Category Archives: Work

Post-vacation Blues – What to Do?!

One part of my nice and long (but not long enough!) summer vacation I spent in Spain… visiting old friends and enjoying the easy life. More about this great trip shall follow a little later in the blog… This photo is from my friend’s flat – what a view to live with!

Freedom is a dangerous thing, at least for us office workers. When you get to taste a bit of it, (or maybe not even that little as I was free for most of the summer, almost 6 weeks…anyway) going back to the office is tough and the routine seems totally absurd: running from one meeting to another, receiving and answering random emails and eating lunch fast always at the same time and with the same people.

Worst of all is to sit the typical 8 hours 5 days a week inside the office – these hours seem like an eternity… Why, oh why, as during the vacation I was able to fit so many (nice) things in just one day – AND sleep late, if I felt like that!

been there…

The positive thing is that human being is a flexible creature and gets used to almost anything – amazingly fast. After 2 weeks in the office I have already almost forgotten the wonderful empty days and my freedom. Without complaining (too much) I wake up early from Monday till Friday and spend the whole day sitting on a chair in front of a computer inside the office, even if the sun is shining outside. Well, my colleagues tell me that the third week will be better. Let’s see…

However, I also notice that something curious is happening to me these days. Before the vacation I was quite ready to start looking for a new job. I felt frustrated with processes that become too big and messy and never result in anything concrete and frustrated with of my job description composed of 1001 miscellaneous things…

But most of all I got tired of the routine (as they say, the routine kills): having to spend 8 hours a day doing something that I wasn’t that convinced about. Why?!? In brief, my feeling was that I was wasting my days while the potential fun and interesting  life and all kinds of cool opportunities were drifting away from me – oh, if I only was brave enough to go and catch them!

However now, after summer vacation, I feel somehow more peaceful and positive. Perhaps the glimpse of freedom made me realize that in the end nothing in this life is permanent and that I CAN change my life whenever I want to.

So, instead of starting to look for another job, I now try to concentrate on the positive aspects, do my work as well as I can and try to develop personally, enjoy my colleagues and just ignore the negative things. Amazingly it really works! Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that tonight, surfing the Internet, I found this article:

If Your Job Sucks, It Might Be Your Fault; Let’s Fix That

And so it is! Before or later all the jobs start to suck:

“It’s inevitable. After enough time at any job, you have a day that really sucks. Then, eventually, maybe another. And another. Suddenly the job you loved starts to feel like, well, work. And bad work at that. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

But before leaving, there are many tricks and ways to try to make it all better… I would say that in many many cases these tricks truly work. And if they don’t, well, then it probably really is time to go. I’ll hang on – for some time now, at least – and with a smile! 🙂 Knowing that the day I honestly get enough, I’m free to move on…

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Don’t get too busy this summer!

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Yesterday was my last day at the office before summer vacation, and because I had either done all the things written on my vague To Do list; happily forgotten what I should have done before the holiday – or too lazy too start anything new, I spent the day having light chats with my colleagues, a long lunch break in the park and surfing the Internet.

Luckily there was some interesting content offered by my dear friends – mostly on all the great things you can do in the summer. One friend got more serious moment and linked Tim Kreider important article The “Busy” Trap on Facebook. I couldn’t agree more with him!

Tim writes about being busy – and says life is too short for it. In America – like in Finland and in most industrialised countries – people tell you all the time how busy they are. It’s the most common answer to the question “How are you?” among my friends too.

What’s worse, more or less subconsciously we encourage people for being busy: “Well, at least you have a job, you’re always so energetic and active etc.”

What Tim is claiming is that our busyness is self-imposed and chosen, not an inevitable condition. People fill their calendars – and unfortunately of their children, too, with activities, hobbies, meetings – whatever to keep them busy.

Tim says we’re addicted to busyness and dread what we’d might have to face in its absence.

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”

Most of my friends are busy, even when they’re on holiday. They feel anxious when they aren’t doing something “meaningful” and taking advantage of their time, whatever that means.

