My journey to CERN began just over 5 years ago – knowing that I wanted a change, to move and try something new, a soft voice in my head said “hey, have a look at CERN’s website”. I did and immediately saw the job I knew was for me in CERN’s Talent Acquisition team – at 9 o’clock at night on the closing day of the vacancy notice! The invitation to complete a video interview arrived much to my surprise and then the invitation to come to CERN for a face to face interview. This had accelerated beyond my wildest expectations and as a friend said to me by message “May your particles collide with CERN’s particles” I can confirm, my goodness, they did! A couple of months later, here I was in the TA team, in CERN, in Geneva – pinching myself that I’d arrived effortlessly to a new experience.
I’d never worked anywhere, in any company or country, where I felt so welcomed. I remember being surprised that almost every day someone in my team or in HR told me how happy they were I was here. It really helps in all the stress and tension of moving countries, finding a new place to live, France or Geneva (?), should I have a French phone or a Swiss phone (?), can I cope with a Swiss bank account AND a French bank account (?)! I have enjoyed every aspect of my role in recruitment, welcoming candidates from all over the world, different walks of life, ages and cultures. Making them in turn feel welcomed and integrated. Taking part in a myriad of projects and initiatives to constantly improve CERN’s visibility on the job market as a hub for engineers, technicians and support staff (people do still think CERN only hires physicists – it’s definitely not the case I can say!). I’ve also relished being an ambassador for CERN on the road at Outreach events in diverse countries – meeting all these shiny faces starting out on their careers, such fun to inspire them about working in CERN.
So here I am 5½ years on just about to leave CERN and move into … retirement. And taking with me so many memories of amazing people doing an amazing job. I remember one of my first days having lunch outside R1. A rather older man sat down to share my table and as we got chatting, he told me he used to be the Director general of CERN. When I asked him what interesting stories he had to tell, he said, “Well, I built a big tunnel” – understatement of the century! This and Madame Fidecaro’s beatific smile every morning are a couple of the iconic things I will remember about CERN.
My journey has taken me from Scotland to CERN with many stops along the way in Brussels, Paris, Monaco, Provence, New Zealand, Jersey and the journey continues. The next step of my journey is still a little unclear. However, I was told recently by an astrologer that post “retirement” I will have many, many, many career opportunities …. I guess therefore I’m not really retiring!
I am very grateful to CERN for calling me to join the CERN family even for a short time – I have so enjoyed meeting candidates of all ages, from young graduates through to CERN’s directors – a privilege to support these people through their own journey to arrive at CERN. I’m sure, like me, they were called to CERN.
As Elaine starts the new chapter in her life, with an exciting and full retirement ahead (retirement? she won't ever stop!), we take the opportunity to thank her for all she has brought to the HR Talent Acquisition team and for being such a wonderful colleague and friend !