Caring for others
“I love technology,” Clarita Pascual says and laughs genuinely. When considering the connectivity issues faced in the beginning of the virtual interview, this line sounds a bit humoristic and the laughter is well justified. But in Clarita’s case one can be sure that there is more to it than a joke; as Clarita’s daughter lives in another country, technology is sometimes the only way for this family to stay connected. “While I dreamt of working abroad, my family was happy in Philippines. Even if being apart is hard, I couldn’t allow my dreams harm my daughter’s life by taking her away from her roots,” Clarita tells about her life.
Before Wärtsilä, Clarita was working in accounting jobs and when joining Wärtsilä United Arab Emirates in 2005, she continued this path; in her first job as an Operations Assistant, she handled billables of service work. Then, Clarita moved on in her career to the roles of Service Coordinator and Workshop Coordinator. “At these times, I realised I have time for some courses and started to study Human Resources (HR). That’s when I realised the attractiveness of it,” Clarita tells.
Already in the previously mentioned operations roles, Clarita got to know the field service and workshop colleagues well as she was assigning people to different jobs based on their skills. But then, Clarita’s HR studies provided her more perspective: “Instead of purely looking at our people’s competences, I got interested in how the company supports our colleagues on the field and in workshops; what does Wärtsilä offer and how do we reward them,” Clarita describes her turning point. “Already as a Coordinator, I had heard and gotten a clear understanding on various ways to support these colleagues. So, I wanted to be there for them, to be their go-to-person,” she adds.
And that’s when Clarita switched to HR. Currently, she is working as the HR Manager in Australia, where she moved about a year ago. In each country, the labour laws of course differ – and so do the cultures – but Clarita has noticed similarities between those Wärtsilians who have worked with the company for tens of years; no matter where these colleagues are based, they all seem to be hard-working, share similar ways of working and have taken the company values into their hearts.
For Clarita, moving around has been a positive opportunity: “It’s exciting to meet new people. And whenever I need to travel for work, it’s great to meet more colleagues face-to-face rather than just always connect virtually. Especially in HR, this is necessary if you want to get to know the real people and what lies in-between the lines. There is often more that people want to tell you and knowing people helps to build synergy and work together,” Clarita tells indicating how important it is for her to have a genuine relationship of mutual trust with colleagues in order to build a better workplace – the backbone of any successful business.
But sometimes getting close to people has its downside, as Clarita noticed when she was having her farewell in Dubai. “It was an emotional day for me and not least due to the love my colleagues made me feel that day. I was glad to tell them that it was not a goodbye, since I was moving inside the Wärtsilä family and not further than Wärtsilä Australia.”
So, what is Clarita’s tip for people moving to work abroad – how does she handle new situations and new people?
“When I move and meet new people, I want to get to know them first as persons instead of immediately telling about myself – where I come from or how long I’ve been with Wärtsilä,” Clarita begins and continues: “I want to learn whether the people I meet want to talk about their experiences on personal level or only work-related topics. I try to sense that and then balance between work talk and opening up”.
For now, Clarita is happy to stay in her current home, Sydney, and eagerly waiting for the future and what new ideas will be introduced in the HR function thanks to Wärtsilä’s new HR lead. “Already now, it has been rewarding to be in HR as I see people moving and progressing in their careers. But I’m confident we can leverage another level of potential in our people, if we are just brave enough to take the next steps of transformation in HR.”