Last week I started preparing today’s blog post. I contacted few people within Metso and luckily 3 of them got back to me and wrote a little summary regarding their experiences of working abroad. Actually we have a pretty cool group together here; Anniina Leppänen has been working with Metso in Ireland and China, Juha Kivelä is writing from Qatar and Juha Yli-Petäys tells about his 2 years working period in Brazil. It’s a nice coincident they have experiences from such different countries, which makes you realize how international company Metso really is and what kind of opportunities it can offer for its employees.
Because I love to read “real life” stories and it is great that these people arrange time to write their stories down, I decided to publish them one by one during the end of the week so all of them have their time in the limelight. So lets give the stage for the first one of the week and of course, ladies first!
I have been working in Metso for almost 8 years now. I started in Metso Mining and Constructions as an intern in 2005 and I moved to Metso Automation in 2008. I have always been interested in working abroad and travelling, in fact before I even joined Metso I had already lived abroad a few years. My managers always knew I was interested in opportunities of going abroad, learning more and having new challenges and in 2007 that opportunity arose when Metso Mining and Construction hired me to work as a Customer and service administrator for the Irish market in Dublin, Ireland. The country and the city was already very familiar place to me as I had been living there before for a couple of years.
I enjoyed my job in Ireland. I gained good insight of working at the customer end dealing with quarry and mining customers and learned a lot about the business and the products. While working in Metso in Ireland I guess the biggest culture shock for me was that my manager and service engineers were always on the road so I pretty much worked alone in the office. Another challenge was to learn the wear and spare parts and the related drawings as an order handler in a sales unit has to have good knowledge of supplied parts.
The second time I had an opportunity to move abroad came while working in Metso Automation GBI (Global Business Information) Project. We had just started a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation in Shanghai when we were informed that we’d have an opportunity to move there for the duration of the project. I must say at first I had to think about it as I had never traveled to China before but once we started the implementation and had visited Shanghai couple of times it was clear I would move to Shanghai.
Working in China was enticing. The culture is so different but I did not have much culture shocks as I am used to travelling and living abroad and also because we were well informed of the cultural aspects as we took a Chinese culture course before visiting Shanghai the first time. Shanghai is a modern city and they call it the Paris of the east. Although it is very Western it certainly has a different atmosphere that I had been used to. Already the language aspect can cause some confusion as locals do not really speak English widely so the best way is to learn to communicate with basic Mandarin. As I didn’t speak Mandarin and had never studied I quickly learned words to get by with. Especially with taxis, you either need to know the very basics or you must have your address you are going to written in Chinese. Well as I didn’t always have an opportunity to present the written address I was eager to communicate with the very basics of getting by with taxis.
As Metso is an international company, working in Shanghai office does not differ that much of working in Finland or anywhere else. Of course there are the cultural aspects but you get used to the customs and habits quickly like the work hours are from 9 am to 5.30 am and that most of your colleagues get a company bus to work. Lunch is served in the canteen and there are no forks or knives available! When it is not too cold and too warm, my colleagues like to have a walk around the factory after lunch. In fact I think this has something to do with the Chinese custom of taking at least 90 steps every day to stay healthy.
To be honest I loved Shanghai and still do. It is extremely interesting place and there is always something going on at work or in the spare time. People are very friendly and interested in foreigners and many people wish to speak to you as they want to learn more English. I highly recommend!