- Johanna Herrala, 26, returned to Uusikaupunki after graduating from university and decided to change careers. Moving from early childhood education to property management has helped her feel at ease and improved her quality of life. “I no longer wake up in the middle of the night stressing about everything” says Johanna.
Johanna Herrala grabs a vacuum cleaner from the boot of her car in an assured manner and takes it to a stairwell of an apartment building in Uusikaupunki centre. She goes down the stairs to a cleaning cabinet in the basement, puts on rubber gloves, prepares the mop and window wipes and goes back up.
Depending on her mood, her headphones play classic audio books, biographical podcasts or music when she cleans the stairwell.
Johanna does everything confidently—the rugs are vacuumed and the stairs are mopped quickly. The job feels positively pleasant and clear.
“My favourite thing is to clean the sauna. It’s always so warm in there when you clean the small room with hot water. But I like everything about this job. I’ve never felt sorry in the morning that I had to go to work,” says Johanna.
Just a year ago, Johanna was a daycare centre teacher, a field in which she had graduated from Tampere University a year earlier. The job was rewarding and the children were as wonderful as she had always imagined, but the increasing pressure of the job and lack of personnel started affecting her enjoyment of it.
“Daycare centre teachers have lots of responsibility that, in my view, is not reflected in the paycheck. The job involves a certain amount of hours to be spent on planning and preparing, but this was usually done in my own time. I want to do everything to the best of my ability and my nature didn’t allow me to cut corners,” she says.
Almost unnoticeably, she continued working at home in the evening increasingly often. Her stress started slowly affecting her sleep and energy levels. Everything felt really heavy.
“I felt very conflicted as I liked the job a lot and the children and their parents were always so grateful and respectful. However, I couldn’t stand a situation where I couldn’t finish working during the working hours and the salary didn’t seem to correspond with the workload.”
In late summer, Jukka-Pekka Herrala, Johanna’s father and owner of the Kiinteistöhuolto Herrala property management company, offered his daughter a job. He offered the opportunity to clean apartment buildings three days a week and spend the rest of hours on property management tasks.
Johanna had worked for the summer at her father’s company since she was 15, so she was familiar with the job, but she had to think about the offer for a long time. She had studied long to complete a Master’s degree in a completely different field, which had lots of jobs to offer.
“I considered the offer very carefully. In the end, I decided to accept the offer. It’s not entirely impossible that I will return to early childhood education but, at the moment, this job feels really good to me. Doing my job is enough. I don’t have to worry about working in my free time and I no longer wake up in the middle of the night,” says Johanna.
She has not found it difficult to make a career change to a male-dominated sector, quite the opposite. Thanks to the small work community, she is treated the same as any one else – with kindness. Everyone takes their work seriously and has a good sense of humour.
“I can mow the lawn or rake or sand the yard just like any man. Maybe it would help with some tasks if I was a bit taller, but there are no other differences.”
Returning to Uusikaupunki after completing her degree was always the plan for Johanna. She likes the atmosphere of the seaside town, especially now that she also has energy to engage in hobbies. In her free time, she likes to ride horses, go to the gym, ride a bicycle and play football.
The physically demanding job maintains her basic fitness, which helps with training.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in Uusikaupunki a lot. My family and friends are here, I have a lot of ways to spend my free time and the sea makes the view spectacular, especially in the summer. Bodies of water can be found everywhere, but the sea is beyond comparison,” says Johanna with a smile.