If you happen to come across Thomas Bergmann in a café, you will generally find him drawing something. The customers who call him every day can have no idea of the effect their questions will have. Thomas takes a technical problem very seriously and never gives up until he finds the solution. This is a dream come true for the customers who contact Customer Services, and his colleagues are well aware of this fact. In fact, the drawings Bergmann sketches are solutions to technical challenges. It is certainly not uncommon to see a circuit diagram or a network on the page of his notebook.
We only wish that Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton had been there to witness his first day at Sennheiser. They would have turned the chain of events into a wonderful silent movie classic filled with a succession of strange encounters. We certainly roared with laughter when Thomas told his story. “I called Sennheiser and said I would like to work for them,” he begins. The lady on the other end of the line replied “You should. It’s great here.” Thomas’ first day of work was to be spent at the Burgdorf plant. This is where his first strange encounter would take place. A large group of students sat in the reception area, filling the hall with noise and chaos. At some point a Sennheiser employee approached Thomas and said dryly: “Oh good, at least they brought their teacher with them!” Thomas explained that in fact he was there alone—to start his new job.
The job was quickly explained to Thomas by his new colleagues. “They told me that around 300 emails arrive every day. Three hundred emails! We have to process them. In the meantime, the phone rings non-stop. You will get used to it over time. It takes a few months, but you’ll be fine.” This is how things work nowadays. While Thomas was mulling this over, the office door opened, and a colleague entered with headphones and a portable CD player. “I understand you have a good ear,” she said to me. “Well, have a listen and tell me what’s wrong with this device?” Thomas put on the headphones and listened intently for a while. “The headphones are fine, there is nothing wrong with them,” he replied, and his colleague disappeared again. At noon he ran into his boss standing in line in the canteen. “What on earth do you look like?” His boss asked in horror. “You have completely black ears!” Thomas had been tricked by his colleague, and the earpiece of the headphones had dyed his ears.
We asked how Thomas felt after this day full of strange events. “To be honest, I went home and thought seriously about opening a chip shop,” laughs Thomas. He didn’t do it though. Thomas returned to work—and the protagonists of his Oscar-winning comedy performance are still among his favorite colleagues today. Even after more than 30 years.