Ine Vandewaerde and Lotte Dedobbeleer grew from an internship to a permanent job
"Either the media is your thing or not at all. There is no middle ground.
Ine Vandewaerde is Brand Manager for Qmusic, Lotte Dedobbeleer HR Business Partner. Two very different profiles, but they do have one thing in common: they started as interns at DPG Media and found their way to a permanent job. And although their paths were somewhat different, they also recognise a lot in each other.
A friend of Ine's did an internship at the radio and asked her to come along to 'The Qube' with Hooverphonic, the perfect introduction for Ine: "During the tour I immediately knew "I want this too!" The hustle and bustle, seeing everything happen before your eyes, I loved it. And then there is the super cool team. I was already a Q listener anyway, so I already had an affinity with the brand."
For Lotte, the choice to work for DPG Media was less of a coincidence, she went actively looking for a more interesting place: "I was looking for an internship during my organisational psychology course, but all the places on the list seemed rather basic to me. So I started looking myself and bumped into DPG Media. "How cool would that be?" was my first thought. “As an outsider you always see the front end of everything, I was very curious to see what it would be like behind the scenes."
"Just do it, try it. If it doesn't work out, we're here."
"I still remember that first day very vividly," says Lotte. "You come in here and immediately see in Vilvoorde that iconic central corridor that you also often see on television. And you immediately feel the warm atmosphere. The beginning as a trainee is of course really exciting, but all the colleagues were very open and welcoming. I soon knew that I didn't want to leave here."
"I had that feeling too," responds Ine enthusiastically. "I also liked the fact that I was allowed and able to participate fully almost immediately. Trainees often get the stupid jobs, but that was not the case here. Of course, that is also because this is a commercial company, there are not many people in surplus, so all help was welcome. But I think that is worth a lot. It makes you feel at home very quickly. "
"You are indeed thrown in: 'just swim'. Other internships were very different. Here, the message really was 'Do it, try it. If it doesn't work out, we're here", Lotte remembers. Something Ine clearly recognises: "For me, that was the perfect approach. I think that working in the media is also for a certain type of person. The media either suits you very well or not at all. There is no middle ground. Here, you mainly see people who have been here for a long time or who left within a year. It's that media feeling that I like so much. It's hard to pinpoint.”
Flexibility & chaos
But that doesn't mean that every working day is glitz and glamour. "The requirement to be flexible is so typical. The company is big, and perhaps also a bit chaotic. You have to be able to deal with that. If you like a clear structure where a lot is imposed on you, I think you will not be at home here", Lotte clarifies.
"I knew very quickly that I wanted to stay here and I enquired whether there were any job opportunities", says Ine. "There weren’t any at the time, but another student job and two months of patience later, I heard that it was super busy and they could use another person. I then came back as a temp and got a permanent contract six months later. I have not left since. I started as a junior, but grew into Brand Manager. I combined Joe and Qmusic for a while, but always with radio. That's what suited me down to the ground."
"With me, things went a little differently," Lotte explains. "My internship was coming to an end, and there were no positions available at the time. A colleague I was working with came up with the idea of making a case for 'What can you do here? How can you alleviate the pressure the team is under?’ Because even though there was no free position, there was a lot of pressure. I then presented this case to the HR director and was offered an interim position. After six months, it became a permanent contract.
You have to seize your own opportunities here and that forces you to regularly think about what you want. At work, but also personally.
And even though their story today sounds very rosy, both Lotte and Ine have taken their path in the right direction. Lotte says, "During my internship I learned the different aspects of HR, I became a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. After that, I could start as an HR officer, but from the start my ambition was to become an HR Business Partner. I was open about that. I was offered the opportunity to join recruitment for a while, to get to know the business better and to prepare myself for a job as a business partner. And suddenly there was a vacancy. It happened much faster than I had dared to dream, it's crazy that you get these opportunities here. I don't think that in another company I would be as far advanced as I am now."
"The common thread here is that you have to see the opportunities for yourself", Ine stresses, "and seize them when they arise. You can really determine your own path here. I think there is a great benefit to that, because it also forces you to regularly think about what you want. At work, but also personally, and how you want to grow.” Something that Lotte recognises completely: "Your mentality here should really be 'the sky's the limit'. Don't let anything hold you back, grasp the opportunities you see. It's not going to be thrown into your lap here, you have to dare to do it yourself."
Hard & fast
And then you have the job of your dreams, you have to show every day that you want to go for it. As Ine confirms: "It's pretty tough, I won't lie about that. There is a lot of work, you have to give a lot, but you also get a lot back. Work hard, play hard is the spirit here. I really enjoy that. It is fast and furious, but it is one of the most beautiful companies in Flanders to work for, I still believe that." Lotte nods keenly: "I believe that too. I am still proud every day that I work here. I secretly enjoy it when someone asks where I work and I can proudly say 'at DPG Media'." (laughs)