Yoy, lecturer and researcher Breda University of Applied Sciences

Yoy Bergs started the master’s programme Work, Health and Career with a bachelor in International Facility Management. During her bachelor, she discovered that the workplace has an effect on employees’ wellbeing. This sparked her interest to pursue a master specialised in work and health.

In her final year as a bachelor student International Facility Management at Breda University of Applied Sciences, Yoy worked for a large real-estate company where she studied how the working environment can affect the well-being of employees. Yoy: "I began to realise that the working environment can have a significant impact on people’s interaction, behaviour and performance. I wanted to gain more knowledge about work and health and found the Master Work, Health and Career at Maastricht University."

Work, Health and Career was the only Master’s programme that fit Yoy’s need to learn more about occupational health and sustainable employability. She wanted to ensure that people enjoy their work and are able to develop themselves professionally. "Everything I wanted to learn was taught in the programme: courses about health and safety, well-being, productivity, interaction and workplaces. It gave me the skills I needed to help organisations provide the right conditions for their workers". Besides studying the courses, Yoy worked on projects together with her fellow students who had many different backgrounds. "I believe this also helped me to broaden my own perspective and become a professional who is able to balance and manage the interests of different stakeholders."

After Yoy graduated, she returned to Breda University of Applied Sciences to start in a function that perfectly combines her bachelor and master: "I’m a lecturer and researcher at the Academy of Hotel and Facility Management. I teach the Organisational Behaviour course with a special focus on Occupational Health and I coach students throughout their thesis process."

In addition to teaching, Yoy is working on her PhD at Nyenrode Business University. She conducts research on how young professionals navigate their multiple identities and the effects it has on their health and well-being. "When you start a new job, you try to create an identity that makes you accepted by your peers, that’s called ’identity work’. My aim is to deepen current knowledge on how individuals deal with the complexity of forming their identities, both professional and personal." Yoy focusses her research on young professionals. She divides her research into four fields: the strategies young professionals create to form and enact their multiple identities, how they manage and navigate their multiple identities in work and non-work life domains, the role of social media in the identity work processes and the consequences of activating the identity work strategies and related tactics."

As part of her research, Yoy interviewed 53 young professionals. She shares the results of her interviews by writing blogs on LinkedIn. "I was inspired by children’s author Eric Carle who wrote the popular ’Rupsje nooit genoeg’ ("The Very Hungry Caterpillar") books and named my blogs ’mensje nooit genoeg’ ("The very hungry professional"). I try to explain my research so that everyone can understand it and reflect on his or her own well-being. Each blog focusses on a particular topic, such as connecting with each other, (im)perfection or self-fulfilling expectations."

The master Work, Health and Career has helped Yoy to broaden her knowledge. She still sees herself as an ambassador for the programme. "If you have an interest in looking at health from another perspective, try Work, Health and Career. If you enter the programme, do so with an open mind and a lot of curiosity."

And if you happen to stay in Maastricht as a student, Yoy has an insight tip: "in the morning, cycle next to the Maas over the Sint-Servaas bridge to Maastricht University and watch the sunrise. It’s absolutely beautiful."