A return to the homeland “through short official channels”

04. Jan 2021

Our employee Christof Nölke talks with "Heimvorteil HSK" about his way to Paul Köster GmbH

From Cologne to tranquil Medebach

It was love that brought Christof Nölke from Medebach to the Rhineland following his apprenticeship as an industrial clerk. “I did not find it easy to leave the Sauerland. I spent my entire childhood and youth in Medebach. Here I had my family and my friends, and to go from the country to a big city is a very big step.” He quickly got his first job as a client manager, however, and found a small one-room apartment in Brühl. One thing led to the next. Three years later he moved on to Cologne. Over the years, he never lost touch with the Sauerland. “It’s only a two-hour journey from Cologne to Medebach. At the start, I went home almost every weekend. The trips back became less frequent as I built up a circle of friends in Cologne as well, but I still went back to the Sauerland once a month.”

There were reasons why Christof Nölke lived and worked in the Rhineland for ten years. “Of course, living in the big city also has its advantages. You get caught up in life quickly and make connections easily. The work there was very enjoyable as well. Even today I am still in contact with my colleagues there.” That's why the thought of going back didn't occur to him for a long time. That thought arose only after he had already met his current wife. “We had a great maisonette with a view of the cathedral. It was perfect for two, but not suitable for children. We could not find anything in Cologne that fit our needs, especially since rents were already rising sharply at the time.” By chance, he learned that the house of a friend’s grandparents was for sale in Medebach. “In Cologne, for what we paid, we would have got a small apartment. In the Sauerland, we got a house with a garden. Somehow it all came together. The only thing missing was a job.” And without that, of course, the native of Sauerland did not want to go back. That’s when he thought of contacting the special mechanical engineering company Paul Köster GmbH in Medebach. For years, he had been following how the family-owned company with almost 300 employees was steadily building on its position as a globally active manufacturer of leak-testing machines, assembly technology and automation, and at the same time considering how this could open up appealing career opportunities for him. An initial call to the personnel manager Hildegard Köster, however, brought a rejection. They knew each other, but there were no vacancies in the sales department at the time. “Still, it was good to know that I wanted to come back, she said,” recalls the Medebacher native. But just two or three weeks later they called him back to tell him that they were thinking of creating a position for him in internal sales to support the sales manager and managing director Friedrich Köster.

Since early 2014 Christof Nölke has been living in Medebach again with his wife and two sons born in the meantime. “For me, it was like I had never left.” It is the community that he appreciates most of all. “It’s just different here. The Sauerland is not so anonymous.” For the children, especially, it is a beautiful thing to be growing up in the countryside. “You can ride your bike up the street and go to the playground on your own, with your friend.” The argument that distances are longer in the countryside is not one that persuades him. “Whether it's a 15-minute drive to the nearest supermarket or a 15-minute train ride to the grocery store, it's actually much more convenient and stress-free in the country.” Today Christof Nölke needs ten minutes to walk to his workplace, five to get there by bike, and he doesn't need the bus at all. “I’m thankful that coming home worked out so well – and I can thank my employer as well.”
At Paul Köster the atmosphere is familiar, the communication channels are short, and people know each other. This is precisely why the “Return through official channels” was possible in the first place. “You can see how the Kösters live for the company. You know you're not alone. It’s a great job. Some colleagues here did their apprenticeships at Paul Köster, and some will retire here as well. That doesn’t happen much these days.” Looking back, he says, returning home was exactly the right decision.

Short version article, released in the newspaper "Sauerlandkurier"