Elke Hoxha is the longest-serving member of staff at the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM) and works at the Administration Office in Oldenburg. But despite all the years in her job, she never gets bored – because no two days are the same.
There are lots of postcards hanging on the wall in your office. Where do they all come from?
They're from business trips and holidays of current and former employees. I'm known for "demanding" them (she chuckles). I long since ran out of space to hang them all up, but if a card has come from very far away I usually find a little place for it.
And do you yourself like to travel?
I love to travel. Last year I was in Mauritius, my furthest trip so far and a real experience! I like to be with people, I love the sun and the sea. You won't find me in the mountains though.
What is your job at the Administration Office?
All staff appointments go through me and I give new staff members their welcome folder, keys and campus card. I also manage the Office's funds, prepare committee meetings, organise meetings with guests from politics and academia and organise events. And I try to find solutions to any problems that are brought to me. I like working here because no two days are the same.
And how do you get on with your colleagues?
We're a great team and we all get on well with each other here at the Institute. Interactions with professors and colleagues are friendly and respectful. We're all on a first-name basis and support each other. When we have our Christmas parties each research group is assigned a different country and prepares a typical national dish for the buffet. We all look forward to it – even people who no longer work here come.
And how would your colleagues describe you?
People sometimes say I'm the "good soul" here and that the Administration Office team is the main contact point in the building. I'm eager to help, reliable and a person of trust for some people here. A while ago I was even awarded the title of "chief mate" at a Christmas party (chuckling).
The ICBM celebrated its 35th anniversary last year. You have been working here for 33 years.
Yes, I'm now the longest-serving member and probably a bit like the "memory" of the Institute. I came to the university in 1989 because after my business management training programme I did an IT course, and for that I had to do an internship. I started working in the secretary's office at the main administration department.
Would you have liked to be a marine researcher yourself?
No, this is the right job for me. This is exactly what I'm good at.
Interview: Sonja Niemann