So, another one. This seems almost therapeutic at the moment, so am going to carry on while I still have the impetus to do so. I was going to do a separate job-hunting & Finland blog, but as they are kind of inter-linked it makes sense to combine them in to one. As previously mentioned, I'm currently looking at moving to Finland. People that don't know me are always taken a-back by this, but there's one very simple reason for wanting this move - my son.
As I alluded to in my previous blog, when things ended The Ex was pregnant & went back to Finland. Things didn't end that well, so for a long, long time I was in two minds as to what to do in regards to involvement with my boy. Now, I'd never just walk away, but things were very difficult for a while & it was an option that was honestly considered. Every decision tore at my heart & I really didn't know what to do with myself.
I had to be there for the lil' man & once he was born & I saw his face (on Skype at first) I knew I had to do everything I could to be as close as possible to him. The initial plan was to move to London (more money & easier to travel abroad) & go over as often as possible. But after my first visit I knew that this wouldn't suffice. Logistically it was also going to be a pain. It would be a struggle financially no matter where I was living, so after first holding him in my arms I knew I had to start making a 'plan' to be with him.
Pessi Ilmari was born on 25th October 2010. I had originally planned to be there when he was due, but the plans fell through, so I travelled over as soon as I could which was a few weeks in to November. When I first walked in & saw him laying there I had to hold back the tears. He was the most gorgeous thing I'd ever seen.
It was then that I decided I had to start planning on what to do with myself & my life. I wanted to be as involved as possible, but it would be difficult being in the UK. My plan was pretty basic - three steps.
- Step 1 - move to London. Moving straight to Finland wasn't practical at the time, so London would be my first destination. It would hopefully provide me with a bit more money (it hasn't, by the way!) & would reduce travel time & costs when going to Finland. It also adds massive weight to a CV to have the head-quarters of an internationally recognised organisation on there.
- Step 2 - Find/secure a job in Finland. The most sensible thing to do in my situation is wait to secure a role before I move. This has its pros & cons, but is the best option under the circumstances.
- Step 3 - move to Finland. London was my middle point, Finland was my final destination (& still is). I'm now doing everything to find & secure a role over there.
The move to London has been quite stressful at times - trying to find a place to live while living over 100 miles away is not easy & mainly because of work messing up my salary & onboarding once I did secure a role & move up. I'm here now though, but as with Australia, I don't feel 100% settled as I know there is now a further step to work towards. If you read my Tweets you'll also see that my current living situation doesn't help matters either (more to do with who I'm living with than anything else).
So, hunting for a job in Finland ...... it's been difficult & after a year is still ongoing. When based in Poole, applications to Finland were tentative, now I'm on a mission & I spend a large part of the week trawling the internet for roles & applying for pretty much anything & everything.
There are a couple of fundamental problems with trying to find a job in Finland when you're not Finnish -
- The language. I've tried self-teaching via CDs, books, online etc, but where I don't ever get to practice it, a lot of it tends to go in one ear & out the other. I had hoped to enrol in a language course in London, but with my salary only slightly increasing & my basic cost of living rocketing it hasn't really been an option.
- Attitudes towards foreigners. All of the Finns I know & converse with are lovely people, but the country itself & it's mindset are quite "old school". Because of this there still seems a reluctance to hire foreigners (perpetuated by the current economic climate). I've chatted to quite a few expats over there as well as Finnish agencies & HR people, & the one thing I've been told more than any other is that as a Brit I'll struggle to find a job when so many Finns are also looking. By & large, Finnish companies would rather employ a slightly under-qualified Finnish person (who would take longer to learn the role etc), than employ a qualified/experienced Brit. I can kind of understand this to a certain extent - in a country with a small population you want to do your best for your fellow Finns & see your own people prosper ..... but this isn't always great business sense. It makes looking for a job, & ultimately securing one, that much harder for myself. But as we've come in to the new year & companies have new financial budgets & are especially looking at international revenue streams, I've had a bit more luck & it seems that some companies are wising up to this.
Since mid-December I've had a real interest from an agency (have completed a telephone interview, personality test, motivation test, practical problem-solving test, provided two references from colleagues - shout out to Ricky & Phil - & a final 30-odd question sheet). Another consulting company have also been in touch & I recently had an initial interview via Skype. I'm hoping to hear back from both in the next week or two. In the meantime I'll continue trawling through all the usual sites, applying for pretty much anything that I think I could do a decent job at - be that bar work, an office job, a Business Analyst, or HesBurger - whatever it takes & as long as it pays enough to cover my rent & let me look after & provide for my boy I don't really care!
So for now, the search continues. I'll be back on Monster etc tomorrow (in between writing the final two blogs, hopefully - maybe). Again, if anyone reads this & can offer any advice or contacts (whether it's work, places to live, anything really), please do feel free to get in touch - any info/help is always much appreciated. & a BIG 'thank you' to those that have offered advice/help so far!
Just on a final note, & to put a smile on my own face, here's the lil' man today - causing trouble, as he seems to be doing more often now.....
As usual, thanks for reading.