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From night porter to IT consultant

Lars (34) did not originally plan to work with IT, but a digital hotel system gave him this opportunity.

Bilde av Lars Eikeland Hagen i Oslo Sentrum. Han smiler mot kameraet.
Lars Hagen started off as a night porter while still studying, and now works with IT at the Olav Thon Group's head office. PHOTO: Madeleine Gedde Kjällgren

Always something going on 

"We never rest! There are so many people working here, and so much going on all the time – nothing ever stands still!" 

IT consultant at the Olav Thon Group, Lars Eikeland Hagen (34), is asked what he likes best about his job. It turns out that he ended up here almost by chance. 

Started up as a night porter while still studying 

Lars is a qualified journalist and was taking a one-year programme in Spanish and Latin American studies when he started to work part-time as a night porter at Thon Hotel Orion at Bryggen in Bergen.  

Every other week, he turned night into day to manage the hotel's reception desk, checking in late arrivals and checking out guests leaving early in the morning. These night shifts also gave him time to study and plan his future. 

"My dream was to be a journalist, police officer, or something related to political science, but I couldn't really decide what to go in for. I also found the hotel work more and more interesting, " he says. 

In his reception work, Lars learned digital skills 

When he completed his studies, Lars moved back to his home city, Oslo, where he got a job as a receptionist at Thon Hotel Gyldenløve.  

He became a super-user of the digital hotel system Opera Hospitality PMS, used at hotels all over the world. This expertise soon brought him from the reception desk to the hotel chain's customer service office.  

"It was a great help that I had some hotel experience beforehand. I knew the guests, and how to handle different preferences and find solutions." 

After a few years in customer service, a new opportunity appeared for Lars, when the head office's ICT department needed someone from customer service who was very familiar with the Opera system. 

Experience and a strong will to succeed canbe just as good as formal IT qualifications 

"My expertise from working in reception was in high demand. In my customer service job I worked closely with a consultant from the IT department, who recommended me.  

And suddenly this journalist with the shattered dreams had a job as an IT consultant." 

"I don't have any formal IT qualifications, so this was steep ground for me, but my journalism studies had made me an expert at finding information. I enjoy working with data, learning the tools, and figuring out how systems work. This helped me a lot." 

Department with a foot in every door 

As an ICT consultant at the Olav Thon Group, Lars assists everyone from HR to the energy department in finding the best solutions and resolving various operational problems. 

"I'm not keen on the word 'family' in this context, but at Thon it's easy to feel you belong. In IT, we're at the hub of things and talk to all the departments every day." 

There's no doubt that Lars enjoys the ICT consultant work, although he still keeps the door open for any new internal opportunities that might come his way. 

"The company is developing continuously. New systems are replacing the older ones, and security is currently a very relevant topic. In the future I would like to work more with data security. This requires a number of courses and certifications, but with an employer that recognises the value of using internal resources, I think I may be able to achieve this." 


Get to know our people: Lars Hagen

Age: 34

Worked at the Olav Thon Group since: 2014 

Position: IT consultant

The best thing about my job: I like finding practical solutions to problems, and they usually appear in a new form every day. 

What you might not have guessed about me: I speak fluent Spanish (and hopefully soon also Italian). 

Read more about everyday working life at the Olav Thon Group