Name: Suzanne van Vliet

Age: 35

Job description: secretary at the Business Economics department (3.5 days a week)

Has been in her current position since: 1 November 2017

Room H14-01 of the Tinbergen Building is looking kind of messy. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since its inhabitants are gearing up for a move to a different building. Not that everyone working in the room is happy about the move. Its current inhabitants are the ladies who run the Secretarial Support Office (SSO) of the Erasmus School of Economics’ Business Economics department. Some of them have worked in this building for ages and are not looking forward to exchanging their great views of Rotterdam from the fourteenth floor of the Tinbergen Building for a ground-floor room in the E-Building.

For her part, Suzanne van Vliet doesn’t mind the impending move. She thinks it may have its advantages. Moreover, as a relative newcomer, she is not quite as attached to her current workspace as some of her more experienced colleagues. “I’m not too depressed about the move, although I have to admit the views from this room are absolutely fantastic. And right now there are five of us to a room, and after the move I’ll share my room with just the one colleague. That’ll be more quiet, and I won’t be distracted quite so easily, but on the other hand, here in this room it’s so easy to ask a colleague if I need to know something quickly.”

What does a typical work day look like for you?

“I’m typically the first person to arrive, at around eight thirty. I’ll cycle here from Capelle, and I’ll drop off my son at school first. At about four thirty I’ll leave. I’ll pick [my son] up from school and I’ll cycle home.”

What does your job entail?

“Our job is to support the academic staff and students of the Business Economics department. They come to us with all sorts of issues, ranging from employees who have lost their key and students who are having difficulty enrolling in a particular seminar to people calling in sick. Academics will often drop in to ask their questions in person, if only to grab some of our sweets – we refill our jar every once in a while when it’s getting empty. Students tend to e-mail or call us. In addition to answering questions, I handle the department’s financial records. I process expense claims, invoices, orders, et cetera.”

Image credit: Levien Willemse

Do you like working here?

“I love it! No day is ever the same. Obviously, I always have a to-do list, but lots of completely unexpected things happen, as well. In addition, I’m given a lot of opportunity to help determine the nature of the work we do. And I really do have the most wonderful colleagues. Yes, they’re all ladies, although we do have one male colleague at another SSO elsewhere.”

Does your job have any aspects you’re less crazy about?

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to give you a tremendously dull answer to that question. No, I’ve yet to encounter anything I don’t love here.”

What did you do before joining EUR?

“Once upon a time I trained to become a veterinary assistant, but I ended up not becoming one. Among other things, I worked at an agency that helped people reintegrate into their workplace after a lengthy sickness absence, and prior to joining EUR, I worked at Rotterdam Festivals. I applied for a job with the Erasmus School of Economics’ SSO a year before, with a different department, but I didn’t get that job. But as you can tell, persistence does pay off.”