Secondments: Working in Sweden, fika and slang
29 April 2019
Secondments are an important part of our cross-border work. This spring, the Stockholm office has been happy to have Associate Ninja, Senior Associate Maisa and Legal Assistant Anni on secondment from Helsinki. Why did they go on secondment, and how does it work?
When did you know you wanted to be a lawyer and what made you choose law?
Maisa: I had other options too at upper secondary school but at some point thought that law would interest me most.
Ninja: I think probably the first dream of becoming a lawyer date back to childhood as watching too much of American court drama such as Ally McBeal. However, in high school my interest in society issues started to grow, and I was especially interested in politics and regulation. Law school was also an easy choice for me due to that it opens many different career paths, and as a young adult, I was not forced to decide what I want to do when I grow up. Although, my dream from the beginning of law studies was to work at a big law firm, which specialises in business law so mission accomplished in that sense.
Why did you choose to go on secondment?
Anni: I have always dreamt of working abroad and was so excited when I got the chance to go on secondment at our Stockholm office. It has been so rewarding to get to know our other office better and learn more of another culture and language. Secondments are also a great way to share different practices and knowledge between our offices.
Maisa: I wanted to improve my Swedish language skills. It’s also a great way to get to know colleagues at the Stockholm office better.
What are the practicalities you need to get in order before you go on secondment?
Anni: There is quite a lot of paperwork and other practical issues that need to be taken care of when you go on secondment but our fantastic HR team helped a lot with the practicalities, for example by finding an apartment for me. Furthermore, it is good to familiarise yourself with and learn as much as possible of the foreign culture and language when on secondment ─ I learned a lot about the Swedish way of working and their fika culture as well as the Stockholm dialect.
How is the way of working different if you compare Stockholm and Helsinki, and what do they have in common?
Ninja: The work tasks and projects are mainly similar between Stockholm and Helsinki and I strongly believe it should not matter where you physically sit for you to take part in cross-border projects. Most of the work tasks are in English in both countries so there is not really difference in that sense either. The main differences is definitely the open office space in Stockholm where all employees are sitting, which makes it easier to share and ask for advice from the more experienced colleagues.
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