Let's talk!: Non-academic careers #1

Veröffentlicht am 24. Oktober 2019

 :: Non-Academic Careers ::

  Practitioners in talk #Part 1

We start the winter semester with new perspectives from practitioners who are also historians or sociologists. The range is wide - from publishing work to communication design to European trade union activities. Every month we publish a new interview.

You can read our last series of BGHS members' reports about their activities outside the university here:

Complete version as PDF

Enjoy reading!

Many paths lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead concretely? In the winter semester, we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Peter Scherrer spoke to us about his role as Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Mr Scherrer, until May 2019 you were Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). What were perhaps the three most important tasks for you?

Peter Scherrer: The most important task is to introduce the position of trade unions into European legislation. That is quite central: just before the European elections this summer, the Commission took a number of legislative initiatives that it absolutely wanted to implement before Parliament split up. There have been several legislative initiatives related to the so-called European Pillar of Social Rights. The second task is to develop positions supported by all ETUC member organisations: European Trade Unions speak with one voice. This is not automatically the case. There are major differences of opinion on trade issues, for example: TTIP has not only met with rejection. Or differences in energy policy: Polish miners see coal renunciation differently from civil servants in Luxembourg.

All are members of the ETUC though. The third most important task is to support our trade unions. In particular, member associations from countries where, for example, there is no functioning social dialogue and where trade unions are weak. In "Brussels Speak", this is called capacity building: helping trade unions and, depending on the situation, employers' associations to be strong. We also want employers' associations that are assertive. And we also have member organisations outside the EU, in the so-called candidate countries, such as Serbia, for example: there is a need to strengthen trade unions, some of which are not taken seriously by the respective governments. There, economic and social policies are made past the unions.

Peter Scherrer at a union demonstration.

What knowledge and skills do you bring to this work as a historian?

Peter Scherrer: I would say: a good general education. But I think I could have also been a political scientist or a sociologist for the work I did there. What is important is the tool of scientific work: analysing, summarising or reproducing things. I have always written relatively much in my profession and have now, for example, co-edited a volume entitled "Jetzt für ein besseres Europa!" published by the European Trade Union Institute (EGI). I have to say that for me the study of history has always been very important. Now that I am out of the immediate office routine, books are piling up again that I absolutely have to read. I have time for that, because I will use the summer break to see how things will continue professionally.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are starting a career in your profession?

Peter Scherrer: First of all: write a lot and draw attention to yourself. So, for example, when someone writes a thesis on the history of agriculture: Agriculture is still the largest budget item in Brussels and there are many issues related to agriculture. As a graduate, I would take a look at the associations and their publications; I would research what is on the agenda in Parliament. And then I would look where freely accessible events are, make me a reasonable business card, talk to people and also apply unsolicited. If someone can say on an application: Here I have my focal points, then I find that more convincing than pumping up every detail of life experience.

When someone at the age of 26 applies with a Master's degree and a giant slat of experience, I always think: My God, you can just admit that this is your first work experience now. But that the topic is important to you and that you have been dealing with it for a long time: something like that convinces me. And another tip - I wouldn't have thought 35 years ago that I say something like this: Good manners are always appreciated!

I got that point. Mr. Scherrer, thank you for talking to us.

The talk was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

You can find the complete conversation as PDF here (german):

Complete version as PDF

Further Details about the project "non-academic-careers":

  • Homepage
  • The conference on non-university career paths on 27.5.
  • Gesendet von HGrüneberg in Allgemein

    Welcome Day 19/20

    Veröffentlicht am 14. Oktober 2019

    Welcome Day 19/20

    :: 22 doctoral students join the BGHS ::

    On Wednesday, 9 October, the Welcome Day took place at the BGHS in the winter semester 2019/20. Ursula Mense-Petermann, Director of the BGHS, welcomed the new PhD students. Afterwards Sabine Schäfer, academic director of the BGHS and Bettina Brandt (scientific director of the School of Historical Research) informed about the BGHS, the Faculty of Sociology and the Department of History. In addition, the Doctoral Representatives and the coordinator of the project "Extra-university Careers for Humanities and Social Sciences" introduced themselves Ulf Ortmann. At the subsequent coffee break in the BGHS lounge, all participants were able to talk to each other and get to know each other.

