Kuopio-born Mika Kokkonen originally went to Russia because it was the only place available to him when he wanted to go on an academic exchange in 2003. Mika now works for a law firm in St. Petersburg. Avenir / Hellevig, Klein & Usov offers many different services to international companies investing and conducting business in Russia. 34-year-old Mika has worked for the firm for seven years. He first started there as an intern but he is now one of the partners of the firm.
Mika travels to Finland on business about twice a month.
"Compared to Russia, Finland seems such a peaceful and functioning country. I miss the clean tap water, the way that rules and regulations work, and water that you can actually swim in that we have in Finland," he says.
Mika believes that Finnish working culture is efficient and productive compared to the Russian working culture. He adds that Russians have a slightly different concept of time from that which there is in Finland.
Here a deadline is considered to be the time limit for the first draft version. That's why I set deadlines for three days ahead of the actual deadline and that way jobs get sorted out on time," tells Mika.
Mika values the sociability and personal management that there is in Russian working culture.
"It's nice that in Russia we celebrate all employees' birthdays and other personal milestones at work. Team spirit is high and we also socialise outside of work. In Russian working culture, management takes place on a personal level, rather than delegating jobs via email," he praises.
Mika thinks that people of St. Petersburg like Finns, while many Russians visit Finland on shopping excursions.
"It's funny that Russians always seem to buy Fairy liquid from Finland. They can get it here too but Finnish Fairy liquid works much better," he chuckles.
Our summer series depicts working in different cultures.