My Career: From Start to Finnish
American UX designer Brianna likes the informality of working life
Briana Romero, the US. Service designer
“Learn what the word sisu means and some Finnish while you’re at it.”
Briana moved here nearly eight years ago because she was curious and wanted to grow as a person. She saw Finland as a place she didn’t know much about and that could let her experience being an exchange student. She was really interested in Finland’s approach to sustainability, too. She has also been fascinated by snow ever since her childhood as she didn’t grow up with it. “Well, here it is with me seven months out of the year!” she states.
Briana went through a lot of jobs in other professions during the few years she was studying for her master’s, as well as after completing it. She explains that the jobs she had, regardless of whether they were related to service design, taught her how to be a good service designer and got her enough experience to get her current job. She also underlines how learning Finnish has helped open doors in her career.
1. My initial expectations of Finland were… I didn’t know how different it really was from the rest of Europe! I assumed there would be more tourists and foreigners. Coming from the Bay Area in California, I am used to so many different cultures. When I first moved here in 2010, there was way less than now, and I am happy to see how Finland has grown in this way and how there’s more Finnish ethnic fusion food.
2. What I find surprising about working in Finland is… there is a level of informality that is real and brings out the truth in people. It’s also usually okay to say what you’re unsatisfied with.
3. If I could change one thing about Finnish working life it would be… that sometimes I wish communication could happen faster. The concept of small talk is also important to make friends! There is a lot of deliberation sometimes before deciding something, and I feel people would reach a decision better if they discussed it together before deciding it in their head.
4. My favourite things about Finland are… karaoke bars, the sauna, Aki Kaurismäki films, nature and of course the Finnish language. It’s so funny to see even Finnish people out of breath pronouncing their words. Helsinki’s public parks and the insane appreciation for Christmas decorations and cosiness during winter.
5. The piece of advice I would give to someone contemplating coming to work in Finland is… learn what the word sisu means and some Finnish while you’re at it. Try to be patient if you want something and keep persevering. Enjoy the work parties and gatherings, they are usually the way to get to know your co-workers.