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Posts Tagged ‘work’

I thought of writing this article after I got fed up with the endless articles about birth rates declining and the constant blame put on women because they choose to pursue higher education. I thought that we left this behind many decades ago but as I can see this is the number one scapegoat most people around here prefer to point at. I won’t get into the importance of education nowadays because when it comes to pursue one, it’s each to its own, I would say it better to have one than none at all.

The ones who are usually barking so much on the subject are men who complain about their poor peers who remain in the countryside, choose to stay out of school or pursue a professional school and then remain single because those “damn harpies” choose careers and move to the big cities. They usually come up with apocalyptic future scenarios of old spinsters, damnation, cats and loneliness. In addition to that they are also complaining that these women are too picky, too stuck up and that nothing is good for them.

My first thought is, then why don’t you go and get an education yourself? Why are you jealous on a person who wants to build a future for themselves and their world doesn’t revolve around yours? Because believe it or not, you are not the center of the universe and no person owes you anything.  You miss the good old days when women were barefoot, knocked-up in the kitchen? Then be prepared to have a super income because nowadays you can rarely manage on one salary. The biggest problem with these people is that they live in the past, in a world of fantasy.

Being dependent and relying on a guy (of one’s free will) is perhaps the most stupid thing you can do. But again, I also guide myself on “the best person to rely on is yourself” philosophy. You never know when the other one will kick you in the curb or you know, misfortunes happen. I was also taught wisely by my parents that it’s better to have your own finances and never rely on anybody.

Nobody stops you from studying and earning a degree if you want. Not in Finland where (for the moment) there are no tuition fees. But some people don’t want higher education and others are not meant for it. Which is fine. But stop complaining and blaming other people for your incapacities or laziness. And stop blaming the system that it favors girls. If you really want to achieve something, no system will stay in your way. I saw proof with my own eyes and of both genders.

Blaming women that they are too picky is rather shallow I would say. As mentioned before, nobody is entitled to like you. These women have their own preferences, own personalities and own minds and they’d better be picky if it is about something so important as sharing life with somebody. It’s better being alone that be with somebody just for the sake of being and then realize you share nothing in common or even hate each other.

As for the profession part, these “critics” must live underground because lots of us are not hunting for a profession. For me it is a deep insult to hear that I’m a stuck up academic bitch who doesn’t even look at blue collar workers. Profession has never been an issue when I connect with another person because I look at that person as a human being not at a profession. One of my top priorities is mutual respect. If that is missing, I’m sorry to say but it won’t work. I never looked down on any person because of their profession (sadly I can’t say that was mutual, I’ve been humiliated many times while working blue collar jobs). Professions can change but the dynamics between two persons is much more complicated and I doubt that a profession or education has so much to do with it. My partner didn’t even attend high school and I have two MA’s and I must say that it would be quite a shock for these people who can do nothing more but judge. It’s true, I did hear nasty remarks from some that how can I be in a relationship with such a person, pointing out the fact that I’m superior because of my education. Needless to say I cut any ties with these people. If you can’t respect people I care about, I don’t have any obligation to respect you. An MA diploma doesn’t make me superior in any way but the fact that I respect people the way they are and not judge them like you do, yes, that makes me superior to your judgmental ass.

And before blaming women that they are like this and like that and don’t pay attention to you, take a look at yourself first. Do you think somebody would like to be with a person who does nothing but blame others and likes to dictate how others should live? Because I wouldn’t. Before demanding things from others take a look at yourself. Are you worth it?

 

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I’m writing this to document my struggles “switching” to a new field and to remind myself that some people are not worth listening to. In fact, they are worth nothing. I don’t know if I will follow this path, I do doubt myself a lot sometimes and some of the people around don’t make it easier either. But one thing is sure, I will never look at my abilities and determination, the same way again after these studies are completed.

Let’s start from the beginning. I started studying chemistry in the sixth grade. Before that, I discovered some of my dad’s old chemistry books. I fell in love with it because it seemed like a fascinating world. I couldn’t wait to start the classes to learn more, to enter the lab and do all those experiments in the book. It was a subject that unlocked the mysteries of the world around me, it would make me understand the world to its tiniest core up to complex phenomena.

