“Not a single day has gone by when I thought it was a drag to go to work and it’s been eight years now.”
A career as an electrician or maybe a lawyer. That was what Christer Backlund had in mind when he was studying for his senior high school exams in the mid-1990s so he could start studying at university. And then a friend called and offered Christer work in IT support.
“I knew nothing about IT, but I said yes and since then things have just rolled along.”
Christer Backlund stayed at his first workplace, which was IBM’s Help desk, for ten years. Then a company called GDM appeared on the horizon and took its biggest customer (SCA). The year was 2004 and Christer had never heard of this upstart GDM.
“I was offered continuing work at IBM in Stockholm, but we had just had our first child and I wasn’t much interested in moving from Sundsvall or weekly commuting.”
Thanks to a big order, GDM needed more people and Christer was one those who were employed at that time. His first task was to dismantle the servers from his old workplace.
“It felt good at GDM from the very first moment. The culture was very family-like and friendly compared with the big corporation that I had just come from. I also got a higher salary.
At the time, GDM had 20 employees, now the company has closer to 80, but my first positive impressions have stuck.” Christer Backlund says that there has not been one single time during all these years that he felt like going to work was a drag.
From skiing star to support expert
He enjoys life in Sundsvall, where he lives in a house in Haga with his wife and children, and where he trains 7-year-olds in football and slalom skiing in his free time. He topped off his own slalom skiing career with a team gold medal in the Swedish Championships together with Fredrik Nyberg.
Christer hasn’t become some kind of IT nerd. This hasn’t been necessary either, because he has worked more as a supervisor than on the operational side of things, and is now responsible for the business unit Support with the mission to ensure that its 24 employees thrive and develop.
“We have a very high level of knowledge at Support. Some people believe that we operate in a similar way to a call centre, but here you get to speak directly with a competent computer engineer, the same guy who will then come out to you for installations and other measures.”
Our goal is to have fun at work
A specific objective of the department is to ‘have fun every day’. According to Christer, this is about both allowing employees to be involved and take responsibility in operations, and coming up with side activities, such as going out together for a meal or going swimming together. Or watching ice hockey.
“I’d like everyone to have the same feeling as I do, that it’s fun and feels good to go to work each day. It’s very much about combining business with pleasure and I think we are pretty good at this, but we can always be better!”