Even children are (too) busy. Like Tim, when I was small my most common complaint was “I’m so bored, what can I do?!” My parents then offered some ideas but in the end we kids created something to do – and mostly had lots of fun! We learnt not to be afraid of the empty moments but understood them as a good starting point for creativity, games or learning something new – like to fly from the kitchen table to the floor (I was convinced this was possible! 🙂 We didn’t even have a TV at home – and nobody talked about kids’ ADHD those days…

“Those free hours became the model for how I wanted to live the rest of my life”, Tim writes. So they did for me. My dream is to be free, spend a lot of time with my loved ones – and get bored once in a while!

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One important reason for our business is the modern working life:

“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”

So true again! For this it’s so hard to tell the elder relatives what I do for work (communications). They are used to jobs where you do something concrete and achieve tangible goals. Nowadays most jobs contain too many complicated processes, abstract planning and innovating. It’s hard to answer the simple question “What did I really achieve at work today?”

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Tim claims that he’s not busy – not anymore, but also he has had busy moments: “every morning my in-box was full of e-mails asking me to do things I did not want to do or presenting me with problems that I now had to solve.”

The solution: Tim moved to a undisclosed location from which he’s writing about busyness. Why?

“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body. The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done… Great ideas only come when you have time for nothing – and enough of that!”

Thank you Tim, I’ll try to follow your advice this summer – luckily I’ve learned something of life, as for once I haven’t booked my vacation full of activities. In one hour I’ll catch a bus to my parents’ place in Tampere, I’ll not answer the phone if I don’t feel like it and I don’t have any planned activities for the next xx days. Welcome, wonderful idle days!

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Working from home – or park, bar, beach or…

The last days at work before summer vacation tend to be a bit frustrating. At least at my office – just like in all the offices where I’ve worked before. As Björk sings,  it’s oh sooo quiet. After juhannus, the Finnish Midsummer I talked about in my earlier post, Helsinki becomes a desert city. The little email you receive consists of out of office notifications – or emails from abroad. No wonder, as 38% of Finns take their holidays in July.

I’m an exception as this year I’ll start my holiday later. So also next week I’ll sit almost alone in the office while the sun (so rare in Finland) is nicely shining outside and my Facebook newsfeed is filled with status updates describing all the wonderful things you can do on your vacation.

Anyway, I’m not bitter as my holiday will start soon enough. But as these days I’ve practically nothing to do and too much time to think, I’ve been wondering how much work capacity is being lost during these lazy and unproductive weeks before holidays? Either the employees’ mind is somewhere far away or they just don’t have nothing to do – except of trying to make the time go fast.

Of course many people like it that way, as you can do things you wouldn’t have time to do otherwise; archiving, reading work-related articles, thinking etc. For me this doesn’t really work. First, I should have drafted a To Do list earlier – now I’ve forgotten all that stuff I said I would do “when I’d have time”.

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” — Dorothy Parker. Credit: Brightlivelihoods.com.

Yesterday I met some friends who are in a very similar situation: still at work but not really doing anything. Those who can, decide not to spend the last days before holidays at the office but “working” from home, cafe, bar, park, beach… It sounds like fun but I guess it’s just about making the time a bit more tolerable. If I have to sit 8 hours in the office surfing the Internet, staring at the wall or reading random reports one can’t avoid thinking why, if I’m able to complete all the tasks in 2-3 hours?

The thing is that me and my friends really want to do something – if in any case we have to work. Most of my friends are talented and ambitious young people who have the capacity and urge to achieve things and stay active – otherwise you just get frustrated. At least I notice a clear correlation between my work motivation and things to do – less things to do = less motivation and efficiency.

Work can – and should – be fun and done in a nice environment. What bad can that possibly do to your performance?!

Luckily we found a kind of a solution with my friends. Instead of spending the days alone and frustrated it’s better to join forces and create synergies!  So we agreed to meet up in a cafe or a park, depending on the weather, and work together. This way we can enjoy the summer, help each other with our tasks (as we mostly work in similar fields), share experiences – and have fun while working! I’m convinced it’ll be as efficient a day as any – even more so.

