[Interview] – Moving to and working in a different country – Piotr Matyba

[Interview] – Moving to and working in a different country – Piotr Matyba

In part 2 of this 4 part interview, we continue our conversation with Piotr Matyba, a Senior Laser Development Engineer with Coherent Scotland who we recently placed, about his experience of moving to and working in different countries and what he has learned from these experiences.

Piotr: Hi, so my name is Piotr Matyba. I have a wife, Sandra, we are both academics and we have two daughters, Helena and Ingrid. They are two and five, so an exciting time.

I have a Ph.D. in physics from Umea University. My major is in what is called Organic Photonics. During my Ph.D., I worked on sorts of light-emitting devices. After my Ph.D. we moved to the US, and then I took a little bit of a change in my research profile. I worked with laser development at JILA. It’s an Institute at the Colorado University and the National Institute of standards and technology, (NIST).

That was for four years then we moved back to Sweden. I have recently started working as a Senior Laser Development Engineer for Coherent in Glasgow.


Benet: So one of the things that stands out is that you’ve had a bit of experience of moving to another country and working in another country. What did you learn from that experience?

Piotr:   It’s actually an extremely developing experience. You get to know life is different than in your home place. It’s just not your bubble. You see different types of people. Usually, people are the same on the inside. People try to be good and healthy, helpful but on the outer side that looks in a different way. So, for example, people in Sweden tend to not show what they really think. It takes time before they open up. In the US people are very open. When you go skiing, and sitting on the ski lift, strangers will talk to you and tell you the story of their life.

In what I have seen in Glasgow, in Scotland, it’s maybe not as open as in Colorado, but people are helpful and tend to chat and I appreciate that a lot. I’m an open person. Of course, you see other things on the professional side. You see that also the work culture is completely different. So in Sweden, it’s completely flat. So, you’re at the same level as your manager. I mean there is some vertical organization, but you don’t see it, and you don’t feel it at work. In the US, there is some character, there is some order. I see some order also, working at Coherent. But it is an American company, so I think it’s this way. You see different people, different personalities, but I think it all, it’s all the same. So the show is a little bit different.

Benet:   My impression is that people that take that leap to move abroad and spend some time living in a different country come back enriched, and possibly more open to taking other risks or taking other opportunities in their lives. They certainly seem to progress quite well. It is interesting to see that you’ve had that experience and now you’re moving to another country – moving to Scotland and taking on the opportunity there.

Piotr:   I mean, yeah, I know many people and some of them wouldn’t do this step. I think it’s a mind-set that you’re born with. That you decide to go somewhere and it’s difficult because you go out of your comfort zone. You meet new people and that might be challenging, but it might be fun also to put yourself in a new environment. I mean, it’s just different. It’s difficult because you don’t know what to expect. You need to learn, you need to adapt. But once you pass it, then you have the lesson.

In part 3 of this interview we talk to Piotr Matyba about the challenges of transitioning from a career in academia to a career in industry. 


In part 4 of this interview we talk to Piotr Matyba, about some of the developments in the Photonics industry that excite him the most.


Part 1 of this interview – Moving to a new company right as the entire country goes into lockdown. What has happened, and how things have worked out. 

Enigma People Solutions is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. We find technical leaders for the emerging and enabling technology industries. Visit our services page for more information. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in photonics, electronics, semiconductor, software and IoT in Scotland and the UK. Check out our blog page for the latest in the technology industry. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on + 44 131 510 8150