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How Atlassian helped me getting where I am now

Where to start this story that I didn't imagine in my wildest dreams several years ago?

Without any spoilering I can say without Atlassian and especially Confluence I would not be where I am now - no job, no career, no life, no happy Fabienne with cool swag shirts in south of bavaria.

Where I started:
Eight years ago I worked as a graphic designer in an advertising agency in Munich. Improving my Photoshop Level the whole day, doing some more or less interesting vector graphics, drinking espresso and playing kicker - just like I imagined it when I finished school when I was 20. It was all about printing stuff and a little bit of webdesign. Don't understand me wrong here - just the design not any sign of code - just making my colleagues mad who had to realize the websites. A little bit of pixel here a little bit of shadow there.... looking back I must say I'm surprised nobody killed me. But i must confess, I more and more missed challenges and new horizons. I got more interested in technical stuff like realizing my designs myself, understand more of the technical background, doing a little bit of coding and I got hungry for more.


So half a year before my thirtieth birthday I quit my safe job (a job I wanted since I was 15) to start studying engineering for print and media technology. It was a big deal for me, as you can imagine, and the first weeks were some kind of math, physics, print-technology and other sorts of hell. But some courses where also easy like design, concept and so because of my working experiences. Giving up was never an option and I already looked forward for following course 'Programming' and that's where Atlassian appeared and completely changed my life.

But let's start at the beginning:
Content of Programming is: java and a little bit of html/css (another course would be xml but let's ignore that at the moment)
You are getting theoretical lectures, some homework and training lessons with lecturer. Our lecturer, an atlassian shirt and hoodie wearing, cool greyhaired software and consulting company owner gave us the best time right from the start.
I found a best friend (hi to Wing here) at university and we always wanted to find coolest solutions, make the problems even a little bit more difficult and challenge us all the time. Already second lesson we started like 'But if we make it like this, couldn't we....'. Christian found this so interesting that the next lesson he showed us what happened during the week in his company. according the problem we mentioned. That's where I got first contact with Confluence :)
He showed us how everyone in the company reacted and collaborated on the posted problem - this opened a whole new world for me. That was something I that was absolutely impossible in the advertising agency I worked before - TEAMWORK - and making someone work on a problem that was definitely not theirs. AWESOME!

What came next:
I started working at Christians company for some graphic design and marketing stuff cause I was on search for a job parallel to studies during this time. That's where I got deeper into Atlassian world. Everything was new to me. I worked on some addons for confluence - starting from creating logos for finished addons and full campaigns over to usability improvements. Everyone was really nice and I got more and more into the software and developing world - which means working with Atlassian products but also helping other companies using them. Because of my graphic background I could start working a little bit more on the look and feel side especially of Confluence for costumers. I got all the chances and support i could wish for from everyone. (Is Christian here? Thanks for everything.)When I started my master studies I had to quit this wonderful job (still see those colleagues sometimes)! Over three years ago when I started my master thesis at the company and worked on the topic knowledge management.

Where it led:
What should I say - my whole concept and master thesis based on the experiences that I made with Atlassian Confluence and addons. I had eight weeks for creating a system for our product knowledge training and I can say - damn it only worked because we used Confluence and got the right support with a great partner a perfect working system and awesome addons. Maybe you also wann have a look  on my first love story you can find here!

Think I made a good job because I still work at the company where I wrote and realized my master thesis and this big project. Love my job and my team is growing - which is awesome. LOVE my job and pretty sure you can say - my career is definitely built on an Atlassian product CONFLUENCE - but also on everything around Atlassian - Atlassian Partners, Community, User Groups - the whole Feeling :D and of course the feeling.

Things I learned that may also help others:

  • You are never too old to try something new! (and for cool swag)
  • Always be open for something different!
  • There is always a solution!
  • It's so important to listen to people - listening solves 80% of the problem!
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help - not in your IT department, not here in community, nowhere!
  • There is always a cool addon for something if confluence doesn't do it itself!
  • Trust in your team!



Jodi LeBlanc
Rising Star
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Mar 31, 2019

Awesome post @Fabienne Gerhard - thanks for sharing your story and how you became Happy Fabienne in south of bavaria! Love your memes as well, and congrats on getting the March challenge completed as I know how busy this month has been for you!


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Fabienne Gerhard
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Mar 31, 2019

Thanks @Jodi LeBlanc - it was really a challenge because I was so unsure how to write it :) - hope it can give some inspiration to make more people happy 

@Fabienne Gerhard great post, thanks for sharing your story

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Fabienne Gerhard
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Apr 01, 2019

@Jonathon Gregor  Thank you - I really appreciate your like

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