Joyce Ladenstein has been our Career Service Officer for over a year now, so it was time to meet and introduce her. Joyce is 46 years old and grew up in Heerlen. 27 years ago, she fell in love with Breda and she has been living there ever since. She lives in a busy household with her boyfriend, 3 children, a cat, and a dog. After 22 years of working at Start People, she needed another challenge, and finally, this has led to the job: Career Service Officer at TiSEM (Tilburg School of Economics and Management). How did she end up here and what are the particular things she does as a Career Service Officer? written by: Casper Heemskerk and Juul Schuurmans
Joyce’s education and career
Joyce left Heerlen when she graduated from pre-university education. She went to study at Utrecht University and moved there as well. It did not work out in Utrecht and she quit after a few months. The following year, she decided to study tourism at the NHTV (Nationale Hogeschool voor Toerisme en Verkeer, now Breda University of Applied Sciences) in Breda. During and after her study she did not know what job suited her best so she decided to start working at an employment agency to gain broad work experience. She accepted a job at Start People, nowadays part of USG People. She started as a consultant but eventually developed and moved on to several positions, to end up as national recruitment manager. After many beautiful and educational years, but also after many years of traffic jams, it was time for a new challenge. In good consultation, Joyce and Start People said goodbye to each other after 22 years and Joyce decided to follow her heart and look for a job that suits her and gives her energy. She took some time for herself to reflect and by then, a job offer at the university came along. Because this job entails everything she looks for in a career, she decided to accept the offer. So, since February 2020, she is the new Career Service Officer of TiSEM.
Career Service Officer
Not every student has yet been in contact with the Career Service Officer. Some do not even know that the Econometrics department has a Career Service Officer, who is specialized in the programs. Every student can contact the Career Service Officer if he or she wants guidance or advice preparing for their future career. Through the Tilburg University career portal, you can schedule a career guidance appointment with Joyce. She can give guidance and advice for every stage of career preparation.
Besides the personal meetings with students, Joyce is regularly in contact with the Academic Directors and Education Coordinators for updates. In cooperation with them and Asset, they organize workshops, inspiration sessions, and several career perspective events with alumni. Furthermore, Joyce gives short information or inspiration sessions for big groups of students about current topics or frequently asked questions together with her colleague Simone.
Expectations about the job
Before Joyce started working at the university, she had some expectations about the job. Like she said: “I expected to have much contact with the students and I could help them with their development. Not only should I give information to the students, but the students also have to explore things on their own and I want to guide them in that process.” Her expectations are fulfilled, she enjoys the job and the contact with the students. The switch from working at a company to working at the university was very welcome. At the university, the speed of the processes is somewhat slower and the deadlines are less tight. Therefore, there is also room to come up with new ideas.
She noticed that for econometrics students, the job offers are not the problem. Econometricians are wanted and the students are aware of this fact. But, she noticed that econometrics students sometimes struggle with their preference; which job and which organization suits them best. “Advice and guidance for Econometrics students should lie more on the first two phases: who am I, what do I want, and which organization and function are best suited to this.” The best time to start thinking about the future is already during the study, while there is plenty of time to reflect and explore.
In these times during the crisis, many companies are financially suffering. During the first lockdown, the companies were hesitant about hiring new people. However, the situation normalized and the amount of job offers is increasing again. Joyce thinks that for starters at the job market, it is not very difficult to find a job compared to the situation before the crisis.
Biggest challenge in your work
Joyce thinks that at the moment, one of the biggest challenges she faces is the differences in how important Academic Directors find labor market preparation. On one side you have Directors who see the importance and are willing to think along and promote Student Career Services. While on the other side, there are Directors who do not think it is so important because the labor market opportunities and prospects for the students are very bright. The biggest challenge, but also one of Joyce’s goals is therefore to make sure that all Academic Directors find career orientation and preparation important and see the added value of Student Career Services. Joyce really sees it as a challenge and not a frustration. She is noticing improvements daily and everyone is always open for a conversation. Besides that, she also mentioned that the Vice Dean of Education is supporting them a lot. He does deem it really important to stimulate career orientation and preparation among the students. Furthermore, she mentions that help is on the way: “From March 1 onwards, there will be an extra Career Service Officer so that they can focus more on a specific program and really go more in depth to help the students.”
Greatest loss at your job due to Corona
Our Career Service Officer started working at the university in February. This means that she only worked on campus for five weeks, and from that moment on she had to work from home. About what Joyce is missing the most, she said: “The social interactions for sure. To be able to walk to the desk of a colleague to ask a small question, and for example, the chats at the coffee machine.” She also sees some advantages of working at home, but would really like to go back to the university when it is all possible again at least for a few days a week.
The most important developments in your field of work
Joyce explains that she considers herself to be working in the field of labor market preparation. In general, the most important development is the relevance of soft skills and work experience in the form of internships. Besides this, Joyce also notices some important developments in her own department at the university: “I think that for us, one of the most important developments is digitalization. When I started, almost everything on our website was just plain text without any visualization.” In her team, Joyce became responsible for the digitalization. She and her colleagues started to implement short videos and animations. Besides this, dealing with data and increasing their visibility are also important. After explaining all of this, Joyce did have to admit something: “I might be a little biased since digitalization is my portfolio in the team.”
Start developing your soft skills already during your study by for example becoming active at an association.
Joyce on Econometricians
Lastly, Joyce gave her thoughts and opinions on Econometricians: “You are all very wanted on the labor market. There are always opportunities and your study really gives a good foundation for your career. It is one of the studies with the highest demand.” However, Joyce indicated that all these opportunities are also a risk. Sometimes, Econometricians do not orientate a lot on the different options they have. Therefore, they can end up with a job which they do not like as much as they hoped. Because of that, Joyce would like to give all econometricians reading this interview two tips. Firstly, start developing your soft skills already during your study by for example becoming active at an association. The other tip Joyce has is to really orientate on what you like. Find out what your preferences are, such that you will end up at an organization you really enjoy working at.