that so easily. My team colleagues are all a bit younger than me. I like this situation because it also challenges me. After all, I want to be able to keep up with the younger ones and so far, I’m managing.
What advice would you give to a woman who wants to change careers or is planning to return to work?
The right attitude is very important. You mustn’t think that job offers will fly at you after you’ve completed your further education. You have to keep your eye on the ball and take care of it yourself. You also must not let setbacks get you down. Most of the time, it has nothing to do with the person. There are so many factors that influence whether you get the job or not. The right timing and a bit of luck often play an important role. Another point is the financial aspect, which should not deter you. Participation in the WBB programme has a hefty price tag, but it really pays off in the end.
We have already reached the end of the interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Yes, there is something I would like to give to every woman. My husband passed away two years ago. Now I am dependent on work. You never know what the future holds, so it’s important for us women not to be dependent and to have a job that we can support ourselves with. I find that important! I would like to pass this on to young women. I am glad and grateful that I did everything right in this case. I also look back on the WBB with pleasure, it was a great time, and we were a super group. The network of former WBB participants is very important to me – these friendships still exist and are very valuable.
The “Women Back to Business Programme”, WBB for short, is aimed at women with a university or technical college degree who are returning to professional life, want to reposition themselves after a longer break or want to take on more responsibility. The teaching of the latest management concepts and theories are the focus, along with individual career counselling and the mentoring programme.
Here you can find the Career Relaunch Blog.