When You Don’t Get What You Want (Like A Job)

I really like my job. I work in tech, I drive innovation, I change things for the better. I see the results of what I do. My customers come from the industry probably the most on fire for this change, not to find themselves out of business tomorrow. I work for a multi-area, I travel a lot, I meet great people. Colleagues, customers and partners.

Yet a few months ago I applied for another job. As it has always been the case with me, I was not looking for one. However, a position in Western Europe (another multi-area) has opened up for exactly the same role, and I saw it as a great opportunity. I would work with customers and partners at a different maturity stage, I would have new challenges, I would learn from new brilliant people. And it would strike my passion of geographies: I would reconnect with the Nordics and get to know new cultures. It just felt right, 101%. From the moment I learnt about this role, I knew I should go for it.

So I did. I thought that my interviews went well, but then learnt that the hiring manager changed his search criteria and was now looking for a different profile. That happens.

It does feel bad not to get what you want, for sure. Especially if you are generally used to winning. Winning most of the times makes good salesmen, entrepreneurs and other risk takers. It also does make bad losers. It stings not to get what you want. Especially when you are 101% sure that’s the right thing.

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Why I Love Working in Tech

I keep this blog to remind myself that life does not boil down to a job no matter how much you enjoy what you do. So I write about my travels, happiness hacks, my attempts on photography and almost never about work. However, I was reflecting a lot recently on what I do and where I want to get, and I have tapped myself on a back (as much as it is technically possible to tap oneself on a back) for having chosen the most amazing industry to work in. So here is why I love tech.

Level playing field. No need for the bar exam. No need for an MBA. No industry elite. You should just be good at what you do and be passionate about it. Some of the best coders (and CEOs of unicorns, the most valued startups of the Silicon Valley) are school dropouts. Steve Jobs was a school dropout. So were Bill Gates and Larry Ellison (the founder of Oracle and, in case it does not ring a bell, the world’s third richest man at some point). What is common about people in tech though, they are smart. Some academically smart, some consultant-smart, hyper tech savvy and some just know how to market and sell. You learn a lot from them, every day.

Great if you can code. If you can’t, there is still plenty for you to do. Caveat to the point above (and a personal example): it sure does help to have an MBA to get in. However, that means that what you are good at is connecting the moving parts of an ever shifting puzzle. That’s by far not the only thing you can do in tech. It is not even the key part. You can love Sales, Marketing (and I am not even talking digital!), HR, Business Development – and do great stuff in tech.

Never boring, always changing. Nothing is what it used to be half a year ago. Business plans are scrapped after several months, projects get 360 degrees makeover in the middle. Small experimental projects catapult to new business. It is exciting and it is life. Some people call it ambiguity (which to some extent is fair). I just love the pace. And you do learn a lot managing all this complexity to reach your goals, as well.

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Chapter I: Finland

The question I get almost every time I list the countries I lived in is whether it was for work or study. A close favorite one is whether my parents are diplomats (for a check, my parents are scientists). I then say that, in fact, behind most countries on my list there is a school or a job but it is misleading. In reality, my thirst for places has always been much stronger than my thirst for knowledge. I fall in love with cities, cultures, experiences much more than I do with educational institutions. Every time I plunge into a different culture, it expands my reach, I learn something about myself, some new little way of being, and I am constantly amazed by it (even now, after almost a decade of plunging). I believe that travelling – with your heart, absorbing culture and values as well as monuments and food – is the best thing that can happen to anyone. After love.

My story with geography starts in Finland. From the places I lived in, about some I think as cities, and of some as countries. My experience in Finland has always been about the country, even though all the five years I stayed in Helsinki (with some occasional enchanting trips to Porvoo and some job trips, if a 20 something min commute can be called a trip, to Espoo). Staying for five years is an exaggeration, but facts first.

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