My career: From start to Finnish
Yiannis Alexopoulos, Greece
Performance marketing director
According to Yiannis, Finland, and Helsinki specifically, is the place to be when it comes to mobile games. When he was approached to join the industry here, he was humbled by the warmth, interest and care he was being treated with, which definitely weighed in when making the decision to relocate. Yiannis feels that Finland is one of the very best places in the world with regards to quality of life for families and, especially, mums. This latter aspect played an important role in him moving here as well.
1. What I find surprising about working in Finland is… the sense of pride people have for their work. I consider this a quality incredibly difficult to find, mostly observed in individual contributors, rarely. But I have never seen it as a common characteristic in a social group, as I see in Finland. This is hard-to-match motivation for any organisation or team, and I am particularly glad to have the opportunity to work in such a unique professional environment. However, and in my opinion, there is a downside to be aware of. One could be easily lured into a ‘I only work on things I enjoy’ approach, which could be understandable but hardly sustainable, especially for international talent.
2. If I could change one thing about Finnish working life it would be… flat organisations. Finland is known for having them. To me, however, these are… way too flat. It is extremely difficult to maintain satisfactory levels of responsibility and decision-making within such structures, which lead into high dependencies on individual contributors’ work ethic. And even though I consider work ethic in Finland particularly high, it is inevitable that performance, business targets, strategies get vulnerable, hindering the overall, usually remarkable, effort.
3. My favourite thing about Finland is… the respect for personal time and space, thus oneself. Even though this might be sometimes perceived as being accompanied by some sort of solitude or individualism, I personally experience it as a fantastic opportunity for one to enjoy the freedom and absolute right to shape their everyday life, mentality and personality, relieved from all sorts of social and peer-to-peer worries and pressure. From my point of view, this is a true fundament of equality, care and respect for one another.
4. The piece of advice I would give to someone contemplating coming to work in Finland is… I don’t love giving advice as every situation is highly personal. If I had to, I would say something along the lines of: Get ready to be spoiled, enjoy it, but also don’t forget to keep an eye on the rest of the world and how working cultures evolve elsewhere.
5. My initial expectations of Finland were… a bit more… western! Having lived in Asia before, I am finding Finland somewhere in the space in between North America or Europe and Asia, if one takes out the image of the hectic, crowded routine over there. It could be the shopping malls, large supermarkets or the fact that a great part of life in Finland is indoors. In any case, this was a bit unexpected but interesting, nevertheless.
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