Tag Archives: life

Goodbye 2013

In January I started at a new company and I was very excited.

In February our second son was born.

In March I was focusing on work while our sons kept on growing.

In April I had my first business trip in the new job to Copenhagen

May was Vappu and merryment

In June I went again to Copenhagen

Unfortunately, in July I had to start looking for new professional challenges again but since everyone else was on holiday in Finland we traveled to Mallorca to relax a bit.

In August I was full-time focused in finding a new position

The same in September

But the kids always made it worth it

By October, I knew what was in our future

By the end of the month we were ready to move

And since the beginning of November, we have been living in Dubai

Where the work has been very interesting. World-class stuff in an encouraging environment surrounded by digital experts in their fields who also know how to have fun.

In December, we visited Finland for Christmas

All in all we can sum up 2013 like this:

Personally: wonderful.
Professionally: challenging, but ending on a good note.

Nokia devices and services is gone, time for new beginnings for all

Nokia headlines

My social media streams this morning can be summed up with two German words: schadenfreude & besserwisser. So long and thanks for all the fish, Nokia.

Hang on, those still in the mothership.

My feeds are still full of Nokia-related stuff, and just watched another news broadcast with the story front and centre. Even if towards the end of my tenure it was not great, I can’t do more than feel thankful for the chances, the responsibilities, the crazy projects, the friends all over the place, the first-row seat in a globalised technological business and the memories. Many have said that it was the best business school you could ever have, and I have read of a sense of loss not only in Finland but for the whole of Europe. That’s how important what we built was.

It was not just a workplace: we believed and changed the world. Eventually the world caught up, and they will have to reinvent themselves. I will cheer on Nokians past & present, and will continue cherishing what that experience gave me.

Job searching in uncertain times

Looking for a job in the current job market (especially in Europe) is a daunting prospect. As someone who recently went through the whole process, I wanted to share with you what I learned. Bulletpoints galore.

  • Learn how to write a CV either with the help of blogs, books, outplacement courses or personalised help. Make sure it clearly describes responsibilities and measurable results if possible and that it is easy to read for someone who is not an expert in your area of expertise (like most HR departments).
  • Use the web. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and that you know what does the system use when matching candidates and showing search results.
  • Use your networks, but don’t be annoying. Friends and acquaintances will naturally try to help you if they see a way to do so, don’t push it too much but give them the tools.
  • Have your elevator pitch ready.
  • If you don’t have a portfolio of projects you’ve done, make sure you create a compelling one!
  • Remember interviews go both ways so don’t take it as a life and death situation.  Interviewers smell (and are turned off by) desperation. You are also making sure you would like to join the interviewing company, so ask the questions that interest you and get a feel for the hiring manager/team. In time you will develop a “feel” for interviews.
  • Use all fact-finding tools at your disposal: company financial reports, LinkedIn profiles, Glassdoor…
  • Have a plan. Don’t succumb to despair, boredom or burnout.
  • If your life situation allows, widen your geographic scope: depending on your area of expertise there might be a place for you in Germany, Sweden, Singapore, the US, Brazil, Mexico, China, Finland…
  • Remember searching for a job is a full time job.
  • Evaluate your opportunities to freelance or become an entrepreneur.  That might also be a way to find a position you want by freelancing for that company first.
  • Remember the hidden job market.  Many, many positions aren’t advertised, get to those first through your network.
  • Relax every once in a while.  I know it is stressful, but wasting energy being stressed won’t help you.  As the Brits would have said in the event of a German invasion in World War II: “Keep calm and carry on”. 😉

Career planning in uncertain times

Career development
Related to the Me Mindmap for personal development, this is a simple model I’ve used to define what I want in my professional career and especially to evaluate job opportunities.  The weighting of each factor varies per person and also depending on what stage of your career you find yourself at, but at least those are the three main things to keep in mind.

  1. Tasks and expertise: Usually the only thing a job description will contain.  If you don’t like your job or you are not particularly good at it, you will not enjoy it.  Standard stuff.
  2. Team and environment: Depending on the job and the person this might be more or less important. As I am a very sociable person and I have seen what a noxious work environment does to you eventually, I tend to value this quite highly.
  3. Future development and match with own life plans: As said, not everybody wants to “go up in the organization ” (or would be good at it), so your position needs to match that.If there is an area of expertise you want to develop, make sure you can do so in/with your job.

The interesting part is then really listing all the possible influence factors for these three areas and then assigning priorities for each. While it sounds straightforward, it should help you understand what are the things you value professionally to make sure you are happy and perform in what you do.

TV for a multicultural toddler

Supposedly you shouldn’t expose small children to the evils of television, but we’ve been doing that in small doses. Programmes like Plaza Sésamo, Pikku Kakkonen, Mr Bloom’s Nursery and the Numtums seem to be our son’s favourites.

He’s so active that I don’t need to worry about him “getting sucked in” as he can only concentrate in 10 minute intervals and plays a lot in the house. I just want to make sure he gets as much exposure as possible to the three languages that are the most important for him. Furthermore, I prefer these programmes than, say, Nickelodeon, as they don’t feel so annoyingly commercial.

Apps and games for toddlers

There’s something about technology that tends to attract small kids if they are exposed to it.  Our son obviously notices that there’s smartphones, iPads and computers in the house and wants to use what we use.

Since nowadays all these technologies are touchscreen-based, operating them is a breeze: no more hard buttons to press, no more long times to wait, things just happen.  Therefore, we have felt quite comfortable with our toddler using the devices.  His favourite games and apps below.

GigglePad (Windows phone): Our lifesaver when our son started crying like a madman at night when he was 9 months old.  Tapping shapes, play phone and baby piano with a soothing voice and a couple of lullabyes.

Kapu Forest (iOS): Finnish-developed “toy” with little mini-games, a Jazz soundtrack and beautifully illustrated characters and settings. A must have if you let your toddler touch your iPad.

Miny Moe Car (iOS): Different mini-games related to an old 50’s car. Change the lightbulb, fill the tank, repair a tyre and take it for a ride. The two characters also make cute sounds when pressed, which is probably the most fun for a small kid.

Toca Doctor (iOS): Swedish developer Toca Boca has released a series of beautiful-looking games with no in-app purchases allowed. Repairing bones and getting rid of ticks was never so much fun.

Goodnight Safari (iOS): Beautiful e-book for going to bed. Just make sure your toddler knows to select the “read to me” option.

Word of warning: just like with TV or candies, make sure you set strict limits on how much they play at a time and overall. Thankfully ours is quite active so it’s not too much of a problem.