When I moved to Helsinki I was on a quest to change my life. I left behind the land where I grew up in and a career in psychiatry that had drained me. I wanted change and my beautiful Finnish girlfriend offered that in the way of providing me of a new home.
I had saved as much money as I could and made a leap of faith. Not only did I wanted to change career my diploma is not valid in Finland anyway. So I set off, as so many before me, to find work since the rent needed to be paid and food needs to be on the table.
CV’s where written with accompanying cover letters and I scoured the internet for work. Since I did (and do) not speak any Finnish it was hard to find options besides a Mexican restaurant and cleaning. Very quickly I noticed that this would not cut it. It is no longer as it was with my parents generation that making a CV was enough. I needed a different strategy.
At that time I had found the institute of Luckan. At Luckan they provide you with a space (or living room) from where you can integrate. They also offer workshops to help you find your place in the work market in Helsinki. As I was sitting there I made a decision. I would teach myself for two months on how to find work. During this time I would not look for work, only learn.
So I set out to collect data, read books, watched hours and hours of Youtube, attended workshops and practiced what I had found. All of this I put in a file I called ‘Joppe’s Plan to Happiness. I followed my own findings and advice that I found and one thing kept popping up, you should network. Network this, network that and it became a big part of my strategy.
Through this strategy I eventually got hired by the company where I now work as the Chief Of Happiness. I was ecstatic when I had a job since it meant I could stay Finland and I went to tell the people of Luckan and they were very happy for me.
Only a few months later the people of Luckan asked me if I could and come tell my story to the next generation of expats at the peer support group. Not simply wanting to motivate but give practical tips I presented them with parts of my ‘Joppe’s Plan To Happiness’ and my very first workshop on networking was born.
Back then I did I did not give it a lot of thought nor did I think I could ask money for it. But every few months they kept asking me back, then a panel, than other institutions started asking me to do the workshop and finally Haaga-Helia bought two workshops. Only then did I realize that there was and is a need for this type of workshops. I started to develop different workshops on communication. Non Violent communication, Experience How to Listen and team building to name a few.
This whole process took 4 years and only two weeks ago I created a website and bought business cards since I never would have thought four years ago that what i had to offer could make a difference.