This is not how things went. Our teacher didn’t really care to teach, to make us understand. There was no passion and even worse, when I did ask for clarifications I was called stupid: “I said it once, why weren’t you paying attention/are you stupid?” Obviously if I didn’t get it in a second, I was automatically stupid. I had no support in solving exercises and even if I tried but failed, I got the usual scolding…you are so stupid, how can you not understand a thing so easy? No support, no encouragement and as a child I believed it. I was too stupid, that was too difficult for me. I gave up. I didn’t pay attention anymore, I started skipping chemistry classes and I declared an eternal hate and disgust for this subject (along with maths and physics – secondary school physics teacher was horrible). Never again. I was done.

I chose a humanities class in high-school and ignored science classes completely. We had bad science teachers there also. They were not interested, no passion and the usual – those humanities dumb heads, not that they would understand anything. But there was a spark. In my first year of high-school, we had a very cool physics teacher, I enjoyed hear explanations and her way of teaching. I understood things very fast and at the end of that year I got one of the best grades in physics. She left. After that, I stopped studying physics; her replacement did not live up to the standards.

Fast forward 13 years. After years of studying in humanities, and specializing myself in museum studies I fell in love with a branch of museum profession called conservation. I said that nothing will stop me to study that. Bad luck…chemistry was needed. Only the first high-school course but still. I cut my ties with chemistry right at that very beginning; it was like I never studied it. Because I never did, actually. I skipped most of the classes and barely passed. I wasn’t interested. I went to the library and took that book, opened it and tears came into my eyes. I didn’t understand anything. It seemed so difficult. But I said: YOU WON’T GIVE UP! And I didn’t, I bought the book and started studying chemistry on my own. First months were hell. There was nobody to help me, nobody I could ask. Swearing, frustration, tears, ripped pages with exercises. But time went and I started understanding. I was so happy after few hours of struggle to understand and even solve problems on my own. And at one point I realized, with amazement that I started liking it.

After going through just one chemistry course (out of five), I signed up for university. Chemistry. One of the craziest, if not the craziest, thing I did in my life. No background studies and there I was, sitting in a class with people who had a strong background in chemistry. I realized what I have done one week before I started the classes. I panicked so bad that I almost puked right before my first chemistry class. How could I keep up with these people? They are so advanced, I know nothing. You have no idea how many times I cried after classes because I couldn’t understand almost anything. But I studied on my own and in one month I went through the whole 5 high-school courses, at basic level, at least to understand the concepts. (thank you opetus.tv!) Until now I am proud to say that I have passed all courses with a very good in Chemistry of the Environment. And I think I’m falling in love with chemistry to the point of thinking to switch completely to science and start my studies all over again.

Things aren’t so easy, however. I did mention the struggles and certain people in the beginning. Let’s put it straight: chemistry, like any other subject, is not easy. Especially when you are crazy enough to sign up for university courses with no strong background. But that’s not the point. You can learn it; I’m a living proof of that. What makes it worse, are the people around you. In my case, it started with the teachers. A bad teacher will make you hate a subject or if you are lucky, you’ll be just indifferent to it. I can’t complain now, my present chemistry teacher had always had the patience to explain the most stupid questions I asked him. And that’s what makes a good teacher.

But what is worse, is other people’s attitudes. I was told that this is useless because if I don’t understand things right on the spot then I have no talent for it. Have these people heard that work is required in every field? You don’t wake up overnight and get top grades. Everything requires hard work and passion. Chemistry is not like singing, you have the voice or you don’t. Even singing requires lots of work. Very few people are born with extraordinary talents. The rest of us have to work. Giving up is not an option.

I was told that I’m at that age when you are too old to study and as a woman I should have other normal priorities (read lifescript), not dreaming of a career in a STEM field. To be clear, lifescript has never interested me. It might suit others but I always found it extremely boring. If an activity is not intellectually challenging or has a certain degree of difficulty, I drop it. I love studying, reading, thinking and solving problems a lot. Am I 100% at this point that I want to go into STEM? Maybe not 100 but I’m strongly considering it. I do love my job a lot and my present field but studying chemistry will never take me away from cultural heritage field. On the contrary, I will become one of those multidisciplinary persons with a wide understanding of various disciplines and enhanced capacity of solving problems and be innovative.

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Found today this article about an owner of a strawberry farm which claims that he hasn’t had a Finnish worker in 16 years. Why? Apparently Finns are not interested in physical work, it’s too harsh and the pay is very low. Instead he brings seasonal foreign workers from other countries to do the job.

I also browsed through the comments just to see people throwing lots of shit in today’s Finnish young people saying that they are too lazy and entitled, they’d rather get social support than do work or complain that the pay is low. I was not amazed by this because nowadays it seems like a national sport to throw shit in the young generation.