All in all, my opinion is that in any creative workplace the employees should be given the freedom to work wherever they want to and feel comfortable in -when it’s possible. Why? I totally agree with Jason Fried on TedTalks asking “Why work Doesn’t Happen at Work?” These ideas should be considered in every office…

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The Best Place to Work

Great Place to Work® just announced the 100 best workplaces in Europe in 2012. They have been making these lists since 2003 and this year more than 1.500 companies from 18 countries participated in the contest.

Multinational companies,  middle-sized and small companies have their own lists. The good news is that a Finnish company called Futurice gained the first prize in the category of small and middle-sized companies. What is so special in them? Or in general: what makes an excellent workplace?

I’ve been pondering this question a lot during the last couple of months, as I’ve been thinking of my future (working) life and where I’d like to see myself. I’ve also noticed quite a few things at my current and previous jobs that could be developed or done in another way – well, each and every workplace has its pros and cons.

The winning companies work in different fields but do have some common features. José Tolovi, Jr., Global Chairman of the Board, writes on the Great Place to Work® webpage that “despite the economic uncertainty in Europe, the 100 Best Workplaces lead the way in demonstrating that creating and maintaining a workplace culture based on trust is good for business.”
“What unites them is strong and visionary leadership and a commitment to creating the kind of workplace where employees trust the management, have pride in what they do and enjoy working with their colleagues. It is these motivated and dedicated employees who are more likely to support the organisation and help companies get through times of economic uncertainty.”

I certainly agree! Trust is the key issue – like in any relationship. Without trust there’s nothing. Talking with my friends about their work experiences, I would say in most of the workplaces the trust missing or at least is not on the level where it should be. The boss doesn’t trust his employees, who get frustrated and feel that they are treated like children. For return, they don’t trust the boss and think that he has bad intentions. This is where everything fails. If you’re not being trusted, you don’t feel ownership of the company and in the end nobody wants to take responsability of anything. And that’s really bad.

Futurice staff receiving the prize for the Best Workplace.

As to Futurice, sure the employees enjoy some special benefits there like having breakfast together once a week, a billiard board and, naturally, a sauna at the office. All these are nice examples of taking the employee’s wellbeing seriously, but of course the true reasons of success lie behind the surface.

One Futurice employee comments that important aspects are the open culture and that you don’t have to be a boss to be able to influence in things. Another employee says that the company has a great spirit of doing things. Sure: things get done fast when you have motivated workers!

Openness, innovatiness, love. For Futurice these 3 things are considered essential for leading a company. Sounds good to me.

In a good workplace people work because they want to and because they feel appreciated, not to please the boss. (Ok, maybe occasionally…)

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One of my favourite spots which I pass by when I go running near home. This morning everything looked so pretty with the sun, sea and the green trees.

This Saturday we have excellent weather here in Helsinki. Once again I understood how amazingly appealing the city can be when it wants to… I slept well, went for a morning run and in the afternoon my aunt and the family of my cousin came for a visit and we enjoyed (too much) ice cream and talked about our lives. My cousins live in Charlottesville, Washington D.C., so I see them very rarely. Luckily now they’ll spend a whole year here in Helsinki.

Talking about this and that my aunt suddenly asked me the question:

– Do you like your work?

– No, I answered – with an emphasis.

Before thinking about it, my lips had spoken. Then I started with all the explications: well, of course it’s not that bad, my colleagues are really nice and the subject in itself is very interesting, as we’re working for a better world in the NGO… It’s just the feeling that my job description does not match what I would be able to do. I feel that days pass by while doing a bit of this and that but I’m never able to engage myself thoroughly in anything. My tasks are too fragmented.

I loved the answer of my aunt: “Well, then it’s time to change”, she said placidly and then we moved on to other subjects.

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Change. It seems so simple and so many people are changing their lives all the time. So what holds me back?

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” 
― Albert Einstein

I guess my problem is typical: I don’t know what I want. More or less yes, but not in detail. For a half a year now, I’ve been pondering a lot on what I really want from life. Not easy. However, every day I get more and more convinced that, even if there’s nothing wrong with my work or with my life, I really need to react as soon as possible. Otherwise days, months and years pass by while I’m doing something that’s “ok” but not “amazing”.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” 
― Lewis Carroll

Many of my friends have similar feelings this spring, so we’ve discussed the subject a lot. Everyone has a different situation but in the end it’s all about the same things. Change. I just read 10 signs it’s time to change your job I found, and I don’t fill all of them. However, many things are valid for me too, and this is only one list.

