Life-Work-Balance at AfB

Private life and career in harmony. When a work-life balance becomes a life-work balance. A history of AfB.

AfB employee Torsten Kohl

Picture: Patric Dressel for BITO-Lagertechnik

"Do not dream your life, but live your dreams!" Whether as a poster in the bedroom, tattoo motive on the arm or as WhatsApp status on the smartphone. Almost everywhere, this saying is used, copied and forwarded by countless people. But who manages to live his dreams? Who succeeds in realizing his life dream without neglecting work? We have found someone who did it. In a multi-part employee story we want to introduce to you Torsten Kohl:

The long-time employee of the company AfB has achieved what millions of people dream of and has combined his work with his hobby. In the first part of our employee story, he tells us how he achieved it, what his everyday life now looks like and what role AfB has played in making his dreams come true:

Hello Torsten. You have been an employee of the company AfB for several years now. What are your tasks at AfB?

 "Hello everyone. Yes, I have been with the company for some time now. I started as an employee in the production department, with the agreed goal of later taking over the team management in one of the departments. After my illness, I consciously wanted to return to working life with smaller steps. The next phase, however, started sooner than planned and so I started in project and process management in spring 2018. In the same year I got my probably biggest project here at AfB with the planning of the new company headquarter. Generally speaking, my work focuses on the analysis and optimization of internal production and logistics processes.

What exactly is so special about your employment relationship?

I am a passionate mountaineer and have also been involved in environmental protection and nature conservation for years. That's also how I came into contact with the Black Forest National Park, where I have been working in a team of volunteer rangers for 2 years. At the end of 2019, the National Park Administration asked me if I could imagine working full-time, i.e. professionally.
Together we found a solution to take this step towards a full-time job in the National Park. So I am currently completing my project activities connected with the new building of the AfB headquarter and for the summer season I will move to the National Park in spring. With the end of the summer season, I will return to working at the AfB.

What motivated you to take this step?

As I have been working in the outdoor sports business on a part-time basis for many years, I always knew that if there ever was a chance to expand my professional activities "outdoors", that would be a no-brainer to me. After the national park then came to me with the task of the full-time ranger activity, the thing developed to a self-runner. I have sought direct dialogue with all those involved and have found understanding and open ears everywhere.

How does your everyday life look like now and how do you manage to bring everything together?

I work in two shifts, so to speak. From October to the end of March, I work as project and process manager at AfB and from April to October I work as a ranger in the national park. So I don't have to bring everything together at the same time. In addition, even in my absence I am in constant exchange of information with the AfB and the National Park and keep in touch with my colleagues. That is important to me.

What has changed for you? Do you feel comfortable with it?

I do definitely feel very comfortable with it. Together with AfB and the National Park, I have managed to create my ideal environment. You could say I have a life-work balance instead of a work-life balance.

What role did the AfB play in making your dreams come true?

AfB has really supported me in my decisions in the best possible way and I can't thank them enough. I knew that no matter what the issue, I would always find an open ear. The outstanding relationship with colleagues and my superiors also eliminated any inhibitions I might have had about raising the subject.
I know from experience that it was not a matter of course to allow me to take this step, especially considering that we were in the middle of the move at the time.

Do you regret this step?

No, quite the opposite. It was perhaps the most important step in my professional life. It's a huge privilege to be able to live my personal and professional life like this.

Finally, do you have any advice for the less courageous amongst us?

If you really care about something, then do it! No one will be angry with you if you pursue your passion. With an open and fair dialogue, you will meet understanding and acceptance almost everywhere. You have nothing to lose!


In early summer the second part of our little employee story awaits you. We accompany Torsten for one day and show in an exclusive picture story how his everyday life looks like and which daily tasks he has to cope with! So make sure you stay tuned!

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