A new direction every three years

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970x404-Gifographic Laurine

After my studies I was at a loss for what to do. I knew a recruiter at ABN AMRO, who told me about the bank’s traineeship. As a trainee, you have a sense of being supported by your peers and supervisors. You spend much of your time exchanging ideas, and you turn yourself inside out, but the programme is also very practical. You discover a great deal about yourself and your competencies. You learn how to acknowledge problems, how to approach them and how to solve them. You receive all the help you need, and you’re given opportunities to discover and apply your talents. This creates possibilities.

This is the perfect job for me: I’m making something from nothing, I’m self-employed and I have loads of freedom. Laurine van Kampen Laurine van Kampen 37, project developer and owner of AIVM BV

Joining and leaving the bank

I started my traineeship at Private Banking in Rotterdam, but soon discovered that I needed more of a challenge. I found it at Preferred Banking in Amsterdam: I was working with expat clients, and eventually I set up an entire department dedicated to helping them. I left the bank in 2009, amid the uncertainty of the government takeover. No one knew what the future held, and that was affecting the mood. I was unhappy, and I decided that I needed a change of direction. So I gave notice without having a new job lined up – that was quite stressful!

A new perspective

I sought out a coach to help me discover what it was that I truly wanted. During that time I met two guys, and together we set up Fetch: a firm that takes care of practical matters for busy working people. After two and a half years I left Fetch and went into real estate with my husband. At first we were buying up homes at auction, giving them a quick fix and then reselling them. By now we’re real property developers. This is the perfect job for me: I’m making something from nothing, I’m self-employed and I have loads of freedom.

Time for something more meaningful

Now I feel that it’s time for another change. For me, these changes come in cycles of around three to five years. Without the traineeship I probably wouldn’t have the confidence and self-awareness to try such radically different things. That need has never left me. In part, it’s dictated by circumstance. I have three young children just now. In a few years, when they’re a little older, I expect I’ll try something else again. At the moment I want something that’s more meaningful – perhaps at a charity?

Tips for back then

Every step that you take moves you along a particular course. Yet it’s never too late to change direction. Challenge yourself and do what you enjoy doing. Often that’s where you excel. Be aware of your shortcomings, get help from the right people, but don’t obsess about them. You don’t have to be an allrounder. Last but not least, if you’re unhappy, do something about it. ‘Change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.’

Career growth meter:

  • 1997 – 2004: International Business Studies, Maastricht University
  • 2006 – 2006: Traineeship at ABN AMRO (Private Banking)
  • 2006 – 2008: Preferred Banker at ABN AMRO 
  • 2008 – 2009: Directeur Preferred Banking at ABN AMRO 
  • 2009 – 2012: Co-founder of Fetch 
  • 2012 – nu: Owner of AIVM BV

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