I got my first permanent job while I was still studying. 28 years later, still working for the same company I decided to leave. I did not change company – I never even thought about it – because I moved from one interesting job to another. It was a pioneering journey, it was learning by doing, constantly challenging yourself and your doings. The company was full of smart people with a ‘let’s do it’ mentality. It was a start-up long before start-ups.
Over the years the company changed, it was no longer the company I had joined. The final point was when they started offering exit packaged to employees with more than 15 years of employment – they called it a Renewal package.
I knew I was not wanted anymore, took the package and left.
First I wanted to have a break, to take care of myself, which I had neglected for years, and do things I never had had time to do. I started exercising, I attended a creative writing weekend, I devoted myself to gardening – my garden must have been surprised at such intensive care all of a sudden.
In the future I wanted to do something different, to look at the world through a different pair of glasses. My view had long been through the eyes of an international technology corporation. I wanted a larger picture of the world and the society around us. But I did not yet know what that “something else” was.
I studied social sciences at the university. I started volunteering in non-profits and learn about social enterprises, social impact and shared value. This opened up a completely new world to me. I met people I would never have met in my old circles and learned things I had no idea existed.
All this time I looked and applied for jobs both profit and non-profit – very selectively though, because the number of companies I wanted to work for was not large. This was also something I had to relearn – last time I applied for a job was years and years ago. And I soon found out that job hunting is not one of my favourites, I do not like pushing myself onto the market by listing and formulating my competences and skills, guessing what the employer really prefers.
I was not lucky, nobody wanted me. I heard that if you are over 45 you are not considered.
When I met my friend and colleague Tuija we often discussed about work, how to find work and what work will be in the future. When Tuija told about her Grownups for Startups project I was convinced– the thinking around the future of work, the start-up attitude and the idea encouraging other grownups hit me in the head. I realized that I have had the luxury of enjoying a lifelong career in one single corporate.
This is something I will not have in the future – nor will many other, either. But this new world of work will open up completely new opportunities. I have a huge opportunity to pick and choose: do projects, develop new skills, do as much as I prefer.
Learnings I’d like to share:
• Try things, do things you’ve not done before.
• Learn by doing. Volunteering is a good way to learn new tools and test what you like and what you dislike. And you will find new friends and colleagues
• Make your own decisions.This is about your life – not your friends’, not your husband’s or wife’s, not your coaches life.
Tuula Angervuo, Helsinki