For example I know I’m not performing to the best of my ability. I’d love to do more meaningful things. I also need to get challenged a bit – with myself. Yesterday I met a friend, who also knows my colleagues, and someone had commented that I don’t seem that enthusiastic anymore at work as in the beginning. That is true, unfortunately. I never want to become cynical.

I have also looked for ways to improve the current situation but our organisation isn’t that big and there is quite a strong culture of doing things in a certain way – like in many places. So, change tends to be slow…

Sometimes I also feel that I can’t get enough positive reinforcement to keep my spirits up. This is a typical problem in Finland – lack of positive feedback. They say that everything goes well when nobody says anything.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Well, here I am home alone on a Saturday evening pondering on my life and my future. Actually I’m feeling positive and peaceful, as I know the change will come and that it will be for better. These days I’ve had the necessity to spend some time with myself and my thoughts, while normally I’m a very sociable people and spend most of my free time accompanied. Now, I feel that for being able to implement wise changes in one’s life you need to stop, think a lot, imagine the future you want, make lists, mind maps or whatever. Then, some unexpected moment The Change is there and you’ll be ready for it – either it comes to you or you have found it as you knew where to look for…

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 
― Anaïs Nin

PS: I’ve been also reading a lot of quotes on life and change, as I like this form of concise expression (being un impatient person) and I get many inspiring ideas there. So, here I share a few.

“These woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.” 
― Robert Frost

Change – what a wonderful word

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Home Alone. How to Make Yourself Happy?

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This is how my poor phone looked like this morning…

At 6am this morning I became widowed by football for a week, as my boyfriend headed for Gdansk, Poland, to follow the European Championships.

Mostly for sleeping badly, I’ve been tired all day and the first thing I did when I arrived at the office was to throw my iPhone to the floor so that the front glass broke.

And that was only the start. As the hours passed, my bad mood got worse. My boss seemed a bit negative to my ideas and I had only boring things on my to-do list. I felt so frustrated that I even surfed the web in search of The Perfect Job waiting for me. Well, I found nothing but still: it always makes me feel a bit better to realize that there are other jobs out there and I won’t be stuck in this office for the rest of my life. Well, hopefully not in any office. But still, I get very impatient when I get the urge to move on and feeling that my capacities are getting wasted in what I do.

Anyway, in the end breaking my mobile phone turned out to be the best thing of today. It gave me an excuse to leave the office early and take the metro till Itäkeskus, a big shopping centre and a suburb around it in Eastern Helsinki. My friends told me that there I’d find the fastest and cheapest place for repairing iPhones, iTapsa. And it truly was an excellent experience! My bad mood was wiped away when I stepped in a little room in a “hotel of offices” where this young guy smiled at me and said encouragingly: “it will take only half an hour”. As an extra, I got a new yellow cover for my phone. Pretty.

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Itäkeskus – a multicultural and a bit rusty shopping centre in Eastern Helsinki. Worth a visit, definitely. Credit: Wikipedia.

After that I checked out the shopping centre. I hardly ever go there as I live in the centre – It’s amazing how fast one gets stuck in the same quarters. Well, Itäkeskus, “Itis,” is a multicultural place full of life and people from all corners – like a mini-visit abroad.

This afternoon I also went running, as the weather was perfect – finally! Normally I can only run for 30 mins but today I run around for an hour! I felt proud when resting a moment by the sea in the new suburb Jätkäsaari. For now it’s a huge construction site – and I love it! I have a special feeling for abandoned wastelands… do idea why, maybe they make me feel free.

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Jätkäsaari under construction. I love to run around here at the construction site by the sea. Credit: Helsingin Sanomat.

After the run I went to the sauna of our building, alone. It felt so relaxing and I threw a lot of water to the hot stones enjoying the almost +100C.

