Sunday, 22 September 2013

Kiiress duunis töis (Busy working @ work)

There is one word in the finnish language, that surely exists in other languages too, but is not as much used. It is Arki (everyday - monday to friday). Arki means the time between monday and friday. There is a weekend between the Arkis. Arki is usually thought as a boring piece of obligatory time. In Finland, during the Arki, people are often at hurry and at work. You work on your career every single that you become something at some point.

I found an excellent article in Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. I wanted to copy it straight here but instead I will quote parts that I found especially finnish.

"The quality time of our generation, is work time - says Matti Kamppinen from University of Turku. Therefore it is common to boast how all your time is spent at work. This type of a person is prototype of a well off person in todays generation. The ideal person, is the one that has multiple projects and is still busy on dedicated free time. Being busy is better than not being busy at all."

When you meet someone in Australia you say: Hows it going? Usually you hear back: 1.  Pretty good, yourself? 2. Not too bad, yourself? 3. Very good, how are you?
If you really want to know how they are you ask: "what you been up to?"

At this point a finn would start talking about work, or kids. They seem to be the back bone of finnish life. If you don't talk about them, you talk about something else that keeps you busy and takes too much time in your life.You definitely do not tell that you don't really have much on the plate and you just enjoy life. A finn does not stop, but keeps on going. Your work is your life.

It is unbelievably hard to get australians to talk about their work. I have asked why this is so? Usually I hear: "Who cares, its just work!"

There is also a saying in Australia: "We work to live"

In Finland you can turn it around: "We live to work"

If in Finland the sign of a successful man is busyness and multiple projects in hand, in here it is free time and activities. If someone has a "cruzy job", where he just delegates work to others while maximising his own free time - he is well off! This person also goes on trips on weekends, goes camping with the family and spends a month long holidays in europe.

A person who hangs on the phone for most of the time is not appreciated and is very easily dropped out of the social circles.

"According to Kamppinen we enjoy being busy, because it gives life a heart beat: an ideal finnish person has a full calendar and his phone wont stop ringing. We all know people that always have time to stop and tell how busy they are. These prigs are playing that they are busy."

I have noticed in Australia and especially on the Gold Coast, how different the work life is compared to Finland. There is less 9-5 people and much, much more entrepreneurship. This means that there is more people that don't have work every day and people have a choice of shifting their workload. During the day time you can see many people having a coffee/beer, hanging on the beach and surfing the waves. All of them have a job. But it is not the priority number 1. They can shift the workload. And still, the world doesn’t  collapse.

When I first arrived I was wondering why on earth all the stores close at 5. In Finland no one would ever have time to go in them. In Australia there is always people in stores no matter what the time. On top of that you have late night shopping on thursdays and weekend shopping time.

"You should not waste your time, but what do you call waste?

My finnish friends often ask how I m doing here. I often tell them what I have been up to and usually that is watersport related. "How can you live without doing anything" they ask. I do go to work, but a maximum 20 h a week. "Don't you realise how much more you could make if you worked full time?!" Time is wasted I guess?

I enjoy my current situation. In Finland I used to be motivated by money, work and the things I could buy, because the pressure around me told so. The society also gave an image that if I save money and work hard I will achieve some magical point in life where you are perfect. However, no one ever talked about the journey to this point.

"A hurry is real, when someone’s house is on fire. Any other "hurry" is made up inside a mans head. Impatient people are never “consciously present” even if they physically are present. Their mind is already going somewhere else. Calm people are present, there and then."

I used to be in a hurry all the time and I loved it. The people around me admired how I could manage so many things at the same time. These comments felt good. 
Now I m not in a hurry anymore. I have time for things that you are supposed to do in Finland when you retire and have time.

I have my own basil, dill, chili and tomato growing on my balcony. I only use water. The plants will grow on their own pace.

"At least farmers understand that grass does not grow faster if you shout at it. The urban society does not understand how nature can slow their life down. How everything doesn't happen according to their schedule."

I also surf, which is very time consuming. Sometimes I have to wait for a wave for hours. And it still doesn't come. I often go home empty handed. It doesn't matter, as there is always more waves tomorrow.

In Finland I always speeded - because so did everyone else.In here I stick to the speed limit - because so does everyone else.I also have the patience to wait in line and I have not ran in an escalator.

Iltasanomat newspaper asked a 100 finnish celebrities how they are going to spend their summer:"In a hurry, from a gig to another" said singer Paula Koivuniemi"I don't have any free time, my calendar is fully booked." Said Teuvo Hakkarainen from the parliament house."I work 7 days a week" said writer Jörn Donner"I have work. I haven't had a holiday since the winter war" said Jethro Rostedt (real-estate agent)Only a few said that they are on holidays, but they also had projects: renovating (Matti Rönkä and Sami Hintsanen), Cleaning (Veltto Virtanen), Wood chopping (Juha Mieto) and laundry (Krista Lähteenmäki).

The hammock was definitely not invented in Finland. A finn calls his summer cottage a concentration camp - which it is. On top of that working people boast how much fun it is to work in summer when there are less people at work and things can be done quicker.



  1. Kuvastaa ehkä suomalaisten antamisen nihkeyttä että sun postausta jaetaan FB:ssä mutta kukaan ei tänne viitsi kirjoittaa että hyvin sanottu ;) Eli kiitos ajatuksia herättävästä kirjoituksesta, meillä olisi ausseilta paljon opittavaa. Myös minulla.