Sunday, October 21, 2012


When I first started working in my current workplace, I was really unsure about my ability. The only thing that made me even think of sending an application there was the words someone said to me. She said she believed I was ready to work in a place like that. She was helping us at the Finnish course. She taught us how to send applications, how to make a CV in Finnish and how to find jobs online and things like that. Without her encouragement, I don't think I would have found the courage to send the application letter. :-D

Another thing I was unsure about was the fact that I wasn't a people person and I had zero experience in the field. Would I survive in that kind of environment? On the other hand, I wanted to be able to use my Finnish actively so that it wouldn't get rusty. The first few months in my current workplace were rough. I was really wondering whether or not I should continue. I wasn't even sure that they'd renew my contract (the first contract was only for 3 months). After getting the permanent job contract, I was thinking that I would only be able to continue working in this kind of place for 2 years max. Seriously.

Until I started getting to know the workplace, my workload, and the product range better. Until some customers started giving me feedback that made me believe that this was/is the right place for me (that's why I'm forever grateful to all those people who've given me verbal feedback and words of encouragement because they're God's angels on earth). 

I knew my limitations from the start. Other than the language, one other limit is my height (I'm only 145 cm). There are some things that my taller coworkers can do better and faster than me. And because they're native Finns, naturally they're able to explain things better pronto (compared to myself who needs more time to think of a way to explain things that I've never encountered before). And if a new problem occurs, they know better whom to call and what to do and how to explain it to the customers or the boss.

In the beginning, whenever someone asked me a question that I couldn't answer, I always called my coworker to help out. Over the past 2 years and 4 months I've learnt to pick up words and phrases from my coworkers and customers and that's helped me respond more "automatically" in similar circumstances. As to my height, there's nothing I can do about it, but at least there's a stool at work that I can use whenever I need it. :-D 

Luckily the coworkers and bosses I've met and worked with have been nice and fair people. They've never treated me differently despite the fact that sometimes when they talk so fast, I still ask them to repeat the words to me. There are still some occasions when I also need my customers to explain what they need from me, especially if they use strange words that I'm not familiar with, but at least my face helps make them understand that I'm a foreigner and that they may need to use more "regular" words and even body language when they talk to me. 

Having worked in this kind of place for the first time in my life makes me realize even more that one cannot please everyone. I still make mistakes every now and then, though I try to minimize them. Some customers may feel more satisfied than others, some may be more willing to forgive than others, but it's a wonderful journey to learn to forgive myself, too. To let go of my mistakes instead of dragging them like balls of chain on my ankles. To focus more on what I can do and to try finding ways to work more efficiently and to be more sensitive towards my customers' needs as best as I can. 

After all, this is a gift/opportunity that God has entrusted to me in such a miraculous way. If He hadn't slammed other doors right in front of me back in 2010 (that had caused some depression for a while), I wouldn't have bothered to try looking for real jobs. Instead, I would have been "satisfied" being in my comfort zone where I wouldn't have learnt all these lessons. THANK YOU, Lord, for everything!!!


  1. I am also not soo tall :D compare with other women in here. I hope in about 3 years, I could work as you, Amel. As long as, the time I work is when the children at school. Wish me luck hi hi hi...

    1. Oh yeah, I remember my friend who lives in Holland telling me how tall Dutch men and women are. Well, I'm sure you'll be able to get a good job later on when your kids are at school, Jul. :-))) I know how hardworking and diligent you are. :-) I wish you ALL the luck you need. :-)

  2. Amel, your story is incredibly inspiring. Well done for taking the plunge -- you were rewarded for your hard work and bravery with your very own place in this world, and the appreciation of people who see how well you do your job. GOOD FOR YOU!!!!

    Btw, I couldn't help giggling to realize that you and I are almost 30cm different in height! :) though I spent so long living in Japan that these days I have trouble judging people's height in comparison to mine. I always think other people are taller than they really are -- living among smaller Japanese people I got used to feeling as though I was about the same height! :)

    1. Katriina, without that woman's encouragement, I wouldn't even have tried he he...I was so scared when I realized I had plunged myself into that pool in the beginning ha ha ha...thankfully there were so many forgiving customers even though I made zillions of mistakes in the beginning esp. :-) But yeah, sometimes you just have to take the plunge and see if the pool/river/lake/sea is suitable for you or not. :-D

      LOL!!! It's nice to read your POV on height. So living among smaller people does that to your perspective on your own height, eh? Interesting! :-D