A glass of wine after the sauna culminated the evening. And now… I’m watching football! Spain against Ireland, and Spain shall win. I was begged to check out the match and try to spot my boyfriend and his friends in the audience… an impossible task.

Well, what I learned today was that a good trick to enlighten any bad day is to do something completely new and unexpected. Even a small thing. Like taking the metro / bus to a new suburb and wonder around among strangers.

Another well-known trick is to do some physical exercise. The third one is to enjoy a glass of good red wine and the fourth… of course the sauna. All this really works. Now I’m smiling, even if this morning I felt like crying for all the frustration and my broken phone.

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Our tiny Urban Agriculture project makes me happy, too – our basilica growing on the window. The photo is a bit old, today the plants are a lot bigger!

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… and our amazing orchideas make me smile daily! They’ve been blooming for months already and it’s a little miracle for the little care we offer them…

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Those Who Stay Home With Kids – Should They Get Paid?

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credit: Motifake.com

Finland is a welfare state, where people have the right to a variety of benefits in different phases of their life. Sounds perfect, and in many cases it is.

But with all these crisis, we have to save and choose. Every time the government has to decide on a new budget, heated debates arise as nobody wants to see their money cut. Well, I guess it’s the same everywhere.

One of this spring’s political debates has been whether it’s ok to pay for moms and dads (well, mostly moms) who stay at home with kids. Some politicians suggested that this benefit (“kotihoidontuki” in Finnish) should be cut. And the storm rose. “The children are the most important thing there is, taking care of the household is hard work” etc.

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Home is the best place for kids, swears Nina Mikkonen, a public person representing the more extremist wing of Finnish housewives. She also announced in a newspaper interview that Kindergartens were a creation of Nazism. Credit: HS.

In Finland you get this benefit for a maximum 3 years, the longest period you can stay at home without losing your permanent job.

However, many economists argue it’s stupid to pay someone for staying home – for years. One expert even commented that women are lazy not going back to work. “You’re welcome to our home for a couple of weeks and see how it is”, a some moms responded.

Some say that staying home too long might be like a prison to women, ruin their career opportunities and even cause poverty. Credit: Taloussanomat.

Surprisingly, one reason for cutting the benefit was gender equality. They say it’s bad for women’s careers’ to stay out for so long. There should be other options like working less hours.

If everyone started to work when their children get 2 years old, this would mean 15 000 more women working. Wow!

Fo me, the question has no right or wrong answers, as every family is different. You should be able to go back to work as soon as you want or stay at home – without being critized in either case. Well, I don’t have kids but I’d certainly like to have these opportunities if I did.

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Thanks to a precedent case, Spanish housewives can now try to get compensation for “their loss” in the court.

How about elsewhere in Europe? I just read an interesting article from Spain, where a lady called Piedad F. was married to Vicente B. for 15 years, she had Master in Law but could never work as she “had to” stay at home for years taking care of their daughter.

The Highest Court decided that the husband has to pay the ex wife 108 000€ for compensation after the divorce – even if there was a marriage settlement. I wonder if there’ll now be more partners demanding “their rights”. Very interesting…

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Being a Refugee in Finland

The last couple of days I’ve been in Seinäjoki, a city about 3 hours’ train trip away from Helsinki. Seinäjoki is the capital of the province of Southern Ostrobothnia, and with a population of 58 000 it’s one of the fastest growing urban centres in Finland. Even if you wouldn’t believe it.

It was my first visit to this town, which seems very small and, sorry to say, ugly. Well, this is nothing “personal” as it happens with most Finnish towns. During the fast urbanization in about 1970s, most of the old pretty houses were torn down and replaced by boring concrete blocks. This destruction is a tragedy for our cultural history.

Anyway, to compensate there is some fine Alvar Aalto architecture. Lakeuden Risti is the symbol of the city.

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The church by Alvar Aalto is the proud of Seinäjoki – with some other building designed by Aalto. Credit: Yle.

It was my first time in Seinäjoki. Sometimes traveling inside your own country is a lot more exotic than going far away. You think you know what you’ll get, but nope: people act different, they speak another dialect etc. Very eye-opening!

Why was I there? At my work we organise events called Markets of Possibilities, which take place around Finland in about 20 cities each year. So we travel to see how they go.

