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Finding one’s strengths and networks is crucial in tomorrow’s world of work

“What do work and art have in common? Could motivational knowledge help in finding lost joy at work? What happens if one chooses to follow their heart in their career?”

  • Teksti Marianne Mustonen
  • Kuva Mostphotos

For the alumni of the University of Eastern Finland, the year 2024 kicked off with a webinar where leading experts of their respective fields talked about their careers. Nearly 400 alumni had registered for the event.

A fascinating career can begin with small, sometimes even unexpected choices, and grow to its full potential through enthusiasm and dedication.

In his speech, Sipe Santapukki, the drummer of the Finnish band Apulanta and CEO of Apulanta Oy, looked back on the early days of the band, when their popularity took off after being featured on the correspondence column of Finland’s most popular youth magazine of the time, Suosikki. Today, the band has received more gold and platinum records than any other band in Finland, including a world record in topping the Official Finnish Singles Chart.

“To us, it has always been important to do things ourselves and to be in charge of our own destiny,” Santapukki said.

Apulanta self-published their first record – to an already existing fan base. Many of the fan club members have been with them right from the start, and they continue to show up, even to gigs played at the Olympic Stadium.

“We are running a serious business: passion stands at the core, while entrepreneurship is an evil that can’t be avoided. Our income comes from record sales, intellectual property and gigs. We anticipated a decline in record sales, but instead of complaining about it, we came up with an alternative business model, which involves saving old buildings. We have a long-term plan, and we tend to look at very long-term trajectories.”

Santapukki refers to himself as ‘Veijo Apulanta’, which illustrates his role as CEO, versatility, and a genuine interest in people’s affairs.

“Nothing costs as much as ignorance, especially in construction.”

For Santapukki and the other members of Apulanta, deep and meaningful human relationships are also important. Their meetings always start with asking how everyone is doing.

“In our line of work, networking is crucial since we don’t have a massive workforce at our disposal. In other words, we need friends, but when it comes to doing and owing favours, it’s essential to maintain a balance.”

“Being content is the end of development. You have to believe in what you’re selling. It’s also worth remembering that words can be either bridges or walls. Don’t push your luck but be respectful – and remember the difference between courage and audacity,” Santapukki said.

One should often get to do things driven by personal motivation 

According to CEO Mikael Jungner, work is beginning to resemble art.

“In the future, artificial intelligence will handle expert work and routine tasks. What remains requires customisation and reflection,” he said. 

“Each problem in this world is unique. To find a solution, we gather expertise and try something new to move forward. Thus, every job is unique, just like every piece of art.”

Jungner pointed out that if we engage in routine-like work, learning stops where routines set in. It is important, now and in the future, that the one and the same individual handles both the thinking process and the decision-making related to how work is done.

“This individual has both power and responsibility, also for learning. Lessons learnt should be shared. What you learn at work might be more valuable to the company next week than the salary you receive. Are you in a position where you'll be the wiser and better next week?”

Entrepreneur and University of Eastern Finland alumna Leena Ståhlberg says that the future relevance of work is related to opportunities for influence, a sense of belonging, and choosing one’ personal attitude. If joy at work is missing, it may be due to motivational factors underlying well-being.

The foundation of motivation is genetic and fairly stable, and motivation needs to come to fruition often.

Leena Ståhlberg