No longer Norway bound.

The last 7 days have been some of the most stressful I've ever had. In my quest to do the right thing, for the right reasons, I made a choice & committed to a new chapter in my life. But, this week, I had to pull the plug on it & go back on some really important & key life decisions. A few weeks ago I posted that I had been offered a job in Oslo & that I would be moving there within 4-5 weeks. I bought back a contract with me & the opportunity to move to a new company & country. Since then, two people key in my move let me down & it was becoming an expensive & unrealistic thing to do.

Firstly, I was meant to be moving in with a fellow Brit over there (a friend of a friend). I met her when I went over & looked at the flat. She offered it to me there & seemed keen. I confirmed to her a few days later that I had handed my notice in & when I'd be over. Nothing. Through the magic of modern technology (Facebook Messenger) I could see that she'd seen/read the message, but she was going away a few days after, so I thought I'd leave it until after that. Still nothing. I sent a follow-up iMessage after I knew she'd got back (as she was posting on FB), just asking if she'd got my last message & if we were still on. Still nothing. I started looking for a back-up option, but the rental market in Oslo is pretty abysmal. Everywhere I looked at wanted a 3-6 month deposit, & every person I spoke to said they'd only even consider me if they could meet me in person before. Kind of understandable, but I was not in a position where I just go over to 'interview' for a room! It was all money & time I didn't/don't have!

Secondly, the company I was going to be working for were 'slack' to say the least. During the interview process they were really slow coming back to my emails & even didn't turn up for one after I'd taken the day off work & they'd already pushed it 3 times that day. When I returned I reviewed the offer & did some more sums. The offer was good, but I really didn't feel it represented what I was bringing to the company, so I emailed them back asking if this was open to negotiation. I clearly & concisely (unlike me) stated my reasons & what I thought would be a suitable salary for someone in my position & with my background. I sat back & waited for a reply. Nothing. I reasoned that I was emailing the CEO of a rapidly growing company who were about to sign a new, big deal, as well as move offices, so I thought I'd give them a bit more time. Over a week passed, so I sent another follow-up email. Still nothing.

Last Sunday I spent the day doing further research & started to realise that without these replies, I wasn't going to be able to move. I was reliant on a person for somewhere to live without a massive deposit, & was reliant on the company coming back to me to tell me what they could do about the salary (if anything) - I at least needed to know where I stood. I reasoned that I would give both of them a deadline of midday Wednesday to get back to me & in the meantime I would continue to try & get hold of them & look at back-up plans. As I mulled this over in my head during the night I decided that I had already waited too long for a reply from them & enough was enough. I was going to give them up until I reached my hotel in Birmingham on Monday (around 1pm). That night I probably got about an hours sleep. The train journey up to Birmingham on Monday was horrendous. I was going over all the scenarios in my head, worrying, stressing - all while having had no sleep & feeling like a zombie.

I got to my hotel room on time & took 10 minutes to sit down & compose myself & just relax. I knew I had nothing, but I checked my emails in a final act of hope/desperation. As expected, still nothing. I rang our HR area to get some advice on the process of retracting my resignation. From the HR person it seemed pretty straight forward - it just needed to be agreed with my line manager & they could then just log in to the Manager's Online Tool & delete my Exit that had been logged.

Obviously, in practice & in business, nothing is that easy.

I called my boss when I got to the office & explained the situation & what I wanted to happen. The response I got wasn't what I had hoped for. "Sorry, Steve. We've already offered roles to other people that have bench-marked for your grade/role. I'll have to take this away & see what we can do."

Another day & night of panic & stress ensued - the realisation that if I couldn't get my resignation retracted, I could be unemployed within 2 weeks time.

The following day I got the news I had been hoping for - they had sorted everything out & that my resignation could be retracted. Obviously, it was made out to be a bigger deal than it was (logistically), but it gave work the opportunity to give me a lecture/kick up the ass/interrogation, but I was happy to go through all this just to confirm I still had a job!

