Monthly Archives: March 2012

When is it time to change your job?

As part of my typical spring anxiety, of which I talked yesterday in this blog, a couple of weeks ago I applied for a job – which came out of the blue. Yes, I’d been complaining of various aspects of my current job to my friends over a beer already for some months, but I hadn’t thought of actually doing something so radical as changing job.

In the end, I’m still quite happy working for the NGO – even if some days I’m getting a bit bored and feeling that my capabilities are not being utilized.

Anyway, I applied for a another Communications Officer job, in the Ministry for Internal Affairs, which sounded interesting and would pay “a bit” more than working for an NGO. It was more of a test from my side, but surprisingly they called me for an interview!

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Red Star Resume Friday laugh for job interview

Then I really panicked. What if they chose me? Do I really want to go there? How can I leave my actual job so fast? Etc… etc. The typical preoccupations one has at these situations, I guess. The job even came to my dreams.

Last Friday I had the interview, which went ok. But today I got an email from the Ministry announcing that they picked another person for the job. Somehow, I felt during the interview that they wanted someone with more experience… Actually they chose the person who is already doing the job with a temporary contract. So this was very predictable.

Anyway, even if I really didn’t need that job, as I already have a nice one, it always feels bad when you don’t get something – even if you don’t really want it. So this afternoon I’ve been explaining, again and again, to my boyfriend how I honestly didn’t want that job in a boring Ministry post, how I prefer to work with the “good guys” in a NGO and that I believe in the destiny… All in all, it was great to get to the interview, as there where 130 persons who wanted the job – and they interviewed 5.

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But getting a taste of something else was an interesting experience for me. The last couple of weeks I’ve been happier in my job than for a long time, knowing that I can go whenever I feel like it. The things that I was sick and tired with (pointless meetings, bureaucracy etc.) don’t matter so much anymore. This is just temporal, I tell myself, and I’m learning how to ignore the boring stuff and concentrate on the interesting aspects of the work. By the way, here’s an interesting article on work boredom on Psychology Today Blog.

In the end, applying for another job was a boost for my self-esteem and to my work motivation. I can recommend it for everyone who is starting to feel a bit bored at her/his job. Right now I appreciate more what I have, but will still keep eyes open in case some great professional challenge comes along. Because I’m worth it! 😉

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But still, note to self: don’t change jobs before enjoying the long-awaited summer vacation!

PS: For all those who feel just a little bored at work, you might check out I’m Bored at Work.com – there really is a webpage for everything!

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Today I’ve been working from home office, well, actually from a cafe near our home in Kamppi. The place is called Deli&Cafe Martta and it’s a very comfortable place, owned by The Martha Organisation, a traditional Finnish home economics NGO, founded in 1899, to promote the quality and standard of life in Finnish homes.

They also organise courses on ecological cooking etc – and bake excellent korvapuusti pulla – a cinnamon bun called “slapped ear” for its form. I even found a recipe in English on ScandinavianFood.com.

The smell of fresh bun is amazingly strong here, the sun is shining in and they have brought fresh daffodils to my table… Summa summarum: a hundred times better option than sitting in the boring office!

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Martha Deli delicacies - if you get too hungry to work...

Working from “home” is one of my tricks to fight the spring anxiety. It always arrives more or less at the same time. I get a strong feeling that I want something has to change: I need new ideas, challenges and adventures, traveling away and all that”exciting” stuff. Life seems too routinous and common . I have no idea why this suddenly to me, every spring.

Before, when I got this feeling, I started to look for a new job. However, this time I’m (still) quite happy working in the NGO where I started 1,5 years ago. Everything is relative: some friends say that I should stay here for a while and “get established” while others are surprised that I’ve been in the same job already for more than a year!

Well, I haven’t been changing jobs that much – and normally the reason has not been me, as my previous contracts have been of temporal nature – that’s very typical here in Finland that the university graduates must jump between various temporary jobs before someone gives them a “real job”, with a permanent contract and all the benefits it includes.

I hope this anxiety will go away with small substitutes: walking in the sunshine, working less, hanging out with friends. For example tonight we’re going to Literary Death Match at Korjaamo Culture Factory. There famous Finnish writers read examples from their books and judges choose the winner… The concept is created by Todd Zuniga, the editor of Opium magazine. Interesting.

