Seek opportunities, take risks

“Seek out opportunities and take risks!”

Anna Elzbieta Burek, who oversees Service Governance at the Electrolux Global Shared Services Center located in Krakow, Poland, recently took a year-long assignment at Electrolux headquarters in Stockholm as Business Analyst in Marketing Controlling. She says taking the international opportunity widened her perspective, made her more open-minded and gave her a chance to grow.

What were some of the things you gained from your time in Stockholm?

I met so many inspiring people, full of brilliant ideas, who tend to see the world in completely different, unconventional ways. This experience has impacted my current role in regard to engagement, attitude, work performance, and relationships with my colleagues and customers and all those that I come into a contact with. Now I aim for strong attention to details, with a determination to better understand the causes (not just effects) that lead to organizational improvement.

Anna Elzbieta Burek in brief

Anna Elzbieta Burek

  • Nationality: Polish
  • Title: Service Delivery Coordinator
  • Location: Krakow, Poland
  • Joined Electrolux:
  • Favorite Electrolux product: EAP300 – Air Purifier: “Clean air is essential to the quality of our lives! Yet many of us live in areas where air quality is relatively poor, so we should ensure that the air quality in our homes and work places stays pristine.”

How has the experience changed or developed you as a person?

It has given me a wider perspective on the world, and I think I am more open-minded than before. I would encourage everyone to explore the world and be curious about other cultures. Sometimes it is good to put yourself into an uncomfortable new situation that pushes you into a new phase in your career.

How did you make the decision to move?

The answer is very simple: I just decided and I ignored my doubts. For most people, it is a tough decision so they do not take the risk. But there will never be a perfect time to pursue our dreams and goals because we will never feel 100 percent ready.  We are growing every day and we have to have faith in ourselves right now.

Why Sweden?

I had always wanted to move to Sweden and I just took the opportunity. I was fascinated by Swedish culture before this assignment. I worked there, I spent a summer there, I spent weekends there, I have friends there. Sweden is a beautiful country with an amazing culture and I find myself returning there again and again.

What cultural adjustments did you have to make?

Knowledge of cultural differences in general is tremendously important and it influences how we work and achieve our goals. It’s always been important to understand human nature and differences in business culture, but we need to be prepared to understand a wider, richer array of work styles than ever before. While I can find a lot of similarities between Sweden and Poland, there are also cultural differences. But I’m interested in understanding them, so I did not experience culture shock in Stockholm.

What would you tell someone who was considering an international assignment?

I would say that sometimes opportunity knocks only once, and this could be your only chance to have a great experience. I know you will have many excuses and reasons not to seize the opportunity and let the experience slip by untouched and unlived. And I would say focus on positive things! I do not think we should always weigh the pros and cons of opportunities.

Any final thoughts?

Five hundred years ago, Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened.”  Now there’s research that proves it. It turns out that 85 percent of what test subjects worried about never happened.

So seek out opportunities and take the risks! Sometimes it’s the fear of failure that stops you, but remember: Failure defeats losers, but it inspires winners!

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