'Put in the effort to know what your firm wants'
Published on: 16 Dec 2013 11:35 CET
1) Where are you located and what do you do?
I’m a Finn who just moved to Berlin with my family after five years in Massachusetts, US. I work for HERE which is a Nokia business creating maps and location services for consumers, automotive and enterprises. I’m heading a team responsible for Map Services.
2) What brought you to Germany and how long have you been here?
We moved to Berlin in August, the primary motivation being the job opportunity. I’m really excited about new location services for all kinds of mobile devices and our HERE team in Berlin is amazing. Moving from the US was an opportunity to get a bit closer to our friends and families in Finland. The move was made easier by the fact I've been travelling to Berlin a lot and had the chance to bring my wife here for a weekend beforehand.
3) How did you land your job and do you have tips for anyone seeking similar work?
I started as a software engineer trainee in Nokia in 1995. HERE is a Nokia-owned business, so I consider myself lucky to have had a long, rewarding career within a single company. I've had many types of jobs in several countries over the years.
My tip for anyone pursuing a particular company or job is to put in the effort to get to know it well. In the end, it’s about who can best help the company with what it is hiring for. Knowing the context helps you to position yourself well and also shows you’re motivated and proactive.
4) Is it important for you to be able to speak German in your position?
Not really. Our working language is English, we operate globally and actually have tens of different nationalities in the office in Berlin. I need German skills more outside my work. I’m determined to expand my German further from basic level, restaurant vocabulary. The learning curve looks steep but I've studied Swedish at school and hope that will help at least a bit.
5) What are the best and worst parts about working in Germany?
I appreciate certain directness people have, even though it sometimes may appear negative. Work ethics are strong and after some time in the US I recognize stronger cultural similarities between Germany and Finland than I thought earlier. I also like that there are more holidays and that people actually use them.
As a city, I really like Berlin, it has certain edge and it’s somehow both beautiful and ugly at the same time. I feel we’re still getting to know each other though. If I have to identify one thing that bugs me it’s all the construction work in particular in Mitte. Even taxis don’t seem to know what road is closed today.
6) Do you plan on staying?
We went to the US for a year and ended up staying five years. I’ve learned not to try to plan that particular aspect of life too hard. Our long-term plan is to return to Finland but I’m not looking forward to moving again anytime soon. The opportunity to work in different countries is a real privilege but the process of leaving, moving and getting life on track again is not something I can put my family through too often.
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