As part of the project Maxnet in Faces we continue to talk about the people who work in the company. This time we talked to Ulyana Makogon, the head of the Service and Information Center (SIC). She came to Maxnet as a student to get her first work experience and several years later headed one of the largest departments of the company. Read about professional growth, opportunities for young professionals, as well as the qualities that Maxnet employees should have in our interview.
— You have been working at Maxnet for more than six years. How did you start your professional career in the company?
— I joined the company when I was a student. At that time two of my classmates were already working in technical support and were happy with their work. The guys told me that the customer department was looking for new employees, so I decided to send my resume. I got a call back and offered to come in for training. That's how I came and stayed (laughs).
— — Were you educated in telecommunications? Or the job was not related to your speciality?
— No, it had nothing to do with my education. I graduated from the KAI as a design engineer.
— Today you manage the service and information center Maxnet. What position did you hold when you first joined the company?
— I came to work as a subscriber department specialist. My main duties were consulting subscribers on the company's services and accepting applications for connection. At that time it was much easier to work because there were fewer subscribers and fewer applications. Now everything is different: the coverage area is increasing, the department's structure has changed, other requirements to the employees, and the working conditions have also changed, naturally, for the better.
— How did you become a department head?
— My path was long (smiles). I worked as a subscriber department specialist, then I was transferred to the technical support department, and on Saturdays I substituted for the girls who worked in the Customer Service Center (CSC). Later one of the administrators went on maternity leave, and I was offered to take her place. I worked as an administrator in the CSC for a year and a half or two years, and then I went back to the SIC. A little later, after changes in the department structure, I was transferred to the position of back-office specialist. And then I replaced the head and grew up to my current position. It turned out that, thanks to the work in different positions, I had an understanding of the work of all areas.
— What are the responsibilities of the CSC head?
— My main task is to develop the department. This development includes many different subtasks — recruiting new people, participating in their training and adaptation, preparing regulations, instructions for improving work processes, and making work schedules. Sometimes, when there is a need, I help my colleagues in processing phone calls, so I don't forget what communication with subscribers is like.
— Has your life changed after coming to Maxnet?
— Of course, it has changed. This is my first job. I grew up professionally and chose the direction in which I've been developing for several years already.
— During your time at Maxnet, you managed to build a career, starting as an operator. Did you initially have goals to grow and develop in this particular company?
— First of all, I started working to stop being financially dependent on my parents. And then, after I worked for some time, after graduating from college, of course, I wanted to grow professionally, to develop in the company direction.
— What did you manage to learn during the years of work at Maxnet?
— Very much, it is even difficult to single out one thing. I had to communicate on the phone with many people, it discouraged me from long telephone conversations (laughs), but gave me a plus. I learned to restrain my emotions, react calmly to any questions and in general began to treat people with patience. I learned not just to listen, but to hear people.
In general, a separate layer of knowledge obtained at Maxnet is the technical part. Here I mastered a lot of things, starting with the elementary, from the basics. It was also at Maxnet that I gained experience in personnel management. I probably always liked to command (laughs), but it was on an emotional level. Now it is not a command, but management, the ability to build relationships and create a team. I learned to multi-task, plan my activities and strive for self-improvement, which is very important for my current position. Now I try to continue developing in this direction.
— Have you managed to teach others anything during this time?
— I can't say that I, in the literal sense of the word, teach anyone. We have a training program, which is handled by the area coordinators. I take part in checking what the trainees have learned and after a week I can already understand if this person is the right one for us or not. I can tell the specialist or his mentor what problems I see in their work, what needs to be improved and what I should pay attention to.
— What can you call your main professional achievement?
— I think the main achievements are my professional growth and growth of SIC indicators. I can't and won't attribute the various positive changes in the department, which were numerous during my work, to myself, because I work in a team and all changes were always discussed and implemented collectively.
— What qualities must a person who wants to make a career in the SIC have?
— We used to have staff turnover, which is inherent in this line of work. It's quite a stressful job. There are different cases and it can be difficult to communicate with subscribers who call with the question: «Why isn't the Internet working?».
Now we've changed our recruitment strategy a little bit. We try to accept people who really want to work. It can be either students or older people. Now we have employees who are not only interested in work, but also in future growth. Although our starting salary is not the highest, we see prospects for growth both in the department and in the company as a whole. Many of our current employees started their careers in the SIC. For example, our system administrators, technicians, and department heads grew out of the SIC.
They got most of their technical knowledge and skills here. And that's because they had a desire to learn, to develop. They were interested in this field, they learned something new not only in the corporate training, but also on their own, they were constantly asking questions. Therefore, I can already say with confidence that it is those people who stay with us who not only want to earn money, but also strive to develop.
— What advice can you give to professionals who are just starting their career at Maxnet?
— Set goals and work hard to achieve them. Develop themselves, communicate with people and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Besides, working in the SIC requires emotional involvement, as well as any work with people. We try to create the most comfortable conditions and provide appropriate training, so that employees would like to work for us. But at the same time we also expect some return from the person, it is very important that the employee is not indifferent to what he or she is doing.
— You've devoted many years to this company, and it must have become more than just a job for you. What is Maxnet to you?
— I'm probably going to repeat what many people have already said, but for me it is a second home. We've always had a great team in the SIC, even though the department is periodically renewed. This department has been my home for a long time, everyone here is so loving and positive (smiles) that it feels like home when you come to work.
I have acquaintances who go to work like hard labor, they are irritated by everything, they work from weekend to weekend. I can say quite the opposite about myself: I always go to work in a good mood, because I love our team and enjoy what I do.