We have an open call for EFPSA’s Board 2021-2022 and you can find it here. Because we wanted to present more of each position and the work that it entails, we are presenting you a series of interviews done with the current members of The Board. If you want to know more about the position of Finance Officer, you can contact Tobias at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why did you decide to apply for this position?
Before my approval during the virtual EB&MR, I had been thinking about joining EFPSA for quite some time. Directly applying for the Board though, that was never really the plan. In the end, it came down to my dear friends from the working community, Bojana and Leon. They thought I would be a good fit and encouraged me to apply, for what I am still very thankful for. I was coming from the for-profit sector, and have been fed up with it for quite some time. I was and am looking for meaningful work, which I definitely did find in EFPSA.
How do you balance this commitment with your other responsibilities (work, studying, job, etc.)?
That’s a difficult one. Honestly, time management has never been my biggest strength. Consequently, in the beginning, it has been quite hard for me to balance all my responsibilities. Especially, as I started mid-mandate, there was immediately loads to do. Together with my job, this didn’t leave me with a lot of time for my studies. Now, two months in it is much better, but still a challenge sometimes.
I think, in the end, one really has to be aware that the Board of EFPSA is a big responsibility, particularly, because you will never find yourself in a position where you have nothing left to do. I personally get quite stressed when I have unfinished/unread tasks/emails lying around and it has been quite challenging to let these things go. My biggest take-away in this regard has been that it is vital as well as helpful learning to establish clear boundaries and to stick to them.
What were your biggest challenges for you as a part of the Board and as your position?
Definitely the aforementioned balancing of responsibilities and me joining mid-mandate. Luckily, I had help from all sides. All of the Board members have been extremely supportive from day one and I had already well-working teams in place. Still, as the Finance Office has quite a lot of members it has been a big challenge to stay in the loop with everyone while staying on top of my other FO responsibilities. Also, it can be frustrating that keeping everything in place and reacting to arising issues takes a lot of time already. One has so many plans and visions on how to help EFPSA grow and how to approve current processes. Accepting that there is no time for everything and that you will have to leave ideas to your successor can be quite a challenge as well.
What have you gained from this experience and what was the most rewarding part of it?
I have only been the Finance Officer for a bit more than two months now, but I can say that I have already gained more professional experience and personal connections from my time than from most of my past working experiences accumulated. Working for EFPSA is all about the people you work with. The so-called EFPSA-spirit I heard about before, was noticeable from day one. Everyone is extremely supportive, open-minded and accepts you as you are. I’ve made a lot of meaningful connections, friends for life even. Only very few of my past life experiences have been that rewarding on a personal level. Professionally, I can only continue the praise. If it comes to learning how to lead a team, time management, getting out of your comfort zone or thrown into cold water. In BM there is always a challenge waiting for you around the corner. There is no possibility that you won’t grow personally as well as professionally to a great extent.
What would you say are the important assets for becoming a Board member?
I think being open-minded, honest and adaptable are one of the most important assets to be part of EFPSA in general. Working on a European level will bring you together with a lot of different people. Being open tor each other’s cultures, viewpoints and backgrounds as well as generally being able to acknowledge and respect that other people do things differently is a must. Also, you will definitely make mistakes and that’s totally normal and ok, but in the end, owning up to them and being able to be honest when you mess up is essential for a healthy working environment. Besides that, one should have a certain amount of grit. You might shed a lot of tears of joy but also of desperation. It definitely can be a bumpy ride. So, of course, persistence and patience are necessary as well.
What was the best moment of your mandate so far?
This is very difficult to say. I think one of my favourite moments so far has been one of the meetings with my partnership team. (Love you guys <3) I had quite an exhausting and emotional day and we had a professional meeting planned. In the end, we just had a social instead. Everyone really opened up about what was going on lately. It was just beautiful to experience so much trust and comfort after such a short amount of time and that even through a screen.