December 9, 2019

My career: From start to Finnish

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Slobodan Stanić, Serbia
Head of software at a venture capital company

Slobodan moved here six years ago, after joining AIESEC in Serbia when he was 25. He already had a few years of work experience but was ready to accept an internship position in order to travel the world and step out of his comfort zone. He received a four-month contract offer from Finland, from November to March. “The best time to be in Finland,” he comments now, sarcastically.

He landed his most recent job once again by stepping out of his comfort zone. He saw an Instagram ad that drew his attention and decided to give it a try, even though he already had a great job. The new position was a slight change for his career, and he is happy that he took it. He now works with people that are either thinking about or actually starting their companies, which he finds very exciting.

1. What I find surprising about working in Finland is… that people are way less stressed at work and they get things done anyway. They are also very supportive and trusting. This came as a surprise to me because trust and support are things that are often lacking in my home country work culture; there it is always considered that by working longer hours you get more things done.

2. If I could change one thing about Finnish working life it would be… being more open, because it is never a bad thing in my opinion – sometimes there are elephants in the room that no one is addressing. People here are also often too modest and don’t want to stand out. Internationally, in business this often comes as a disadvantage. Brag some more!

3. My favourite thing about Finland is… work-life balance! Becoming a parent changed my life forever, but I couldn’t be happier that it happened in Finland. There is plenty of time for family, and there are many services to support you in this. It is also one of the safest places in the world, and every block of buildings has at least one children’s playground!

4. What has changed about Finland since I have lived here is… that Helsinki, at least, has become even more international and had so many new areas built and projects developed. There are many new shopping centres, better transport connections and everything is quite digitalised. We also got the Länsimetro metro extension without knowing what all that fuss was about.

5. What is good to know when doing business with Finnish companies is… that trust is very important and Finnish people assume the best intent more often than not. They are also very proud of their country and are people of their word. But they also think that the rest of the world is the same.

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