Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Mathias Golombek, EXASOL

Mathias Golombek          

 Company: EXASOL

 Job Title: Chief Technology Officer

 Location: Nuremberg, Germany


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?

Change it, leave it or love it.
Actually for me this is not just a career advice, but more general advice, useful for nearly every situation in life. It mainly means that we should stop complaining about things. Instead, we should take responsibility to improve the issue. If this is not feasible, either accept it (love it) or don’t make it your problem (leave it).


What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

Honestly, I am glad that I can say that I learned from every single advice my bosses or colleagues gave me in the past. Even when I thought it might be inappropriate for my case or not good advice in general, it helped me to understand another possible point of view about business. There is never a “right” or “wrong”, but listening or discussing as many as possible thoughts. That way you start to learn how to accept your own decisions better.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

My personal advice would be to not give a single thought about career, but to concentrate on the actual job and company.  Career can never be planned nor is it actually very important. What makes you content in business life is not your title or career level, but how much you can love what you do everyday. I am quite sure that a lot of people wouldn’t enjoy the actual work of C-level roles. Many people become unhappy after they take over personnel responsibility and miss being able to fully concentrate on their functional challenges. That’s why I believe employees should focus on trying to understand the concrete job description and how the company culture looks like. If these two things are exciting, then your daily job life will probably become interesting and will motivate you to be good at your job. Afterwards, your career will come automatically, because you will be very good at your position. Why? Because you will love your job!


What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?

I would tell that person to be very sure what a c-level position exactly means. Many people might think “I’ll earn more money” or “I will be able to take more decisions”, but there are many, many other aspects you should be very clear about. Just to give you an example: you’ll be one of the people who will be responsible for a whole lot of people, their wages and their families. You will be the one to be blamed if something goes wrong. Be sure that you are aware of these burdens. Additionally, people should be very clear of what they will lose from their existing responsibilities. Since being a C-level manager doesn’t mean that you decide more, you simply decide other things, and maybe these are not that interesting or challenging like before. So in summary, I would suggest that you talk about the daily work life with C-level people you are connected with to fully understand what you might be aiming for and what not.


Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?

Proud might be too boastful, but I am very glad that I managed to build a working environment where everybody can be in charge if they want to. That sounds easy but it requires a lot of trust in people. Only if you really accept that your colleagues are the real experts in their specific areas, can you build confidence and let them accept responsibility. This is crucial for people to develop in their career roles, become more self-confident and finally grow into higher career positions.


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