On pohjantähden alla, Tää koti mulla mainen, Mä elämästä laulan...

My girlfriend and I were out picking up a cake at the bakery last week, when my phone rang:

  • Hello, I'm calling about your application. I just spent the last hour discussing your case with my boss and there's just one thing that bothers us: do you ever intend on paying your residual taxes?
  • I received those payment slips right after I became unemployed and, as you know, living off unemployment benefits in this country's most expensive city doesn't exactly leave anyone with money to spare...
  • Say no more! Moving to the capital for this job was a real shocker. The rents are so bloody expensive here! Anyhow, do you intend on taking care of those residual taxes as soon as you get a job?
  • Yup, just like I said in my application.
  • Alright, then I guess that everything is in order. We can start processing your application today. We obviously cannot make any promise about how long that's gonna take, but I would think that the decision should come fairly soon.
  • Wow! That's excellent news! Thanks again for your help!
  • You're welcome, sir. Have a nice day!

Without knowing, at that moment, I had just become a citizen of the country in which I have been living for the past 12 years. It was only yesterday, upon receiving the decision in the mail and looking at the date on the certificate that I realized that, when I got the phone call, the decision had already been made and the bureaucracy was only looking for reassurances that I fully intend upon acquitting my civic obligations as soon as humanely possible.

To say that reading the decision was a highly emotional moment is an understatement. Trying to explain the intensity of this moment to my girlfriend, I compared it to the day when a teenager reaches adulthood. This instant brought a similar feeling: suddenly, the whole EU opens its doors to me and I'm free to decide how to best use the opportunities it offers.

What next?

For now, completing this government training to become a bureaucrat. Funnily enough, becoming a citizen resolved the whole issue of background checks, which also suddenly triples the number of possible venues for the on-job part of the training. In my case, it looks like I'll be spending the next few months at the Ministry of Employment and Entrepreneurship, working on EU projects that fund R&D efforts and export sales ventures in each member state.

After that, I'm not sure.

On one hand, I'd like to apply for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' KAVAKU recruitment program for future diplomats. On the other hand, that ministry is extremely picky about whom it accepts and it's not particularly known for favoring naturalized individuals. This being said, our current Minister recently published rather ambitious plans to completely reform the Ministry by bringing in seasoned professionals from the private sector who could efficiently promote Finnish know-how and products abroad, rather than hiring more of the same Public Administration graduates, so, who knows? Maybe the time is right for someone like me to join the ranks of the Finnish diplomacy?

An other option that I'm considering is to permanently move to Estonia. When my last job there ended, I was left with the feeling that I could have accomplished a lot more, if only I were in a legal position to move there, rather than commute a couple of times a week. Beyond the pioneering work that myself and my diplomat friends at the Estonian embassy did in Turkey, there was a demand for us to perform the same magic in other countries of interest to Estonia. Unfortunately, not being in a position to be on-site and no longer having a job that paid for me to be there often enough meant that I had to pass on that opportunity. Now, seeing how one of my friends recently left the diplomacy and is open to new challenges, I'm wondering if now might be a good time to resume our operation and prepare our next campaign?

Wow... So much to think about, now that a whole continent opened its doors to me. Hienoa! Olen suomalainen.


Unknown said...

Congratulations! Welcome to the EU. :)

Alexander said...

Itse olen sanonut irti Suomen kansalaisuuden ja passin. Olen nyt Norjalainen. Norja on maailman rikkain ja kaunein maa. Pahoittelen vain etten tehnyt muutosta aikaisemmin.

Larko said...

Congrtas M-E! This goes to show that you CAN beat the red tape if you try hard enough :-)

The Foreign Office would be stupid if they did not hire a native French speaker with your IT background. Then again, they might be just that :-P

Jaanus said...

Congratulations and welcome! :) I remember us talking about this in Tallinn many years ago. Glad it worked out for you.