A Story to Inspire: Successful Career Change from Welder to Head of Procurement division
Even if you have higher education, do not be afraid of taking on the challenge of unskilled labor in an industrial company. After all, you will be hard-pressed to find a job that would not require some type of knowledge or responsibility. Every job matter, especial in production. This is the piece of advice given to those seeking career and looking for opportunities by Žydrūnas Benaitis, Head of Procurement division at Arginta Engineering. This is not just empty talk, as Žydrūnas can tell all about the benefits of starting from the basics based on his personal experiences. His straight path to success may inspire and serve as an example for others.
Žydrūnas has been working at the same company for almost 11 years and has tried various positions. According to him, the secret to a long-term job at the same company lies in simple things. However, the most interesting tidbit in his story is the fact that Žydrūnas had a diploma from one of the best higher education institutions in Lithuania and all the opportunities granted by it, and yet, it was not a desk job with a computer and a comfortable chair that he started his career from. Instead, Žydrūnas chose to take up the profession of a welder, which, as time showed, gave him priceless experience.
“After receiving my diploma, I could see opportunities in my field of studies of industry and engineering, but my goal has never been to simply dive into an office job. After all, one should first get hand-on experience, learn how to use tools, touch the product, discover how things are made. Only then you realize what you are dealing with,” said Žydrūnas with a smile on his lips.
Additional training before career
Žydrūnas came from Panevėžys and finished the program of study in Industrial Engineering at Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VILNIUS TECH) in 2008. After that, he left for work in Norway. However, Žydrūnas already knew he would not spend all of his life abroad.
“After completing my studies, I took a break and left to Norway to earn some money. The pay is good there, even if you are an unskilled worker, but I knew I would not stay for long. A little bit over a year later, I returned from Norway and decided it was high time I started looking for a job in my field of studies. I made the decision to start from a welder’s position because I was well aware it was an important job at any engineering or metal processing facility. I had some theoretical knowledge as I had chosen the Welding Engineering and Material Science elective in my studies,” said Žydrūnas.
“Firstly, I needed to learn how to weld because I had no experience in this field. I knew this profession required great attention to detail and in-depth knowledge and, thus, I enrolled in Vilnius Jeruzalė Vocational Training Center. I believe this choice decided my fate. While I was still learning, I was scouted by the Manufacturing Director at Arginta Engineering, who offered me to train at their plant. I agreed without a doubt and this was the start of my ongoing career,” said Žydrūnas, adding that he did have the support of his relatives and closest friends.
“Nobody laughed at my seemingly strange decision. Everybody was positive about it. After all, the results were quick to show as I amassed knowledge rapidly. The first two months, I learned the operating principles of the company and later applied the knowledge in practice,” said Žydrūnas.
Self-confidence and taking action are the most important
According to Purchasing Director at Arginta Engineering, who has been working there for over 10 years, the company is always on the lookout for engineers who are capable of analytical thinking and proper assessment of the situation. This was one of the main reasons why Žydrūnas tried several different positions. However, the key factor here was the company’s policy to always look for specialists among their staff and give them the possibility to climb the corporate ladder.
“I did my best to show my motivation and passion. The company had several open positions offered to its own employees first, so, I happened to work as a welder for a while until I decided to try my hand at quality control. Later on, I transferred to the Engineering Department and worked with manufacturing technology. To be more accurate, my duties involved describing the technology of making a specific item. This required decisions on which materials to use, assessment of the related risks and work with technical drawings and documents.
Most importantly, I felt that my previous work had not gone amiss. I could successfully apply my welding competence for now I knew how long it took to weld certain parts, I could easily see the problematic spots in the technical drawings, the more complex parts, when to rearrange certain parts, which metal to choose and so on. My previous experience as a welder made everything much simpler,” said Žydrūnas.
According to Žydrūnas, he enjoyed his job but decided to be bold enough to try yet another position, when it became available and was offered to the staff of the company.
“I have achieved a lot when I served as an Engineer/Technologist and felt that I have been enjoying my job more and more with time. Yet, as the company grew, it established a new Sales Department which worked directly with clients. I had the opportunity to take the position of Project Manager. Once again, I faced many new challenges but I told myself I had nothing to fear and simply had to learn something new. Thus started my communication with clients, representation of the company, meetings, etc. I gained a lot of knowledge and new contacts.
Without my noticing it, five years passed and once again I had the opportunity to try something new. This was how I became the Purchasing Director. I have been serving in this position for two years now. Even though my job is completely different, I still visit the welding shop to take a look at the work of our welders. This reminds me that no matter what you do, every job is equally important here,” said Žydrūnas, who has worked for many years at Arginta Engineering.
Do not delude yourself
When sharing his story, Žydrūnas highlighted the key matter that decides a successful career.
“Firstly, do not delude yourself and decide what you truly want to do in life. In this age, you have a choice of many jobs that might bring you a lot of money, but will you truly enjoy your work? If not, it is not the best decision for your motivation to improve yourself in the field will be gone with the wind and you will soon find yourself stagnating.
I would say that if you know from the very beginning that you are interested in a certain field and you do everything you can to improve, you will go far. Lifelong learning in your field is key, as it was in my case. If the company gives you both a workplace and regular training, use it. I speak of this boldly because I have personal experience. I can say that my colleagues also view me in a different light because they know I have seen more than others usually in my position have.
Well, if speaking simply, you have to be human about everything and remain humble. Only by developing your worldview gradually and amassing experience can you truly understand what is happening in the world. Attempting to find common ground with everyone and the courage to try as much as you can is the best recipe to success,” said Žydrūnas.