Most people would relish the opportunity to create their own job and I'm lucky enough to be in that position. After studying organisational psychology at the University of Utrecht, I studied and travelled across Italy, then worked for Randstad, a well-known human resources company in the Netherlands, and Accenture, a global consulting company. I have always been involved in people and their training and development but I wanted a new challenge. Freshfields has provided just that - a brand new role where I could develop my knowledge of a new area: the legal environment.
I soon realised that Freshfields people have many qualities in common. From secretaries to partners, they are ambitious, very intelligent and, like me, well travelled. Everyone has a life outside of work. Most people are involved in various clubs and societies, which makes for good conversation - everyone has time to talk, both at work and socially. At the end of the week you'll find our team in the bar getting to know each other. I'm involved with all areas and levels of the firm, identifying gaps in skills and development, and working with people to help them develop in ways that are relevant to their careers. One day I'll be organising training on management skills for lawyers, the next doing a one-to-one follow-up to see how they're using their new skills. And there's always room for initiative at Freshfields. For example, I've recently requested to shadow a senior associates' course in London to see whether we could transfer it to Amsterdam.
I enjoy working at Freshfields because people listen and empathise. I know I can talk over my plans with partners in a professional but informal environment. The team always discuss ideas (instead of dismissing them) and I learn from people as much as they learn from me.