Way to avoid a headache – learn Finnish?!
As we’ve been skirting the immigration thing lately; here is one good human experiment to read for anyone having any imagination of just popping over to a northern waste and start digging gold like the people did in the Alaska Gold Rush:
Six Polish journalists were sent to Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, Helsinki, Lisbon, and London to look for work. Their mission was to portray themselves as ordinary job applicants and to describe conditions in each of the cities in blogs and newspaper reports.The journalists’ reports were part of “Next Stop Europe”, a joint project of three major media – the leading newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the radio station TOK FM, and the television station TVN24. The project examines the implications of large numbers of Poles travelling to other European Union countries to work.
Of course comparing huge cities like London and Barcelona is not fair. Dublin maybe, but their economy is in such a boom I had to take tourist photos of a “thing you don’t see at home” – vacancy ads in a shop window! Reading the story of finding work in Athens would be interesting. However the poor person sent to Helsinki gave up in a week already…
The other journalists found work in a week, but Ola Pezda was the only one to run into a wall. She says that her gender prevented her from getting work as a painter, and she was told that she might get work handing out the free newspaper Metro “sometime later”. At two employment agencies serving foreigners, Eures and Staffpoint, she was told that “nobody will accept an application form” if she does not speak Finnish.Helsinki is a rough place for foreign job applicants! Everywhere you go you need to know Finnish, as if it were a conspiracy of some kind. Nevertheless, nearly everyone speaks English, says Aleksandra “Ola” Pezda.“You can’t even get a job as a cleaner without a knowledge of Finnish. I was told that measuring and mixing modern cleaning chemicals is so demanding that English is not enough. They don’t really want foreigners here”, Pezda says.
Or maybe due to historical reasons we don’t want to speak in one language to the master, and in another language to the servant. How would it be, say if teaching Finnish to foreigners was forbidden?
And nothing is like at home…
At one point she tried St. Henry’s Catholic Church. In other EU countries, Catholic churches are meeting places where local Poles can swap stories. The church did not even have the typical “wailing wall” – a notice board for situations vacant and wanted. The only announcement there was a notice for a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. A monthly mass had been cancelled.
(Helsinki Catholic Bishop is Polish BTW)
So what is then the observation? Trade Unions are bad – no solidarity here…
Pezda was astounded to see the largest trade union headquarters that she ever seen anywhere. She suspects that the trade union movement might be partly to blame for the negative attitude toward foreigners in the workplace. Pezda met a number of Polish fitters working in the Helsinki area. She was shocked to hear that they were able to send home no more than EUR 500 a month after taxes and the commission paid to the temp agency. Pezda emphasises that Helsinki is nightmarishly expensive.
Yes, well, like *we* don’t know that??
OK, so I’d like to see a Finn go to Poland and find work – how easy would that now be?