    Three contributions provided the doctoral students with knowledge for future challenges after the break: What opportunities are there for scholarships during the doctorate? How can I structure my writing process? And how can I integrate stays abroad into my work?

    We would like to thank the Service Center for Young Researchers, the Writing Centre and the International Office for their valuable input.

    Links above: Bettina Brandt; center: Stefanie Haacke; top right: Antonia Langhof. Photos: Hannah Grüneberg

    Links: Sabine Schäfer; right: Karin Kruse. Photos: Hannah Grüneberg

    The new doctoral candidates at BGHS

    22 new doctoral students started their dissertation projects at the BGHS in the winter semester 2019/2020: Four historians and 18 sociologists.

    Photos: Hannah Grüneberg

    New BGHS PhD students and their research projects:

    • Lorena Albornoz Garrido (History): Developing a strategy to recover the parliaments ethnopolitical negotiations
    • Wojciech Wientzek (Story : "Silence but you can't!") Peter Weiss, Heiner Müller and Luigi Nono as "political brokers" and intellectual border crossers in the Cold War, 1960-
    • Simon Groß (History): Helmut Schelsky and the Sociological Field of the Federal Republic of Germany
    • Nicole Schwabe (History): The Own in the Stranger? Diachronic discourse analysis on historical-didactic world designs in the 20th century
    • Verena Stern (Sociology): "We're not Nazis." On the cooperation of 'concerned citizens' with right-wing extremists in protests against asylum accommodations in Germany
    • Valentina Francisca Rivera Toloza (Sociology): Female employment in Chile and Germany during 1990-2015: How public policies and cultural changes shape or un-shape gender equality?
    • Malin Houben (Sociology): Gynaecological Practice. An ethnographic investigation
    • Felix Maximilian Bathon (Sociology): Communication in small groups - Studies on small groups as a social system
    • Lisa De Vries (Sociology): The labour market situation of homosexuals: Disadvantage and discrimination in the course of employment
    • Özgür Salmanog (Sociology):Analyzing Nietzsche's and Foucault's Concept of Power from the Perspective of the Political
    • Emre Cakirdiken (Sociology): Political trends in transformation: the rise of populism and future of democracy
    • Cansu Erdogan (Sociology): ´Harmony´ between Actors in Long-Term Care Provision: Different Welfare Cultures Giving Rise to Different Modes of Regulation?
    • Nele Weiher (Sociology): Between Self-Determination and Self-Determination. To the identity production of Trans* in the context of escape.
    • Kristina Willjes (Sociology): Doing digitalization - The introduction of electronic file management in a local job center
    • Elisa Gensler (Sociology): The design and evaluation of digitised regulation in work organisations and its effects on the autonomy of employees
    • Stefan Wilbers (Sociology): "Historical Sociology of University Rankings. Institutionalization of a Modern Comparative Practice, 1900-1980"
    • Dorian Tsolak (Sociology): Explaining Female Migrants' Labour Force. Participation by Family and Cultural Heritage
    • Thi Dieu Hien Nguyen (Sociology): Social welfare for workers in Phu Bai industrial park, Huong Thuy district, Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam: Actual situation, roles and challenges
    • Tipu Sultan (Sociology): Gender role and work life balance among dual earner couples
    • Janes Odongo (Sociology): Factoring Disaster Management into Regional Development Planning: A Study of Devolved Governance in Kenya
    • Md. Moynul Haque (Sociology): Civil resistance in Bangladesh: A study on student dimension of protest movements
    • Yueran Tian (Sociology): Restructuring Welfare and Care: An Ethnographic Study of Vocational Training and Migrant Factory Workers in Post-Socialist China
    • Abel Yonas Zekarias (Soziologie): Migrants' remittances and rural livelihood: concomitant considerately? Evidences from the rural Ethiopia.
    Further information on the new doctoral candidates at the BGHS and their research projects as well as on all doctoral candidates can be found at:
    Gesendet von HGrüneberg in Allgemein


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