What to do on a train


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Today, I was planning on telling you what a vehicle ergonomist do. I mean, many people think that desk ergonomics is the only thing ergonomists are dealing with. Let me give you a hint, it’s not. But certain circumstances made me choose to write about what you do on a train instead, something that I have planned to do in a few weeks. I will tell you about a vehicle ergonomist’s work tasks some other time.

The original plan with the What to do on a train blog post was to show a nerdy calculation about how much time I really spend on a train, and give some suggestions on what you can do during that time. Is it really that big of a problem to commute that many people think? But right now, something else is keeping my mind busy. Stay calm, I will give you a nerdy calculation as well. You won’t miss out on it 😉

Today is that kind of day for me when things don’t go as planned. And I am not only talking about this blog post. That I forgot to buy breakfast yesterday is Not the end of the world. But when I got off the train in Södertälje this morning, got on the internal tour bus to go to my new workplace, I realized that I had forgotten my private mobile phone on the train. Come on, That Is The End Of The World! Almost at least! Have you ever considered how much information you have on your phone? It’s like having your whole life in pocket format!  I have lost my life! Well, you need quite large pockets these days. And yes, that is perhaps a bit exaggerated, but you know what I mean…

So what do you do when you lose your digital life in pocket format? You panic, start jumping up and down and start screaming like a crazy person! No. Just kidding. I was surprisingly super calm. So what did I do then? Well, I tried calling it. Of course. What if some friendly soul had found it! But no answer. So I called my mother. I know what you are thinking. What? Your mother? Yes, my mother. Can’t mothers solve all the problems in the world? My mother could have, if she hadn’t been somewhere else than she usually is that time a day. Anyways. What next. I tried to call the lost and found department. Maybe they can help me? Nope. They open at 12. More than 4 hours. That’s a long time when you have misplaced your life, sorry, your phone. So I waited for Customer Service to open. I want to give a huge THANK YOU to the woman at SJ customer service who phoned the train personnel in question to see if they could help me look for it. But no answer there. By the way, did you know that the train staff search the train for lost goods at the train’s final destination? Now we know! And again, thank you customer service woman who told me that the train won’t leave next time until tonight! Big relief! If it some way still is on the train then I have many hours to track it down! But she couldn’t help me more. So still I had no information about where it was. So what next? I tried to call my phone again. And someone answered! And not some random person, but actually the city host working at the Central Station in Stockholm. Jackpot!

So right now, whilst writing this, I am on a train again. Relax. One thing I have learned is to never, ever put your things on a seat or outside a pocket. And whatever you do, do not deviate from your routine to make a final visual inspection of the area around you before you leave the train. Never. Ever. This time I am going to Stockholm, to personally get my phone back. This kind host is keeping it so I can get it directly from her.  That you can call service! I won’t even have to find my way to the lost and found department during rush hour and stand in line there tonight. Thank you! Did you know that you have to pay a 100 SEK fee to the lost and found department to get your things back? Well, now we know. Now we know.

You want to know something really ironic? Shortly before we arrived in Stockholm, the train crew left a message in the train’s speaker system. “Please, take a look around so that you don’t forget anything of value and thank you for traveling with SJ.” Maybe they should say that at every station, and not just the end destinations 😉

Enough said about that. Let’s do some calculations! Come on! It will be fun! 😉

Suppose that I travel back and forth Eskilstuna-Södertälje every work day during a year. That is 224-229 days a year. Let’s say 226 to keep it simple. The train ride takes 40-48 minutes in each direction, according to the time table. Let’s say 44 minutes to keep it simple. In one year that is 9944 minutes, or 166 hours or 20,7 workdays. No late arrivals, lost phones or run over elks counted. I could do an estimation of how often the trains are late and so on but let’s keep this simple. Okay, 20,7 workdays. The possibilities to do something valuable of that time is enormous! Isn’t it? But what can you do? Well, what do you want to do? You could eat your breakfast on the train so that you can sleep longer in the morning. Or if you have suitable work tasks you could work that time, thereby spending more time at home, or just working more, your choice. You could read a book, or several. Maybe take time to learn a new language (more about that in another post). You could also sleep on the way to work and so on. What I want to say is that you can do something that you don’t have time for or can’t prioritize at home. I think that a few mothers in my surrounding would use the time to just be quiet. From what I understand quietness is of short supply when you have small children 😉 Today as an example, I am writing this blog on the train. A perfect way to spend the time!

The message in this long post is this:

  • Always check so that you don’t forget your stuff!
  • Kind people exists!
  • And don’t see commuting as obstacle, see it as an opportunity instead!

Stay tuned J

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Queen of the road


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After years of tough exams, late evenings (and long weekends) in computer labs, litres and litres of coffee and numerous student partys, it was (finally) time for me to take the next step out in the real world. The world of work. And what way would be better to start than as a Graduate Trainee? I can’t think of any! In this blog I will tell you about the life as a trainee and hopefully inspire you to apply for a graduate trainee position as well!

But who am I? And in which computer lab rooms did I really spend my evenings? My name is Charlotte Jalkebo. I am 25 years old, born and raised in Eskilstuna, and that’s where I returned after my graduation. I spent most of my study time in the A-house and the C-house at Campus Valla in Linköping (and some confused occasions in the B-house). I studied Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and and continued with a Masters of Science in product development and technical design. My profile throughout my education has been physical and cognitive product ergonomics.

I remember well the day when I got that one call that changed my life. I was the next Scania Graduate Trainee of 2014 (everything that we are proud of, we put Scania in front of). I got my dream job! Research & Development trainee within Styling and Vehicle Ergonomics. Can you believe it! Fantastic! The time from that call to when we first started the trainee program felt like a half eternity – and today that day is exactly 4 months ago.

So what has happened since I started that summer day the 18th of August? Well, a lot. I have worked in production, met with- and listened to many inspiring managers, taken driving licence for heavy truck (C ), and for heavy truck with heavy trailer (CE – am I a real trucker now?). I have worked at my home department and gotten education in both presentation technique and leadership. Amazing!

Tomorrow is my last day of my first period. It feels kind of sad leaving my colleagues, but I know that in the beginning of next year I am up for a great new challenge.

Stay tuned!

Charlotte Jalkebo

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