You have to recognize and seize opportunities

Carla Voss-Martinow, financial helpdesk assistant


“I was almost 17 and worked in a supermarket on Saturdays. Someone who was working at ABP at the time (now APG) saw me at work and suggested that I apply. They needed people urgently. That was in 1974 and ABP had only just settled in Limburg. That's how I started here. Learning on the job, really. By regularly moving to a different place and changing jobs, you get to know the company better and better. The pension company appealed to me, I liked the idea of a position as a pension co-worker. I followed a good deal of training for that.


I always put my hand up when something new came along. Much has changed, more and more tasks have been automated. In my early days there were no computers, I'd never heard of automation. I joined new business units, started working with new systems and had to deal with a lot of regulatory changes. I want to do what's best for our customers. I often had criticisms, thought things should be different, could be better. That's why I was always allowed to contribute ideas and take part in projects.

It's easy to criticize, but I think you have to contribute to the solution. That’s what I've always done. It's no good just shouting from the sidelines. You're given a lot of responsibility here, that feels good. If you have the courage to take it, you'll do fine. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve also made mistakes, but I’m not afraid to admit it.


I want to mean something to others, help people move forward. And that's why I feel completely at home here in HR now. I advise colleagues who need information about the social plan, the collective agreement or what a reorganization means to them financially. The outcome isn’t always what they want to hear, but it gives them clarity. They know where they stand. And I can make a difference for them. My background as a member of the Works Council helps me with that.


I'm grateful for being where I am now. A lot of things have come my way in all these years. If you recognize and seize the opportunities yourself, the opportunities here are endless."


Everybody makes mistakes.