June 24, 2019

My career: From start to Finnish

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GNF

Pete Stockley, UK
Senior learning systems specialist

Pete had been dating a Finn in the UK for a few years when she asked if he would like to move to Finland with her. His answer: “Let’s do it!” He had visited Finland once before and enjoyed the abundance of nature here. As a self-described “somewhat introvert”, he admired the level of personal space that people expect, too.

1. What I find surprising about working in Finland is… things just work here. There is very little bureaucratic or hierarchical nonsense. I can approach my department boss or even the organisation’s director if needed and get from them direct, concrete answers.

2. My favourite thing about Finland is… the work hard, play hard mentality. Finns have an admirable work ethic and take their well-deserved downtime seriously. It’s difficult not to be impressed and want to follow their example.

3. The piece of advice I would give to someone contemplating coming to work in Finland is… learn the language – I know it’s daunting at first but doing so will reduce stress from Finnish-language paperwork and also help you communicate and relate with Finns. I recommend Viivi and Wagner comics as they will teach you the Finnish humour too. Also change your device languages to Finnish to learn that vocabulary in the background.

Or: prepare your wardrobe – the distance between high and low temperatures is increasing here and as the great Billy Connolly said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing”.

4. The Finnish word that best describes working here is… reiluus – fairness. If you work dutifully and honestly, it will be appreciated and recognised. Shortly you will find your colleagues will match the energy you put in. If you don’t, well, don’t be surprised how that energy is matched too.

5. The biggest change Finland has undergone since I have lived here is… how Finland is known in the world. Finland used to feel so disconnected and finding news on Finland in the world media was a rare and exotic thing. Now, the world knows who Finland is and what it has to offer. I do miss those funny moments when people said: “Finland, is that in Sweden”? Nowadays I feel proud to hear the good things people have heard about the country.

We are getting to know what people born abroad think about working life in Finland.

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