The driving force behind Monica Öberg’s solid commitment as a personnel coordinator is being able to help those who feel bad. In October she received the SAN work environment prize for her very much appreciated contributions to Eckerö Shipping Sweden AB.
Being from Åland and having a father and a brother at sea, working in the shipping industry was close at hand for Monica, who was qualified in accounting. In 1987 she began as a salary accountant at Slite Shipping, but it was not until she started with Eckerö Shipping and was given responsibility for health and rehabilitation cases that she really found her niche.
”I have always liked helping others and was interested in nursing in my childhood. I love my job,” says Monica enthusiastically.
At Eckerö Shipping, which has both ferries and cargo vessels, she is in charge of all the cases for rehabilitation, work training and sick leave over 14 days.
Rules in different countries
She says that the goal is always to find the best possible solution and that there is often a great deal you can do, as long as you take the time required.
”Probably the most important task I have is listening. Generally when people feel bad they really need to talk.”
Monica’s workplace is at the shipping company’s office in Mariehamn, where employees come to see her. She usually meets the onboard staff when the vessel is docked at Åland. The crew is a mix of people from Åland, Finland and Sweden, so Monica has to keep up to date with both Swedish and Finnish social legislation.
”There is a lot of red tape, especially in Sweden, with lots of forms to be filled in. There are often changes to Swedish regulations, and you have to keep up with them.”
Monica says that her role model in life has been her aunt, who left Åland to work in healthcare in Sweden. She was very dedicated to her work.
Time for recovery
”My grandmother was also a person who wanted to help others and there were always eccentrics sitting in her garden who needed something to eat or have their socks darned. It was maybe because she’d had a rough time that she had such a big heart. She had a child with a Russian soldier when she was young and he left her. It was not an easy situation at that time.”
Even though Monica is happy with her job, she says that it can be rather heavy sometimes. This is particularly the case when staff can no longer work for health reasons, or when someone is suffering from a serious illness.
”They are often OK as long as they are with the doctor, but when they come to me to talk about the situation, they fall apart. But I don’t often take work home with me. I do all I can for our employees during the daytime, and try to help all as much as possible. Knowing that means that I can forget about work when I go home.”
Monica says that she has time for recovery and recreation with the family. She likes to walk with her dog in the forest or spend time with her husband, her three children and her grandchildren.
”The family has always meant a lot to us and we often have large get-togethers.”