Career

Projects and part-time jobs: Why “cheating” in your job can make sense

Felix Kranert.

Felix Kranert.

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Felix Kranert leads a double life. As is so often the case, the daily grind has crept in. The passion has been lost. He’s looking for something exciting – and cheating. When Kranert talks about one of his “affairs”, he doesn’t mean his private life. The trained IT system electrician is unfaithful to his permanent employer. And he has no problem with that at all.

Kranert has been a permanent employee at Siemens for more than ten years. The work is exciting, he always gets new tasks with more responsibility. Nevertheless, he realizes that he is missing a balance. Working in a large corporation offers him many advantages: a secure job, a good employer and interesting topics. But: “I also wanted to try something crazy, outside of the company.” He lacks a kind of playground to experiment – far from the processes of a global company. Kranert begins his first “affair” and founds his own small agency.

He is interested in UX design. How do you represent complex systems simply? UX designers form the interface in software development between the user and the developer. They ensure that products are frustration-free and easy to use. Kranert optimizes a cash register system for a Nuremberg company or writes a concept for an app and an online shop. At this point in time, he didn’t know that his experience in UX design would also help him later at Siemens.

“I wanted to learn new things”

He acquires the skills required to implement his projects himself. “I wanted to learn new things,” he says. At the same time, he continues to work full-time at Siemens. The employer knows and supports him. Of course there are also limits. For example, it goes without saying that Kranert’s projects are clearly delimited from the topics of his employer. “Mutual trust is imperative,” he says.

After a while, UX design also becomes routine for him. With a good friend from the insurance industry, he founds a startup, but it doesn’t last. The idea was good, says Kranert. He and his partner hadn’t found the right direction and therefore decided at some point that the company no longer made sense. But he doesn’t regret this step.

When a new position with operational responsibility beckons at Siemens, he is initially concentrating entirely on that. He is responsible for marketing products from the field of industrial visualization. What was previously not foreseeable: he can now use his skills that he has acquired in UX design. Because: According to Kranert, factors such as “usability” or “user experience” were still often ridiculed in the rational industry at this point. “I knew what was important and so we could actively use the topics and support our customers,” he says.

His new position is challenging and exhausting. Nonetheless, two years ago he got it again: He wrote a book and hosted his own podcast that explored innovative ideas.

A kind of second education path

Kranert, who has never studied, sees his professional “affairs” as a kind of second education path. He is convinced that no academic training could have brought him as much as his own will to constantly take on new tasks, to acquire knowledge and to put what he has learned into practice. “I started something without knowing where it would take me,” he says. Simply because the topic appealed to him.

Not only did his professional double life benefit him, but also his employer. Kranert automatically trains himself – and thus brings expertise from areas that nobody else in the team has. “I see tremendous value in mixing different topics,” he says. Often, however, this does not happen in a large company structure because the focus is on the relevance of the projects.

More variety in professional life

While we tend to view a double life as something negative in private, it can be very beneficial in a professional context. Kraner’s “affairs” add variety to his life. They challenge him, help him not to fall into the daily grind and keep learning new things. And at the same time, he can enjoy the benefits of his long-term relationship with Siemens.

Of course, it’s not for everyone to pursue other projects in addition to a full-time job. Nevertheless, it can be helpful to see something different from time to time in addition to your everyday work. It doesn’t have to be a startup of its own; regular training courses are also conceivable, for example. Or you appear as a speaker at a specialist congress. Another option is to reduce your main job to part-time and work on a project close to your heart. In any case, not only we – but also our employer can benefit from our professional infidelity.

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