ISSUE 2/2019 Partner: Intra Schönheit Photo: Christoph Busse
“It’s important to delegate!”
The Agip service station in Saalfeld is a truly family business: Intra Schönheit took over the station management in early 2017 when her father retired. Her daughter also works with her. She was already familiar with the job when she became the manager of the service station.
Mrs. Schönheit, how did you start working at the station? I’m actually a trained pastry chef. Back in days of East Germany, my parents had a large ice cream parlour in the popular resort of Wurzbach. I started working there when I was very young and learned how to deal with customers. My parents made a fresh start in 2003 and took over the Agip service station in Saalfeld, and I was there right from the start.
And now you’re running the service station … That was my long-term goal. Initially I was at the cash register on an hourly basis, and gradually took on more responsibility over the years and also deputised for my father. When he retired in 2017, I applied as a station entrepreneur and luckily it all worked out.
Did things change when you became manager? Well, I was already familiar with all the duties and if I was stuck, I’d ask my father for advice. It was no problem at all. But the workload has increased dramatically and I’ve had to learn how to switch off, although in an emergency I have to be available 24 hours a day.
How did you solve this problem? If I get a call at night because the alarm has gone off, of course I have to go to the station and attend to it personally, but there are numerous routine tasks I can delegate. For example, I initially ran every list for documentation myself, but I now divide that task among the shifts. It‘s wrong to think: I‘ll do that myself; it’s always on your mind. My daughter is now my right-hand person and can stand in for me, which really eases the pressure too. The station still dominates my everyday life of course, but I try to switch off and relax as much as possible at the weekend.
And how do you do that? Our house is very near to some woods, and I take the opportunity to go on long walks in the forest. I also became a grandmother in October last year, so I’ve got plenty to do...
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