"Once a country girl, always a country girl"
At first glance, this might look like a decision aimed at improving her work-life balance – if she had wanted to continue working in research, she would have had to go abroad, as she tells us. A step that was out of the question for her. Her home is a "little village", 35 minutes by car from the office, where she lives with her partner and goes bouldering in her free time. A community located to the south of Tübingen, with detached houses and great views of the surrounding landscape. She also has plans to have a house built in the near future, somewhere in this area in the foothills of the Swabian Alps. Ann-Christin couldn't imagine living in a town or city. She grew up in a village and says, 'I think it's somehow in my DNA'.
Finding a link to umlaut was actually a happy accident, Ann-Christin tells us. That's nothing unusual in her team, as many of them have taken the leap from another field. It was one of her colleagues, also originally a biologist, who told her about umlaut when she had just finished doing her doctorate. 'She was so full of enthusiasm. I had a long think about whether it might be the right thing for me too. Then I thought: You're brave enough to try this jump too.' Today, two years later, Ann-Christin still sees herself as a researcher, "but in a different field". As a project manager, she spends her time looking into the minds of customers and colleagues. She tries to read what they want, using a well-structured and organised approach. She calls her job at umlaut "a happy experiment".
A path that isn’t pre-destined
When she first joined the company in 2018, she was still testing the infotainment systems herself, analysing errors, doing all the documentation. For a while, that was okay, she says. But in the longer term, she knew that she wouldn't be satisfied. 'I always need new input, otherwise I soon start to feel unhappy.' Together with her mentor, she looked at where her strengths lie, what direction she could take, what she enjoyed doing. Today Ann-Christin heads up a team of 15 people. Instead of taking responsibility for a research project, she is responsible for other people as a manager. In this role, she says, she finds out more about herself every day. 'For example, I’m much more spontaneous than I used to be because I’m permanently reacting to new situations and having to adjust my plans.' Always something new – that's exactly what she wants.