In these events Finnish NGOs tell about their work and offer “exotic” food and program. The aim of is to bring out the multicultural side of Finland and tell the locals what they can do “for a better world”.

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Markets of Possibilites are fun events. Here’s the Choir War in process. Don’t know about the technical quality of the signing, but these ladies were devoted.

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Flashmob by local students. They had also danced in supermarkets etc. Go Seinäjoki!

There, I met there The Refugee Woman of the Year, Malalai Rahim from Afghanistan, as she participated in a panel about refugees’ replacement in Finnish cities. Finland has agreed to receive 750 so called “quota refugees” every year, but the problem is that some municipalities don’t want to have them.

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Malalai Rahim, this amazingly active lady, seems to know everyone in Seinäjoki.

This year, Seinäjoki has promised to receive a group of 20-30 people from Congo, but the neighbouring towns have said “no”. It’s a sad thing, especially as we talk of so small numbers. I think Finland, being a wealthy country, could receive more people. But our country is still very homogenous and people are a bit afraid of “opening the borders”. Even if we’ll definitely need more foreign work force in the future.

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Panel discussion held in Seinäjoki about quota refugees and their replacement. Speakers included a representative of UNHC, vice mayor of Seinäjoki, immigration officer and Malalai Rahim.

Malalai Rahim made a big impression on me. She spoke very good Finnish and her story is amazing. The talebans threatened her life, as she was a woman working as a doctor in Afghanistan, so she had to leave. In Finland, she studied the language and went to the university to get another degree, to be a gynecologist. Now she works in a hospital in Seinäjoki, has 5 children and is actively involved in local politics trying to help newcomers. Me and my colleague, who were just about to complain how tired and stressed we felt, fast shut up.

Malalai made good points about refugees’ integration in Finland. We need to make our social integration program a lot more efficient! It’s not enough to give people a bit of food and money; everyone needs to feel meaningful and get to work, too. Otherwise you stay at home, get isolated with your problems and soon you are not even able to raise your children. I really hope this idea has some impact, coming from the mouth of someone who truly knows what suffering and life as a refugee are about.

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There is already one Congolese family living in Seinäjoki, and in the fall there should be some more quota refugees from Congo arriving. Getting ready for the Finnish winter… Credit: Yle

As a refugee, one should never lose faith and become bitter for what you have to go through. You MUST raise your head and go on. But a little help is needed, and it’s our responsibility to offer it.

Everyone should remember that things can change fast. What if one day we need to leave our country? How would you like to be treated? We have experience about this in Finland, as during The Second World War almost 80 000 children were sent to other Nordic countries as refugees. They were called The Finnish War Children.

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Finnish war Children in Turku. Credit: Wikipedia.

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What is a quota refugee? Within its refugee quota, Finland accepts for resettlement persons defined as refugees by the UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and others who are in need of international protection. The refugee quota is verified in the state budget for each year.

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Today, I took part in a fundraising seminar for NGOs. This was the second work-related (fundraising) seminar in short time, so I’m really getting “educated”… Well, there’s still a long way to become a professional. But the subject is a very interesting, even if the NGO I work with doesn’t do fundraising and I work in communications, not in making people feel the urge to donate.

One of today’s sessions was very interesting. The lecture was given by Riikka Kämppi, the lady who lead the presidential campaign for Pekka Haavisto, of whom I wrote earlier in Is It Possible to Have a Gay President in Finland? In the end it wasn’t, as he got second, but the electoral campaign was an authentic success story.

Kämppi told us that they started the campaign in a desperate situation. The Green Party, Vihreät, had lost in the parliamentary elections, Haavisto’s support was at 3% (compared to the most popular one, the current president Sauli Niinistö, whose support was about 60%).

However, right from the start the goal of the campaign was to win – too much modesty is rubbish. Only that the campaign budget was 100 000€, so I guess many thought the idea was totally crazy.

Sounds familiar nowadays… Credit: Future Fundraisingnow. com.

