Tag Archives: work

Elisa equals to afternoon of queuing

Yesterday I returned to the office after holidays. More about the feelings on the Post-holiday blues blog…

Anyway, after writing this post the amazing thing was that the return wasn’t that bad at all. The moment I stepped in the door of our office I remembered that I actually liked my job and my colleagues! Rather simple.

Also there was no caos or stress awaiting me, only suntanned colleagues and a relaxed atmosphere. So, today it was a lot easier to ride the bike to work in the morning.

Although my old anxiety remains, the one that tells that one these days I have to try something of my own… but till that day, and The Big Idea of what I actually want to do, my work is just fine.

However, the only setback at the office was that my work mobile phone (Nokia Lumia 800) had died during the vacation. No sign of life. This meant afternoon of queuing at Elisashopit in the centre of Helsinki. Elisa is one of the two big tele operators in Finland (the other one being Sonera).

blogger-image-542519341

I spent about an hour waiting for my turn, with lots of other people. This wasn’t the first time I was doing this in my life, and it’s equally bad when you try to call to Sonera/Elisa customer service. The waiting times are amazingly long! Once again I asked myself the eternal question: why?

This problem has been going on for years so it’s kind of a national joke already. Everyone knows that the service is very very slow.

So would it be a completely unrealistic idea to hire at least one more person for every shop to serve the customers? This would surely make the customer satisfaction rates go up and in the end everyone would be happier – especially the poor customer service staff who have to listen to all the complaints.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

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…

Tagged , , , , ,

Don’t get too busy this summer!

Image

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!

Image

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?”

Image

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!

Image

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Home Alone. How to Make Yourself Happy?

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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!

Image

… 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…

Tagged , , , , , ,

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.

Image

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!

Image

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…

Image

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.

Tagged , , , ,

The perfect job that never was

The sun is shining and it’s almost Easter, so I left the office early and called up a friend for a glass (it ended up to be 3) of rose in my new favourite bar next to home – Birds Cavabar that featured on the blog also yesterday… I don’t drink cava EVERY day though.

Image

Lapinlahdenkatu, the street of Birds Cavabar. Today it looked just like this - a pleasure to wait for my friend out in the sun.

Anyway, it’s great to see my dear friend, who works as producer for a talented Finnish photographer and who is going to open an art gallery soon. What happens nowadays is that we mostly talk about work – I guess something has changed, as before men (and various other subjects) used to come before the career.

My friend hadn’t heard what happened to me with my job interview a couple of weeks ago. In a nutshell, I’ve been feeling a bit frustrated at my current job, and been looking for “new challenges”. So I sent an application for a communications job at the Ministy of Internal Affairs. It sounded perfect.

Image

Ha! And I thought I was clever choosing well paid & interesting. But something essential was left out...

To my big surprise they called me for an interview! They had received 172 applications and interviewed only 5, so I felt fortunate. I spent days preparing: studying their webpages, reading their comms strategy, composing a clever answer for any possible question.

On the day of the interview I felt confident. People were nice and everything seemed to go ok… just that it didn’t. I had this strange feeling that something was wrong, and when I got out I texted my boyfriend that I don’t get this job.

And I didn’t. A week later I received an email telling that they chose someone else – the person who is currently doing the job (with a temporary contract). So, in the end it was a kind of a fake job offer – normally they always choose the person who they already have working – if he/she isn’t a complete disaster. That’s a normal procedure and perfectly just. What is not so just is that you have almost 200 people who honestly think they’ve got a fair chance: nobody told be what the situation was – and of course I didn’t realize to ask about it. Next time I will.

But it’s interesting that talking about my experience I heard many similar stories from my friends. Is this a common procedure? I couldn’t find any info with some Googling, but it sure would be interesting to know.

Well, there’ll be more jobs and mine is not that bad – at all. Still, looking for something new once in a while is good for you! It makes you evaluate your abilities and helps you to demand more at your current job – they shouldn’t take you for granted.

Image

Tagged , , , , ,

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!

Image

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.

Image

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! 😉

Image

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!

Tagged , , , , , ,

Office work – more freedom, please!

Today’s 3 main topics have been volunteering, weather and – not that surprisingly – office work. (Well, I also had a great sauna, but more about that later…)

First, this morning I had a radio interview about volunteering for the national Yle Radio Suomi, as tomorrow we’ll organise an event where people looking for volunteer work and NGOs looking for volunteers meet. The idea is nice, and Finland actually is the promised country of NGOs – there is one for almost every purpose you can imagine!

The interview went fine, they said. Even if being in the studio and thinking of thousands of people listening makes you feel a bit strange…

All in all, Finnish people volunteer a lot, sometimes without even noticing: in NGOs, sports clubs, school associations, helping the old lady next door by bringing her milk from the supermarket. One in every four Finns volunteers and 50% of those who don’t would like to do something. Nice numbers, but there is still a lot to do – for a better world!

Cold and snowy Helsinki - this one is from 2010. Credit: Hannes Heikura, Helsingin Sanomat

Today’s second topic has been the weather. In brief, it’s -15C (or even colder with the chilly wind!) in Helsinki today. Luckily it’s also sunny and pretty with all that bright snow.

Stress Reduction Kit

We also have one of these at the office... just in case.

And then to the MAIN topic – work in the office! This evening I met two friends in a cafe of Ateneum Art Museum and we talked about work. We are all loaded with “interesting” tasks and projects. So we got some ideas to make our lives a bit nicer:

1. Office life. Do you know the UK series The Office? Well, it results that our respective offices (like I guess most of the offices in the world) have their “special character”. So, it would be great to film or at least record in the meetings and situations and maybe also to write a book about the a bit absurd aspects of office life. Unfortunately I guess we would be thrown out of the office before finishing the story…

Why not, if the work is done?

2. Working hours. Luckily my office is quite flexible and we are allowed to work from home – like I did today. But  we also have clock cards and our working hours calculated. It’s my first job with this system. After the initial shock I got used to it – even if I’m quite a free soul. Actually it’s nice to notice the hours slowly accumulating – and then you can have a longer weekend to compensate.

Anyway, why can’t it be so that when the daily work is done, you’d be free to go? People have different rhythms, some are early birds and some… well, are not.

3. Physical presence in the office. I’ve been seriously thinking about the necessity to stay in the office 8 hours a day. Why? I do no costumer service and all the information I need is online. So if there are no meetings, there are no real reasons for staying in the office.

I read a great blog (in Finnish) on how the sometimes archaic office rules should be updated. One of these rules is the physical presence of the employee. We would be a lot happier working from home, cafes, museums, parks, from a paradise island – wherever YOU’d want to! Especially for jobs that require creativity and concentration this is essential.

Well, maybe it takes some time to introduce these ideas but in many places they are already doing it… I really hope we’d get some changes before I get retired!

Ups

Tagged , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: