Rudy Paol. Foto | Bart van Overbeeke

CursorOnTour@CE&C | "If they need me, I'll be right there"

Even during his vacation, post employee Rudy Paol (59) - better known as Ruudje - can’t resist to go to Helix. It is the nature of the beast - one with quite a sense of responsibility. And he likes to come to work, which feels just like home and where the residents are like family. Jokingly: "At home I have to work, here I may work."

photo Bart van Overbeeke

“Thanks, Ruudje,” says a supplier after Rudy jumps up to activate the mini lift for him, so he doesn't have to lift his stuff himself. "It's just my nature to help," he explains a moment later. “I can’t stand to look at boxes lying around in the corridors either. I sometimes get the comment ‘but they will never learn then’. They are used to me clearing them up. But that is how I live life and how I was raised,” says Paol, who lived in Indonesia until he was eight - the country he never went back to. "Eindhoven really is my city."

We find him in the back of Helix, in his 'own shop', where newspaper clippings and photos adorn the wall ('Ruudje 12.5 years at CE&C') and a sign with Strandweg is visible from the outside. Today there are around twenty packages on the floor. "Very few, normally there are many more." He sees all mail items and goods. "Everything that enters the building comes through this door," he points to the open door.

Rudy checks whether the packages are complete and brings them on a moving cart to the storage rooms on the different floors. He no longer unpacks them, that takes too much time. He delivers mail items and also does a lot of ad hoc chores: putting new furniture in place, moving tables, and so on. Very different from the first years that he worked at the department. "In the beginning there were crates full of mail, now it’s all more digital."


The shift from letters to packages also means that the hard-working employee can make fewer ‘chats’ when delivering. But luckily for him there are still enough social contacts. "Employees come by to ask if their package has arrived, or if they just come in for no particular reason." Smiling: "The toffees I recently had on my table were gone in no time. They are now under lock and key." Every day starts at 9 a.m. with coffee ‘with six boys’, referring to himself and five other employees.

Nineteen years ago he took his first steps in Helix, in a three-piece suit. An acquaintance had pointed him to the vacancy for post assistant at the department. "I thought: TU Eindhoven, that’s were all the important people work." Laughing: "But I didn't see anyone in a suit." He is now one of the regulars here. “It's a good department. We understand each other's difficulties and they are resolved immediately. It is one big family, we like each other and the contact is close. A very nice feeling, you don’t get odd glances."


His dedication for the organization can also be seen from the number of times he called in sick in recent years: “I may have been sick once. To call in sick, I have to be really ill. I don’t like it when others have to take over my work, that person then also has to drop some of his own duties." Also during his vacation, ‘Ruudje’ often still walks around in Helix. “I usually take half days off on vacation. I live ten minutes from the TU/e. If they need me, I'll be right there."

Yet he would like to stop working within a few years. “It feels very double. I want to enjoy life a little more, spending more time with my wife and six children. But I will really miss it here."


This article is part of the special CursorOnTour@CE&C series, with on-site reporting, this time from the department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

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