Americans finding work in Finland

Useful advice on jobs, careers and entrepreneurship in Finland. Find job postings, job information, work permits and more.
hypocrisy
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Americans finding work in Finland

Post by hypocrisy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:53 am

How difficult is it for an American to find employment in Finland? I have alot of experience in the grocery/warehouse industry.



Americans finding work in Finland

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raamv
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by raamv » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:58 am

Very VERY!! difficult..if you cannot speak Finnish!!
Especially if you are in the grocery/warehouse industry as you need to know where to stock which item and every one of those items are in Finnish/Swedish!!
and in the warehouse, you dont find any signs in English!!
and it doesnt matter if you are American or Armenian!!
So can you rephrase your question with more details please..
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hypocrisy
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by hypocrisy » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:23 am

My wife is from Oulu,and we have been discussing moving back there.We are both in North Carolina now.Being American,I just wanted to find out if I have a chance to find a good job.Im willing to learn the language,and am willing to work any type job to make it.Here in NC I have been working in Inventory Control in a warehouse for a major grocery retailer for the past ten years.I also have fork lift experience . Just want a shot at making a decent living.


AldenG
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by AldenG » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:56 am

Four years of study is considered unusually quick to learn enough Finnish to have real-world conversations with people who don't speak English. It takes dedication and aptitude, and a majority of Americans in Finland never reach a conversational point in Finnish. Those who do reach such a point usually take more than four years to get there. The state-sponsored Finnish-for-foreigners classes are not very effective, according to a recent independent evaluation of them. If you're going to learn the language, that's going to be largely your own initiative. And I mention four years just to put a frame of reference around a best-case scenario. Very few Americans achieve that best case.

The people who move in and get jobs quickly where they can function in English are mostly in specialists in Information Technology, consultants in international business, or executives in global corporations.

Having said that, I did see an American doing park maintenance in a Finnish city one time. He was talking to his co-worker in English. The co-worker looked Finnish but I didn't hear what he was saying so I don't know for sure. I don't know if the American also understood and spoke Finnish.

There are assimilation programs, assimilation courses, and assimilation subsidies available but I don't know what kind of delay there may be in getting enrolled. Looking back over earlier posts in the Moving To Finland forum you can see earlier people's experiences. You and your wife need to understand this will be a huge stress on your relationship. Some things will get simpler for her, moving back home, but many more things will get harder for the two of you. That's not to say you can't do it, survive it, and eventually enjoy it. In fact, some worries like health care and retirement will fall from your shoulders. And even a bad living in Finland is a decent living by American standards. Finland lacks the extremes of wealth and poverty you find in the US.

But on the whole, it will take a strong relationship and a strong commitment to permanent change to make a go of a relocation to Finland. To start with, you are probably looking at several years of un- and under-employment. The burden of breadwinner will fall almost completely on your wife's shoulders during that time.
Last edited by AldenG on Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


AldenG
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by AldenG » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:09 am

P.S. If the move is an attempt to fix problems in the marriage or in your wife's well-being, as is commonly the case, you really should grab those issues by the horns BEFORE moving back to Finland. The Finn is often (usually?) surprised to realize too late that simply moving back to Finland did not solve problems the way he or she thought. In fact, the problems often get worse. And your resources for couples counseling will be far more restricted in Finland. Just the fact that it needs to happen in English is a bigger hurdle than you expect. Just because a counselor knows English well enough to study the English books they had in school, travel abroad, and attend conferences does not at all mean they feel conversant enough in it to provide therapy in the language. Earlier posters in this Forum have talked about great difficulties finding couples counseling in English even in the Helsinki region, not to mention a place like Oulu.

Finland is a beautiful country with lots of interesting custom, tradition, art, nature, etc... But it's not like merely living somewhere else and speaking a different language. Moving here will be the biggest change in your life -- a much bigger change than getting married was, for instance. Almost everything you can imagine will be different, and a lot that you can't yet imagine. Different is not bad in itself. But you have to be prepared to embrace the new without falling into homesickness for the old.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


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rinso
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by rinso » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:13 am

I just wanted to find out if I have a chance to find a good job
you'll be very lucky to find any job at all.


ajl
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by ajl » Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:02 am

some other observations via my spouse who lived for over 20 years away from Finland, having left just after
completing his service and went to university in the US... He's noted the language changed (not just various
references, but a lot of new things have been incorporated), he hadn't lived a long time as an independant
adult in Finland so his understanding of certain things is just not there (so when I ask, how is X done here,
he sometimes has no idea), and it is a REAL hassle to do things your spouse previously did in the US - so really
consider what things you both do and have your wife think about the likely probability that she will have to take
over most of what you do now for varying amounts of time as you acclimate to the culture (big form of the
stress to the relationship is that, by itself moving is stressful & learning a language can be stressful but
the stresses are not additive, they are multiplicative).
moving is in the bad <-> crazy continuum


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mrjimsfc
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by mrjimsfc » Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:21 pm

The posts by ajl and AldenG are so absolutely true that they should be "required reading" for any (not just Americans) person desiring to move to Finland!
Socialism has never managed to create anything beyond corpses, poverty and oppression.


AldenG
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by AldenG » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:31 pm

rinso wrote:
I just wanted to find out if I have a chance to find a good job
you'll be very lucky to find any job at all.
In fact, at this point in the economic cycle, even your wife will be lucky to find any job at all.

A few years from now would be a much better time, if the Finnish economy and employment situation have recovered by then. That assumes you are ready to approach the venture with boundless energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm for learning about Finland. Anything less will end in sorrow. Think hard about the idiom "pull up roots." You have a job, you have friends, you have cultural sources that sustain you. You'll be abandoning all of those, and all your support in a stressful transition will have to come from each other and from family in Finland.

It's doable with determination. But now is the worst of times to try.
As he persisted, I was obliged to tootle him gently at first and then, seeing no improvement, to trumpet him vigorously with my horn.


mita
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by mita » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:09 am

you could consider studying in university here if you don't have a degree yet.
Have a nice day!


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raamv
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by raamv » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:42 am

mita wrote:you could consider studying in university here if you don't have a degree yet.
Problem is that it then becomes a 1 income family..and might be cumbersome..
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Jason Wright
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by Jason Wright » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:43 pm

hypocrisy wrote:How difficult is it for an American to find employment in Finland? I have alot of experience in the grocery/warehouse industry.
Don't mind the pessimism on this board! Anything is possible with the right attitude. I'm an American that has been here since 2000 and there ARE jobs if you're resourceful.

Send me a message via http://www.nivial.com or http://www.jcicosmopolis.fi

Best,

Jason


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Pursuivant
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:49 pm

The niche jobs of screwing people selling snake oil as a clean-shaven yankee are mostly taken tho, and the mormons run on free missionary power.
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


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Jason Wright
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by Jason Wright » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:52 pm

raamv wrote:Very VERY!! difficult..if you cannot speak Finnish!!
Especially if you are in the grocery/warehouse industry as you need to know where to stock which item and every one of those items are in Finnish/Swedish!!
and in the warehouse, you dont find any signs in English!!
and it doesnt matter if you are American or Armenian!!
So can you rephrase your question with more details please..
Do you have first hand experience working with logistics in Finland? I have several friends who work for Kesko in their warehouses - and guess what, they don't speak Finnish or Swedish!

So it's NOT always a requirement to speak Finnish/Swedish to get a job in Finland - but I'd advise learning ASAP!

Jason


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Pursuivant
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Re: Americans finding work in Finland

Post by Pursuivant » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:57 pm

Language requirement depends on how high you are in the food chain... or if you occupy a niche...
"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes."


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