Interview: Mayor

In collaboration with Career Services, NUTS has conducted two interviews for you that hopefully will help you with making a decision regarding your future job. Together with the RUG Career Services we have created this mini-series, consisting of two interviews, that will shine a light on non-stereotypical jobs you are able to get after graduating from the program English Language and Culture.

Today, we will introduce Erica, she’s a mayor here in the Netherlands!

What does your job entail and what do you like the most (and the least)?

I am a mayor. In The Netherlands, you are appointed for this position, not elected. In this position, I am chair of the local parliament and member and chair of the local government. Besides this, a mayor is an administrative body on its own, for decisions related to public order and safety. Being a mayor is a 24/7 task. That can be challenging. On the other hand, formally I do not have to report to anybody. Being a mayor is an intriguing combination of tasks and roles: I am a judge, a GP and a vicar all at once, performing on a political stage, with the freedom of an entrepreneur.


How did you get from your university program to the job you have now?

After my masters in Romance languages and cultures, I started doing a PhD. I did not like that and switched to a job at Gasunie. I worked there for 8 years, on the fringe between new strategy and public affairs. Besides my job, I became a member of the local council. In the meantime, I switched to a job at Agentschap Telecom (Radiocommunications Agency), as a Head of the Strategy and Communications Unit. Later on, I stopped as a member of the local council and switched jobs again.  I took on a job at Shell/NAM. I hated it, so I quit. I was unemployed for six months. Then I became a managing director of a small foundation striving for fast internet in the countryside in the province of Drenthe. After a year, I got the opportunity to become a mayor in the municipality of Bedum. I liked it a lot. Because Bedum ceased being an independent municipality per 2019, I decided to apply for another position as a mayor. In the municipality of Dalfsen. Since January 2019, I am a mayor here.


Do you feel like this job is perfect for you or would you like to move on after a while and why?

Fits perfect now. But I do not know for how long this will be the case. I am 40 years old now, and I have been working for 18 years. I cannot imagine doing this job (be it in another municpality) for the remaining 30 years of my career. But I have no clue what else right now. I will find out in the next couple of years.


What kind of skills do you need to have for this job and which skills did you learn during your work?

I believe authenticity, empathy and adaptability are key. I believe I have these competencies as a person, and I believe I developed them further in the jobs I had so far. I learned a lot of new things during my ancillary position as a member of the local council. This was a very formative period.


Is there any particular job-related mistake that you made that taught you a valuable lesson about (your) work and would you like to share this?

I am interested in many things and I tend to like a lot of things. However, I took a wrong turn with my first study (Civil Engineering==> I decided to switch to Romance Languages and Cultures), my PhD (too lonely and too specialist ==> I moved on to Gasunie) and my job at Shell (incredibly boring ==> I decided to quit). Follow your intuition!


Thank you very much Erica!

This interview also concludes our mini-series and we really hope you have enjoyed reading them and also got a bit better idea of what you’d like to do in the future! 


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