Working at CERN is like a childhood dream coming true.
Hi Anders, tell us a little about you and how you came to CERN.
I am Anders Toft Lernevall, I'm a 36 year-old Danish national. I trained as an Electronics Technician in the Danish military (army branch). I served the army for a total of 13 years; 5 years in the infantry, being deployed to Kosovo in ’07 and Afghanistan in ’09. Then 8 years as Electronics Technician, both apprentice and journeyman, going to both England and Austria on NATO exercises, and a short tour to Iraq.
After my contract with the army expired in 2018, my wife and I decided to move to Norway, pursuing her career with a Ph.D. in nursing. During my job search in Norway, CERN came up multiple times mostly via LinkedIn. CERN has always been “the land beyond” to me, nevertheless I gave it my best shot. Obtaining the invitation to onsite job interview at CERN, and thus the guided tour of the facility, I had already accomplished my old childhood dream: just coming to CERN and seeing the place.
Now I work here at CERN, which is even better :-)
What do you do at CERN today?
My job today at CERN is with CERN's Beams Department, in the Instrumentation Group where I work on beam loss monitoring. With the ongoing Long Shutdown our team does a lot of work in the tunnel, installing and repositioning beam loss monitors, around the Booster, PS, SPS and the LHC. We also have acquisition racks on the surface in various buildings, where we do maintenance and upgrade of existing racks, as well as new installations.
What is it like for you to be working at CERN?
Working at CERN is like a childhood dream coming true. I had seen and heard about CERN in documentaries back in 1990’s, and thus dreamed about coming here someday as an adult. I was not too much into physics, but I found the machines and technology behind very interesting. Now being here is leaving out a dream.
Did you encounter any challenges along the way?
The main difficulty I found when arriving at CERN was to find a place to live and stay. Accommodation offers around CERN are quite limited, even though there is a lot of effort put into to building new housing: you have to be a bit lucky to find something fast or even within the first month. I started out in the CERN hostel at Meyrin site, which suited me fine, until I got my own place roughly after three weeks.
If you don’t speak French, that is a barrier in itself. It can be difficult to call or write someone, e.g. regarding an apartment, when you don’t know if they speak English or only French. But there are always many great colleagues around to help out!
Any advice to others out there?
If you decide to apply for CERN, and you make it to the onsite interview I strongly recommend you to make a little field trip out of it. Stay around Geneva for a few days, look at the French side, look at the Swiss side, and ask yourself: Where would I feel the most at home? From where would it be most convenient to go to and from work? How do I plan to get around the area?
What I did? I bought the extra suitcase with the airline, and brought along my bike from home: it was a good thing I arrived at summertime. I regret that I did not stay along for a few days after my onsite interview, to look more around the area. I later learned that I would be working at the Prevessin site (French side), so it would then have been beneficial for me to take my time and look around the French villages, or even check out the housing market in person, prior to arrival.
And... if you dream of coming to CERN too, stop dreaming: work on making it a reality and apply now! Take part.