I don’t know about others, there might be people who really don’t want to do that kind of work but the people I know, Finns, my friends would do this kind of job. You know what seems to be the problem? They can’t get it! And I’ll give you an example. Few summers ago, me and my husband were unemployed and looking for work. We did apply and even called at these strawberries farms in the hope that we can spend our summer picking strawberries and get some income. Unfortunately, some owners never replied to us and others said right away that they have enough people, although during the whole summer they were still announcing vacancies. I did apply 3 summers in a row at several strawberry farms and I never got a job.

I’m not scared of physical work and I can do it very well as I grew up at a farm and physical work was what we did during summers since I was a kid, including strawberry picking and even harsher work like hay stacking, spading and loosening. You’d think they favor foreigners like the dude in the article but still even if I have foreign background, I wasn’t chosen.

One of the problems mentioned was the pay which is low in the case of strawberry picking. It is true but given the fact that some pay 9 euros per hour (which is considered low by Finnish standards), I would not say it bothered me. I had jobs in Finland which paid me 6 euros per hour and I still did them. And my work colleagues were Finnish. I highly doubt all Finnish youngsters would say no to 9 euros per hour as these readers claim. There might be people who would refuse because the cost of living in Finland is very high and you need to cover your expenses somehow, a low salary won’t be enough but it would be suitable for young summer workers.

I would really like to know how many young people did apply for these jobs only to be rejected. I didn’t read all the comments but I found few persons there who had the same experience as I did. I also wonder how much does this dude pay per hour as it wasn’t mentioned. If the pay goes under 5 euros/h then it might be quite a problem because you can’t really live with that kind of salary in Finland. Also many young people do not have yet drivers license or a car and the farm might be very far for them to reach and also the employer offers accommodation and food only to foreigners. If these apply then it’s quite hypocritical and stupid to blame Finnish youngsters of being lazy.

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I’ve been working in a museum for a while now and to be honest the moment I got the job (even earlier when I had the chance to be an intern) I was one of the happiest persons because that was the field I wanted to get in since I was a kid.

The place I work is a small university museum and like in all small museums, one does not have a certain job description but one can do various tasks besides their main job description. And I actually like it because there is something new to do all the time and you do learn new things.

My main job is customer service which includes taking care and monitoring the exhibitions, being in the museum shop and offering guided tours and information. I do help with other tasks, too like building exhibitions, organizing events, having workshops, documenting artefacts or taking care of collections.

Being in customer service, I got asked several times if I had difficult customers. I can gladly state that I didn’t. Usually people who come to the museum are interested in what the museum has to offer and some do ask questions about various issues from history related to tourist or studying related. I do enjoy offering guided tours as I get to meet really interesting people and it’s always an honor to have the chance to present our university history to them.

If I am to mention one of the most challenging tasks until now is one of our exhibitions which deals with mathematics. It was quite challenging because I have a background in humanities but I had to learn to offer guided tours and workshops to several age groups (from small kids to seniors) and that involved learning all kind of mathematical concepts for that in two foreign languages. After this small adventure I realized how much one can learn in a museum, especially, if there are different temporary exhibitions with various themes. Of course, a museum employee, especially in customer service has to learn everything possible about an upcoming exhibition in order to inform the visitors and for possible tours. I usually do that by attending meetings about the exhibition, reading the material related to it, finding more information and also talking with the curator(s). If I have the chance or help is needed, I also volunteer to help building the exhibition.

Another thing that I found challenging it was taking care of the museum shop – the financial side. I have never used in my life devices for card payments or managed sales but I learned that very fast to my surprise although I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. I say skeptical because I was never a math friendly person and I am a bit hesitant when it comes to numbers. I did learn that numbers are nothing to be afraid of and nowadays the software embedded in many shop systems does the math for you very efficiently.

One of my goals in museum work is to work more with collections mostly getting acquainted and taking care of them and for that I think I’ll take up some volunteering work behind the scenes along with the curators and conservators.

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So after leaving the protective paint layer to dry (at least 24h) the chair is ready for another round of sandpaper. This time a very soft sandpaper is taken and the surface is polished gently. After which a wet napkin is used to clean the dust. Now the chair is ready for the first layer of paint. After the first layer of paint is applied i took the seat of the chair for a closer inspection.

