Rita Do Santos: “This job generates a lot of adrenaline”
At just 27 years old, the Human Resources graduate from Misiones, Argentina, is in charge of coordinating personnel administration for one of the GPNK lines. Here she reviews her career at Techint E&C and encourages people to break out of the mold as well as highlighting the role played by bosses who value potential.
Rita Do Santos is the current Personnel Administration Coordinator at the President Néstor Kirchner Gas Pipeline Project (GPNK) and joined the company when she was barely 20 years old. In a very short time—she’s now 27—she achieved huge professional growth thanks to her perseverance, dedication and effort—and the unconditional support of her bosses.
She started out working in International Assignments for HR and then went through Staffing at the company’s headquarters in Buenos Aires. She became involved in the project area in Vaca Muerta some five years ago. This was when there were new employees from different countries joining the company, which gave her the opportunity to travel to the construction site and assist with the relocation process. She spent four months there, and decided to come back and resume her studies, bent on getting a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources as soon as possible.
A few months after meeting her goal, she was transferred to the Orocobre lithium production project in March 2022.
As she puts it, working at headquarters and on a project site are very different. “This job is incredibly dynamic. You can't plan your day, because there’s always something that’s bound to come along and change it, and I love that facet of nothing being routine. I am a person who likes change, I don't like to stay put, I'm very restless,” she shares.
Born in Misiones, Rita moved to Buenos Aires at the age of 18 to study, with the idea of returning to her hometown after graduating. But, suddenly, the opportunity to join Techint arose and she ended up staying in Buenos Aires—although, in fact, she spends her time traveling around the country. She is comfortable knowing that she has the unconditional support of her family, even if it’s from a distance, as this is essential to her as she gets on with her life.
“I was in Jujuy for five months and then, I returned to Buenos Aires for a month to prepare, before being posted to La Pampa for the GPNK project, which was good as I could be on the move again,” she explains.
Currently, she’s based in General Acha where "people are really warm and friendly." Rita lives in a house that she shares with three colleagues of different ages from different areas: Administration and Finance, General Services and PycP. “Whenever we start talking, some very positive things come out. There’s synergy and coexistence is really good. And we don't just talk about work, we also have our girly moments too and it's super fun,” says Rita.
A path well traveled
The roles she’s held in the past have given Rita the experience she needs for her current job as Coordinator, where she heads up a team of five people. Vaca Muerta was a large project, but her tasks were limited, while at the lithium mine, which was much smaller, she carried out more general human resources tasks that offered more learning opportunities.
“The gas pipeline is a huge project involving highly professional people, who are all incredibly committed. You end your working day tired, but happy, because when you get home, you start thinking about all the things you did that day and there comes a point where you laugh and say 'that was totally crazy!'” laughs Rita.
Although personnel numbers for this project are a huge challenge, she insists that she wants to go all the way and see the project through.
Furthermore, she clarifies that, "For young people at Techint, it’s so important to have a role model that supports you in your career." She adds that, “I’ve had support both from my boss and from my director. When it was time to be posted to a project, they were incredibly encouraging, and even today, they still ask me how I’m getting on, and if I feel comfortable. That's a truly positive thing."
Sense of belonging
Rita highlights the importance of feeling part of a company which gives you all the right tools to do your best in the job.
“I feel a tremendous sense of belonging. We are working for a company that gives you a lot of support and every time I talk about the company, I do so with assurance, because I know they have my back. Every time I listen to Techint leaders and hear the passion in their voices as they talk about the challenges they had and were able to overcome, I feel incredibly proud,” says Rita.
The young woman emphasizes that people shouldn’t stay in the mold, no matter how old they are. “You have to get out, you have to push out of your comfort zone. There are some great people in the company who are keen to help and teach you. It’s all about what you want, you just have to do your bit. Maybe it means making a little more effort, as everything is a great learning opportunity,” adds the coordinator.
A big responsibility
Teamwork, where everyone "pushes" through, despite the inconveniences that arise daily, is a core part of project life, according to Rita. “You share so much time with your colleagues, not only at work, but also breakfast, lunch, dinner... You just become one big family. Last year was the first time I spent New Year’s at the construction site, and a family from Gral. Acha invited me to dinner which was lovely. It’s great to meet new people and discover new places. I was so happy," recalls the young woman.
As the manager of a team, she admits that she goes out of her way to help and accompany people, and teach her team things as much as she can. “I try to be shoulder-to-shoulder with them, without neglecting my own tasks, as I want them to feel that they can rely on me to accompany them,” she says.
But mainly, Rita considers that "we must not forget the human aspect that is so enriching for the area, as Techint’s differential compared with other companies is its people."