I was career orientated back in Slovakia. Always having 2 jobs, continuously studying and having clear aims how my work-related future would look like. But then we moved to Finland and everything was suddenly completely different…
To cut the long story short – I had some small paid part-time jobs at the beginning of my job search journey in Finland in the NGO that I had known before we actually moved into Finland. Alongside I was trying to study the language and preparing myself for the job search.
Things such as my university diploma recognition, which I hoped to be easy-peasy turn to be one of the many obstacles. I remember, how my professors encouraged us like, yah, now you all will have the European diploma, which is valid in the whole European Union… Well, they had apparently never heard about Valvira 🙂 BTW, I applied for another Master degree program because it is easier and cheaper to study again and to have a Finnish diploma.
My language studies have ups and downs. It goes hand in hand with the fact, that when I see job ads with demands such as “native level of Finnish required” I am completely demotivated. The majority of us have decent English language skills, but I would never say I am on the level of an English native speaker because I am clearly not. And I will neither be on the level of a Finnish native speaker. So I am sometimes asking myself, why to even bother with Finnish if I never meet the wanted requirements on the labour market?
During my job search period (more than 2 years long) I lost my hope this year in May… I was burned out and ready to give up. My unemployment shook not only with my self-esteem but also with the basis of my marriage and turn all my ideas about my own fulfilment and independence into ash. And then, out of blue, my friend wrote to me: “Lubi, if you want, send me your CV. My friend works in the NGO and her boss would like to hire some foreigners into the team.” I managed to send the CV but I didn’t really expect anything… And guess what? I am employed again after many years of trying to find my path in Finland.
Did any of the workshops on how to write a better CV help? Not really. Did the network help? Yes to some extend. Did the language skills matter? Not really. Did my education matter (or the lack of the officially recognised education)? Not at all.
The fact, that I am employed again is the result of a completely different process… Process, that had begun as the idea of a Finnish manager to hire people who might not speak the language, but might bring something completely different and beneficial to the team and organisation. And this is exactly the process I hadn’t any power to control. Thanks to someone else’s open-mindedness I was given a chance… And not only I was given a chance, but the whole process was somewhat different. My nowadays directors didn’t hire me for a particular open position, where I would have to meet all the needed requirements. On the contrary, they listened to me and wanted to know what is already my expertise and we plan my tasks accordingly. They wanted me because they believed I was good for them as I was. After many years of questioning myself and losing hope, the feeling that someone trusts you and sees your potential is unspeakable empowering.
No one can say at the moment if our match will be successful. But I already know I will never forget this opportunity. We have time to test each other and search for the best possible cooperation. Hopefully, we will make it. Because being the only foreigner in the Finnish team can turn both sides… Anyway, I feel the other foreigners that might come after me can be judged by my example. Better if it is a successful one.