Ah! Talking about recipes, yesterday I baked excellent bread (baking is a great way to relax too…). The recipe includes whole wheat flour, carrots, dried fried onion, linseeds and of course yeast, water and a bit of salt. Mmm. There’s nothing better than fresh, warm bread.

Bread with carrot and dried onion makes you happy.


Sun, cinnamon buns and spring anxiety

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Sun shines for the rich and the poor – at least today

The way of life in Finland – also in the capital city Helsinki – is still very relaxed and easygoing. We are a small country, people are used to having a society that functions smoothly so they don’t have to worry much but can enjoy life and nature instead. At least during the weekends – those who have regular jobs and weekends, of course.

Well, this weekend we lead a quite bourgeois life with my boyfriend and explored some wealthy corners of Helsinki – and even of our neighbour city Espoo. Also, the weather has been perfect these days for enjoying the company of our long-lost sun.

We started at Kaivopuisto, an area ten minutes’ walk from our home in Kamppi. There’s a small island called Uunisaari, where walked to see how the open waters are approaching the frozen sea. A wonderful sight!

Uunisaari, Helsinki. Observing the ice covering the sea slowly disappear. Welcome spring, we missed you!

This small island is situated in Kaivopuisto area, “Kaivari” in spoken language, a very wealthy part of Helsinki. Buying a house there is practically impossible for any “normal Finn” with a “normal” Finnish salary. Many embassies are situated here too, and you can observe the (many) stereotypical elder ladies with their tiny dogs walking around and enjoying their cappuccino by the sea.

Today we decided to take it even further in getting to know where the money lives in Helsinki. So we drove to Westend – really, the place has this name, which sounds really funny in Finnish. Westend is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in all Finland, placed in the city of Espoo, only 15 minutes drive from our home in the centre of Helsinki.

The Westend is located by the sea, naturally, so we took the chance and went on walking on the frozen sea – with hundreds of other people. It was just wonderful! On the ice, you can walk anywhere and the power of the sun is reflected not only from the sky but also from the ice. We visited a small island and walked back to the continent to enjoy our first coffee with munkki (a Finnish donut) outside – with the wealthy Espoo people.

First coffee and "munkki", a Finnish donut, outside by the frozen Baltic Sea.

Actually, it feels funny to talk about “wealthy Finns” because one interesting feature of the Finnish society is that people normally hate to show off their money. The attitude is slowly changing but there is a strong tradition of “if you have a treasury, hide it”, like a popular Finnish refrain tells you to do.

However, there are more and more differentiated neighborhoods, children going to different schools etc. There’s a very active debate about social exclusion going on in our politics. The new president Sauli Niinistö, who started this week, says that he’d fight hard for getting the marginalised youth back to society. But then again, he’s from the conservative party well known for speaking for those who have money… So let’s see what happens.

Still, when you go for a walk on a Sunday afternoon like today, the frozen sea is full of people of all kinds of social backgrounds. We all dress more or less the same and smile when our paths cross for the pure, shared joy of the first spring day. And I really hope it’ll stay this way!

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The spring is arriving to Helsinki… eventually

The Finnish spring is tricky. One day you smell the first glimpse of spring in the air, the sun is shining and the snow melting… And the next day you wake up with a snow storm.

I guess this tricky weather has its influence on the Finnish mentality – it’s quite understandable to be a bit melancholic and suspicious when you live in a climate like this.

But there are positive aspects too. If you don’t suffer the darkness and coldness of the winter months, you neither learn how to appreciate the rare warmth and the sun. And the Finnish summer with its midnight sun is real magic, even if I say so myself.

Anyway, this is what I saw yesterday when I decided to leave from work (too) early and walk around Töölönlahti Bay – with tens of other people and hundreds of ducks.

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Töölönlahti Bay with its villas the first of March. Credit: me.

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View towards the centre of Helsinki - hard to imagine that at this point you're only 5 minutes walk away from the centre of our capital city!

And today it’s Friday! And the strangest thing is that I don’t have ANY “compalsory” plans for the weekend… So I’m open for everything.

Well actually, tonight we’re going to the concert of one my favourite Finnish bands, Pariisin kevĂ€t (The Spring of Paris). They just published their 3rd album, Kaikki on satua (Everything is a fairytale). The melodies are nice, lyrics are clever and they are amazing live! What else can you ask for…

Here is a song that’s a tribute to a neighborhood here in Helsinki called Pikku Huopalahti. It tells about peoples’ dreams, melancholy and the mediocre middle class life they live.

 

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