Since then I've had limited time to sit back, take stock, & think about things & make any kind of plan. All I know is that this is yet another experience I have learnt from & can take something away from it. I know that my heart really is in Finland, & after I get my head down over the next few months, I'm going to concentrate on getting myself to Helsinki. Even the ex had some kind words today about the whole situation, which was a nice & welcome relief - she has her moments! ;-)

Finland - It will happen one day. I will make it happen. I has to happen.

And as usual, thanks to all those that have supported & had kind words to say. & especially thanks to Holly & James for 1. listening to my random rants/stories when I'm actually here, & 2. for housing me & being so understanding/flexible about the situation. I'd be even more of a mess if I didn't have somewhere decent to come back to at the end of each week of working away!

Norway bound (not quite Finland, but that bit closer)..

So over the last couple of months I've been in touch with a company in Norway about a potential job there, & last week I was formally offered a permanent contract. I was originally applying for roles in Finland, & it wasn't until the person handling the recruitment contacted me about an interview that I realised the role was actually based in Oslo. But I thought there was no harm in filling it through & seeing how things progress - even if it didn't really go anywhere, it would be good experience interviewing with a Scandinavian company etc.

A telephone & Skype interview with the CEO followed & all seemed to go very well. At the end of the Skype interview the CEO said that they wanted to offer me a role, but first they wanted to meet me in person. They organised for me to fly out to Oslo a few weeks later & very kindly covered my flights & hotel costs. It was a flying visit - there & back in 24 hours - but went very well. I spent the day with the CEO & some of the other staff (including a fellow Brit - I think there are 3 or 4 at the company), & at the end of the day had a contract put in front of me. I'm currently trying to negotiate the salary (no harm in trying/asking), but yesterday handed in my notice to my current employers. Since doing that it all seems very real, very quickly.

During my visit I got to spend a few hours in the city. I've been told & read a billion time how expensive Norway is, but it really was. I may have to knock the booze on the head once I move! I paid £25 for a salad & beer at the hotel, & then paid approx £11 per beer at a bar/restaurant in the city centre. Despite that, it looks like a really lovely city. I enjoyed my brief wander around & couple of hours spent people watching. I have to also say that everyone was so friendly & keen to offer help/advice if I asked a question. I even had 3 different people ask me for info, & when I replied that I didn't speak Norwegian they switched to English & were still keen to speak to me & ask me about my visit & what I was up to.

So Norway isn't quite Finland (re: pretty much every previous blog of mine), but to me it's a step in the right direction & a great opportunity. It ticks a host of boxes, both personally & professionally. Being in Norway means easier/quick access to Finland. The airport is 20 minutes from the city centre & cheap flights are standard with Norwegian. It will mean my 8-9 hour door-to-door trip will now take just 3-4 hours & flights will be half the price of what I pay now. Professionally, this is also a good career step for myself. It takes me away from the operational/change BA roles that I've done throughout my career, & takes me in to a new area - software/business development & the more technical areas around this. This stands me in good stead for then applying for roles in Finland further down the line, as from what I've seen in my 2-odd years of job hunting there, there is a lot more emphasis on technical knowledge as opposed to business/operational knowledge (rightly or wrongly).

So, having handed in my notice yesterday, it looks as if I'll be moving pretty much 4 weeks today. The next 4 weeks are going to be hectic - current work commitments will keep me busy anyway, but I also now have to spend time researching various Norway-related things & sorting out all of my personal belongings & what I'm going to take/leave/get shipped over. I hope that I've already got somewhere to live sorted (with a friend of a friend who's based there), so that should hopefully make life a lot easier, but there's still all the admin-type stuff to do once I get there - register at a police station, sort out my ID/tax number thing, open a bank account, etc, & then trying to work out how I get to/from the office on a daily basis & in a timely manner! YIKES!

I'll hopefully post again before I go, but otherwise it'll definitely be when I get there & get settled. Until then, much love, & speak to you from Scandinavia!