The brown textile which was covering the seat showed signs of mild to medium deterioration and smell of mold. Besides it was filled with dust and dirt. The upholstery was fixed with nails so i used a special tool for taking the nails out paying attention not to harm the wood. The wood was dried and a bit fragile and some nails were so well fixed that i did not insist on taking them out. There was the danger of splitting the wood and disjoint the seat. Under the brown textile there was a thin sponge which i removed. And under there was a green textile which was stained, smelled of mold and it was also fragile. I applied the same technique to take it out as with the brown textile. Under it there was a layer of dried grass.  Because of the humidity and the materials that the seat contained no wonder that the upholstery began deteriorating (the major cause being the grass found in the upholstery under the green textile). After the initial upholstery was removed i cleaned the seat with a dried piece of textile.

After that i cut a piece of hard and thick sponge and fixed it as the chair seat first layer. I attached it with special glue and cut the edges. On the sponge i applied another soft material and glued it in the same way. In the end i cut the final material of the upholstery which i chose it to be brown (a bit lighter though) and fit in tightly on the seat with an electric stapler.

After the uholstery was done i polished the wooden parts of the chair with the same type of soft sandpaper (180), wipe it with a wet napkin and applied the second layer of paint. Now the chair is just left to dry and the next day the golden decorations were carfully painted with a small brush which can also be used in painting. Finally the golden paint is applied in two rounds with a few hour break between them.

 

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This autumn i decided to take a course in restoration of old furniture. The decision was actually based on the fact that i intend to continue my studies in the field and i really wanted to know if i have what it takes for the job. First i wanted to try a short course just to be sure that i like it and i’m not seeing a restorer’s work through pink colored glasses. So i started looking for a piece of furniture that could be deteriorated to that point that it needs restoration. So this is what i found:

This chair was produced around 1950’s as far as i understood from its owner and it is Swedish rococo style. It was kept for several years in a deposit where the climate is cold, dump and dark. Obviously the process of deterioration took its course and as it can be noticed the paint started to fade and fell off in certain places (especially the legs and the seat). The decorations are originally golden but because of dumpness they acquired a greenish shade (probably the paint contained copper). The seat shows also signs of mild to medium deterioration namely the brown textile which covers the seat starts to be fragile and it smells of mold.

Overall the chair is estimated to be in good condition and when the restoration work starts there is no need to pull the wooden parts apart and glue them back together because the chair is not wobbling at all.

First the chair is cleaned with a dry piece of cloth which does not leave lints and the seat is taken off remaining only with the wooden skeleton. Then with the help of a heat gun and a scalpel the old paint is taken off paying great attention not to burn the wood. This process is quite time consuming. After the paint is taken off the chair is scrapped with a hard sharp metal razor to take off the remaining bits of paint with special attention payed to the corners. Under the seat, the wood was not treated prior to the first painting and the paint was applied directly on the fresh wood. That makes it difficult for the paint to be scraped off but i did not insist on it. After the chair is scrapped a harsh sandpaper is used to polish the wood and the corners are scrapped for paint remains. When this is done a dump napkin is used to wipe off the paint dust. The original wood colour was dark brown in fact. After the chair is left to dry, the first protective paint is applied twice and left to dry for 24h before the first layer of paint is applied.

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about work

This summer i was lucky enough to get a job at the health center. The job is in cleaning and mostly an evening job. Most of people would just laugh in my face (and some did) but the truth is that it’s not them who is going to pay my bills. Why i say it was lucky? Because nowadays with all this crises around one should consider themselves lucky if they still have a job. And the fact that i’m new around here it means something for me. I have applied for many places but unfortunately there are lots of people snatching the same places and even here where i’m working, there is trained staff in cleaning who knows how to do their jobs. I am just an amateur so to say. So that’s another thing why i’m lucky.

I have done my job very well, although the training was like 20 minutes, i learned everything on the way. For the people who laugh at cleaners, i would really like to tell them to think twice before they start laughing. Without those folks you will be drowning in your own shit. And besides you have to know lots of stuff from hygiene to basic chemistry. And the situations are variated all the time. You have to know how to operate certain machines (not only mop and vacuum cleaner!). And working in a health center is i think the most difficult. You have to protect yourself really well because there are lots of germs (patients puke or bleed all over the floor) and sometimes they have highly contagious diseases. One moment of dreaming and you are practically screwed.

As for the people who laughed at me (my mom took care to inform me about it) i can say but: fuck off. When people are losing their jobs around me and i see their struggles to make the ends meet, i feel somehow lucky. I love being independent and have my own money as long as the job is an honest one. I just love having the satisfaction that at the end of the day i did something honest and useful and that bread i have in front of me it’s really mine. I have earned it by myself.

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