What was that again about work?

Wie war das nochmal mit der Arbeit?

On Sunday last week, we shared an article from the Huffington Post on our Facebook timeline. Somehow some of you must have liked it... You can read the article here(http://www.huffingtonpost.de/2014/08/11/thomas-sattelberger-generation-y-.... ) That's why we'll just write a few lines about it now. A few lines on how we see the topic of work. Where does work begin, where does it end? What is leisure time today? Does it even still exist? We probably need to go back a bit and talk about the time before compagnon.

About Valentin Valentin has been self-employed for over five years now. Before that, he worked in marketing at a mechanical engineering company in Pforzheim and trained as an industrial clerk at the same company. Five years ago, however, he decided to take a rather risky step, quit his permanent job and become self-employed. Certainly - the fact that he was 22 years old and he and his wife had no children probably made the leap into self-employment a little easier. The fact that they didn't have to pay for a house, their wife worked as a nurse and the certainty that they could find a job somewhere in marketing or sales if all else failed were also important factors. The first two years of self-employment were not particularly rosy. It almost seemed as if it wouldn't work out and Valentin would have to go back into employment somewhere. Nevertheless, he learned many things during this time - how to set up an online store, how to approach customers, how to sell products. Online and, even more importantly, offline. In 2011, in August, he started a new attempt. He threw everything into the balance and founded his film production company. Mind you, without customers and without a reference. But thank God there were people who believed him and trusted him to be the right filmmaker for their projects. You can find his latest showreel here(www.valentin-schuele.de/showreel). In the meantime, he has built up a small team and the film production runs parallel to compagnon. The two jobs or tasks can be combined quite well. At compagnon, Valentin is primarily responsible for communication and selling the bags. Thanks to his commercial training, he can also take care of the bookkeeping... About Vitalis Vitalis has a slightly different background to Valentin. That's probably why we fit together so well... Vitalis completed a technical apprenticeship as a precision mechanic, also in Pforzheim, at a Pforzheim stamping technology company. He then worked there for a while. He soon realized that he didn't necessarily want to work there until he retired at the age of 67, 69 or possibly 82 (who knows today). Standing at the machine and watching it work is not necessarily exciting. So he decided to train as a mechanical engineering technician. After two years of full-time schooling, he had also completed this course. He soon found a job, including a six-month stint in Malaysia, where he managed the construction of machines as project manager. But being separated from his wife, family and friends for thousands of kilometers for months on end is not necessarily for everyone. Not for Vitalis either. However, the international experience on his CV appealed to other companies, so it wasn't particularly difficult to find a suitable position in the local area. Until June 2014, Vitalis officially managed machine construction sites in Germany and other European countries - mainly in the automotive sector. This job doesn't just sound time-consuming, it is. Today in Vienna, next week in Braunschweig, two weeks later in Bordeaux, and so on. Designing bags on the side, testing new materials, visiting manufacturers and fine-tuning prototypes - you have to sacrifice your well-deserved vacation. It soon became clear to Vitalis that this situation could not last very long. Either his family, his job or compagnon would suffer. So decisions have to be made. It's clear that the family comes first - so that leaves the "safe and responsible" job or the "risky" alternative of compagnon. Vitalis has opted for "risk" and now spends every day, all day, developing new bags, testing new materials, communicating closely with our producer, etc. Why do this? Why do you do that? And now we have reached the point where you have to listen to your heart and your mind. Important - your own mind. Not the minds of friends, colleagues, parents and relatives. Sure, most of the advice that comes in such a phase is well-intentioned. However, this advice is almost always given from a "non-self-employed" perspective. How can someone who has never taken the risk of self-employment themselves realistically judge whether a business will be successful or not? Yes, we know that this statement is uncomfortable. Particularly in Germany, people like it when you break out of your comfort zone and prefer a career in a company to running your own business - not! Self-employment is certainly not for everyone. There are always phases in which you have to make difficult decisions. It is particularly exciting if, like us, you are completely self-financed. When there is no foreign investor or a multi-million euro holding company pumping a seven- or eight-figure sum into the company. When the situation is like this, financial decisions have a major impact - both in business and directly in private life. We certainly don't want to dictate to anyone here what is right and what is wrong. Ultimately, everyone has to find their own path and then follow it as consistently as possible. For us, this path is absolutely the right one, at least from today's perspective! How do you know that? From the feedback from you out there, from the feedback from our cooperation partners in the trade, from the feeling when we pack our own bags to take them on a trip and then simply love them and are proud of them. We've probably never worked as much in our lives as we are at the moment. But that doesn't mean that all the work is done in our studio(actually it's an office, studio sounds cooler). You wake up in the morning thinking about compagnon or the projects and often go to bed thinking about them. We have to "literally" pull ourselves together so that we don't talk about compagnon all the time, even at the weekend or when we meet up with our families during the week. There are enough topics and, above all, there are always new ones... But that's exactly why we're continuing to build compagnon, because we simply don't know what we could do that's even more exciting! :-) We are looking forward to the fall!

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