Story 3: As an Entrepreneur, I Can Make an Impact
This story describes one perspective on how highly skilled internationals experience working and living in Finland. It is based on an analysis of interviews with 62 internationals, combining the experiences, feelings, and thoughts shared by many of them. Read more about how the story was constructed here and check out the rest of the stories here.
Story 3: As an Entrepreneur, I Can Make an Impact
I originally came to Finland for personal reasons and decided to stay. For me, Finland seemed as good as any other country, and I was willing to give it a shot to build a life here. After all, why not? I have always believed that with hard work and dedication, one can succeed anywhere.
When I arrived in Finland, I had already built a career, so I expected my experience to be valuable here. I had heard that Finland was in great need of international talent, which made it even more surprising when I struggled to find a job.
Despite sending out numerous applications, first within my field and later beyond, I received minimal response, which was disheartening. I had a university degree, sought-after skills and top-tier experience, yet it seemed that none of these factors made a difference.
I was told that networking was crucial in Finland to discover hidden job opportunities, but I couldn’t understand why jobs were hidden or how to access those networks. Despite my best efforts, I struggled to break into the right circles and gain access to job opportunities.
Prompted by these experiences, I found myself questioning my abilities and contemplating the necessary steps to secure employment. I resorted to taking on odd jobs, but even these opportunities proved challenging to obtain. I began feeling inadequate and believed that my work skills were not valued in Finland.
The sense of uselessness weighed heavily on me. How could I contribute to society if I couldn’t find suitable employment? The ongoing stress started to affect my physical health, leading to a loss of appetite, while mentally, I struggled to find motivation even to get out of bed at times.
Even when I hit rock bottom, I was resilient and refused to give up. I knew I was adaptable and had an inclination for exploring new opportunities and self-improvement. Seeking guidance and support, I joined several social media groups where I engaged with other international talents who had encountered similar challenges in their job searches.
The sense of uselessness weighed heavily on me. How could I contribute to society if I couldn’t find suitable employment?
Inspired by these discussions and the support from fellow internationals, I made the decision to pursue a career change and dive into the world of entrepreneurship. Teaming up with a few other talented individuals, we established our own company.
As I soon discovered, establishing and operating a business in Finland is relatively straightforward. We were pleasantly surprised to receive financial support for our startup, which was greatly appreciated.
However, a notable challenge we encountered was the fact that company-related bureaucracy primarily operates in Finnish. This necessitates having a native Finnish speaker in the company to ensure compliance with legal requirements, such as regarding tax matters.
Starting a new business always carries some degree of risk, and we have faced our fair share of challenges. Fortunately, I have been able to leverage my previous contacts to secure customers, and I believe we have a promising future ahead.
Reflecting on my career journey in Finland, I echo the sentiments of many other internationals. I have noticed a disparity between the way Finland is marketed abroad and the reality of living and working, or attempting to work, in the country. Promises made to interested talents often result in disappointment when they experience the challenges of life in Finland.
Additionally, I feel that Finnish companies overlook the potential innovativeness and dynamism that international talents can bring to the table. Also, employers often fail to grasp the cultural adjustments internationals must make in the Finnish working environment. Integration is a mutual effort, and both parties should be motivated to seek common ground in the process.
Significant changes are needed to improve the position of international talents in the Finnish labor market. I am eager to contribute to this transformation, and for me, entrepreneurship is the best way to do so.
I understand that entrepreneurship is not a suitable path for every international, but for me, it offered an alternative means of finding employment and my place in the society.
I am grateful to be in a position where I can now assist other internationals. Many seek my advice on starting a company, building networks, and navigating life in Finland in general, and I gladly offer guidance based on my knowledge and experiences. Additionally, our company has been able to hire several internationals, and I hope to continue doing so in the future.
Becoming an entrepreneur has been a life changer for me, providing a renewed sense of self-worth and the freedom to take action. I understand that entrepreneurship is not a suitable path for every international, considering also that it involves willingness to take personal risks. But for me, it offered an alternative means of finding employment and finding my place within Finnish society.
I enjoy my life in Finland now. I feel like I finally belong, and I intend to stay.
Does this story resonate with your own experiences or those of people you know? Did it surprise you in any way? Leave a comment below or engage with us on LinkedIn and Twitter! Check out the other four stories here, too.