This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Interlude: tidy spaces

konmari-2“After some thought I realized that the WC is the most public space in the home, even more so than the kitchen. But toilet supplies are the least inspiring things of any home. The guests may rarely see them, but if they are displayed in an untidy fashion, your reputation is ruined. This is why esthetics is essential especially when it comes to storing toilet supplies”.

Marie Kondo never fails to make me laugh – just before she slaps me with a new insight barely a second later.

(Helsinki, Finland; May 2017. Excerpt freely translated from the Finnish version of Spark Joy by Marie Kondo)


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Interlude: women in business

cityhallDinner and networking at the Helsinki City Council. One woman wore red, I wore blue, and the rest wore dark. Mostly men in suits. This is what it is like to be a “woman in business”.

I work mainly with men in suits older or far older than I. Yet most of the time I am the one in a power position, because of my job. It was odd at first, especially to challenge team leads in beards and gray hair when I was barely 30 years old. Today I barely think of it. And if I do, it is to use it to my advantage: a younger woman often obtains information and influence easier, because she is perceived to not be a threat. And I seldom pay for my drinks.

But I still feel uncomfortable. In particular, in the airline lounge on a Monday morning, when I am one of the handful of women in there, and usually the only one in jeans. I gave my sister a give-away elite tier card. After her first visit to the lounge alone, on a workday morning, she looked at me with huge eyes and proclaimed she had felt like she was being exhibited. This is also what it is like to be a “woman in business”. Even here in relatively gender-equal Finland.

It is not always about the pay. It mostly is about the mundane, minor things. Because these are the subconscious, left-unseen signals that give away the conditioning of our minds.

I do not aspire to become a man – quite the contrary. I was very happy I was not wearing a dark suit at that dinner party. I only hope I will never feel that I am expected to become a man in order to get along better.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2017)