Kämppi shared some valuable advice with us – and they are valid for many kinds of projects. Here some of them…

  • Be completely honest about your goals, especially internally. For example, everyone inside the Green Party saw the campaign Powerpoints and knew exactly about the campaign’s goals.
  • If your own means are scarce, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most people are willing and even desiring to do that, when asked in a right way.
  • If you have little money, target it wisely and leave out all the less relevant things. Even if people get angry.
  • Copy the best ideas from others – it’s perfectly fine.
  • Let people participate using and creating different ways and channels. And let them do it NOW, as things go by fast, epecially in social media, and our memory is short.
  • Wonderful ideas get spontaneously born among “your fans”. Social media played a key role in this campaign, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are very cheap and you can reach an amazing amount of people in short time. As the message spread, people started to make cookies, art work, signs in the snow or whatever with the significant number 2. They also donated a lot of money – the final budget was more than 700 000€!

This flashmob and video was independently created by supporters of Pekka Haavisto. Amazing! Finlandia is kind of a national anthem of Finland, a very meaningful song.

Last but not least, don’t be afraid of conflicts! Kämppi told us that now, when she introduces an idea to people and everyone agrees, she thinks the idea must be too lame. If something makes people strongly oppose, there’s probably something good there. 🙂

Tips for a great campaign

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Relaxed weekend vs success

This weekend I’ve been visiting my parents in my dear old hometown Tampere. More about this excellent city shall follow later on in the blog.

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Hämeensilta, the main bridge of Tampere. The statues have got decorated for "vappu, the 1st of May party.

All week I’ve been feeling tired and a bit stressed at work, so my plan for the weekend was only to relax. This is why I came to come to Tampere to my parents’ place. Enjoying their good company, great food supply, sauna and sofa cures anything. I told only one friend that I was coming to avoid any “obligations” to meet. Yesterday we did some successful shopping and enjoyed cava in a cozy restaurant H2 + K.

However, things normally don’t go as planned. Lately I’ve been writing quite actively as freelance journalist to some magazines and, because of my slight crisis at work and big need to develop myself as writer, I’ve been saying YES to all the enquiries to write something. So on Friday I promised to write an article about Pixelache festival and Helsinki African Film Festival, both to be held in Helsinki in May. As I’m “specialized” in writing about arts & culture…

The negative things is that deadline for both these articles is tomorrow. Thus, a big part of my “relaxed” weekend has been contacting interviewees, looking for background information, writing, editing and watching African films.

The paradox is: I love writing and I’m ambitious, but at the same time I feel a constant voice saying in my head “it’s weekend so please please relax – as you promised – and have some fun!” Of course, it’s not the first time when this happens. I really want to become a better writer and establish freelancer contacts with new publications, but this means working in the evenings and weekends. And I’m jealous about my freetime. I love, need and deserve it!

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Would I rather spend a Saturday evening with my friend and cava here or home alone working? 2h + K restaurant in Tampere.

This morning I read a column about success in Aamulehti, the daily newspaper of Tampere. The journalist asked himself, why he hadn’t become a professional photographer, which used to be his dream. In the end he said that he loved too much his “freedom to do whatever – or nothing at all”. And to succeed you need to concentrate on ONE thing and forget about everything else. It might not sound that hard, but it is. For me, this weekend it meant forgetting about the following:

  • Spending a whole evening on the sofa reading a good book – without a work-related thought on my mind.
  • Cooking and having a nice long dinner with my parents and enjoying some good red wine.
  • Visiting the new home of my friends, even if they live nearby.
  • Having a long, relaxed walk around the neighbourhood observing the spring around me.
  • Hanging around the centre of Tampere and having a coffee – without time limits – with my old friends. Concentrating on their stories – without thinking about my own work!
  • And, most importantly, having time just for doing nothing. This is very important for me, and anybody, to get totally relaxed and letting your thought flow freely and get some creative ideas…

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Sure, this is just one weekend, so I’t ok, but I definitely wouldn’t be ready to give up of all the spontaneity and fun in life just to become an excellent writer. Or excellent whatever. And they say, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” I prefer to be happy and free than excellent at something – and I still don’t accept that these two things are incompatible! So for now I’ll shut down the laptop and go with my Dad to visit a fish market in Tampere.

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