With curiosity as fuel
Everything in life can be a fun adventure if you let your heart make the decisions. That is the optimistic mindset of Monika Johansson Skerka, Head of Section at Saab. Through all of her life-changing choices, she has let her curiosity guide the way forward. Why spend time on things you don't find interesting, cool or exciting when you have the freedom to choose?
Never running out of steam
Put happiness first. That’s a suitable motto for Monika's life and a contributing factor to why she became a Systems Engineer in the first place. Choosing a life in the tech world was not about achieving a life-long dream of becoming an engineer or having a thriving career. For Monika, it was all about the chance to spend time on the things she found fulfilling, and most importantly – to have fun while doing it.
"I never really thought about the future when I decided to study Computer Science and Technology. I just wanted to have fun, and that meant spending my days with numbers and coding. It was not until I graduated from Linköping University that I realised that I could actually use my knowledge in a profession", says Monika.
"Invest in the things that challenge you and make you happy.”
With software development and project management as the common thread of her career, Monika has worked as a System Developer, Test Leader and Project Leader at several different organisations in Sweden since she graduated from Linköping University. Today, she works at Gripen Support – and so far, she has never had a dull moment during her ten-year career at Saab.
"I honestly find most parts of my job really exciting. Why would I still be here if that weren’t the case?" Monika continues with a smile.
It takes soft values to make hard decisions
With the responsibility of supporting the customers with technical information about Gripen, her days at Saab are filled with advanced technology and complex problem-solving. Finding the right technical solution to a problem while ensuring that it's cost-effective, sustainable and adapted to the user is a true challenge.
"Innovation is all about making mistakes."
But when it comes down to it, it's the challenges of the job that Monika finds most interesting. With a solid experience in her field, she knows that it’s impossible to innovate if you are afraid to fail. After all, innovation is all about making mistakes and learning from them.
Not just a cog in the machine
At Saab, Monika gets to spend every day among experienced people with impressive knowledge and expertise. Taking part in this broad network of colleagues who work together to deliver outstanding products and solutions is a great source of inspiration.
"Saab is like a small society. Everyone here matters and plays an equally important part. We all care about each other and try to support each other at all times, which I think is something that stands out in our industry."
When imagining a workplace defined by challenging work, an impressive product portfolio and inspiring colleagues, it's clear to see why Monika has chosen to stay at Saab for ten years. Saab's role in the defence industry gives her tremendous pride in her work.
"It's incredible to work in an environment that is characterised by innovation and advanced technology. But the vital work that Saab is doing for society, such as putting up medical tents in the desert and offering health care solutions to people in humanitarian conflicts, makes me really proud to work here."
For Monika, it has always been important to find time for the things in life that matter and build a life that she’s happy with and proud of, even if that sometimes means having to turn down new opportunities.
“If you stay true to yourself, you will make the right decisions.”
Being a person who finds most things in life exciting and interesting, has sometimes made her a bit ambivalent. But remembering to always stay true to herself and invest in the things she loves, has helped her make the right choices.
"For me, it's essential to find a balance between life and work. Saying no to one thing could mean a possibility to say yes to another. To know this is what makes a person good at life. And also good at their job. Sometimes you need to kill your darlings to achieve the result you're striving for."
What is your biggest strength?
My positive mindset! I honestly think that most things in life are exciting, even the challenges they might bring.
How would you define hard work?
To keep on going, stay patient and never give up until you have reached your goal.
The best thing about Saab:
Everyone cares about each other and is always trying to help out. Everyone is collaborative and supportive, never competing.
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