Shaking off the routines
Marja-Riitta Viljainen had already thought about moving to the wilderness or training as a sheep carer. Luckily she found the opportunity to take alternating leave.
When you have behind yourself more than 30 years of hectic work and schedules, you begin to dream about a completely different life. Although new things are always interesting and even exciting, I noticed that my nerves suffered from the endless changes in the working life. I was already thinking about moving to the quiet wilderness or training myself as a sheep carer. Luckily I didn’t have to resort to so radical measures, as I found the opportunity to take alternating leave.
A year ago I started my leave, full of inspiration and plans. My spouse then pointed out that it’s time to practise a slower lifestyle and not continue the tightly scheduled life. I managed to discharge my extra energy by working at our summer cottage. We felled trees, burned twigs and piled logs. Some old structures and the stairs of the cottage were repaired. In the summer I got to enjoy the much envied “teachers’ summer holiday” and had more energy to treat my friends and relatives.
In the autumn we did something that we had been dreaming about for a long-time: a trip to Spain in our own car. At the beginning of October we set out from the Port of Turku by ferry towards Sweden. There were beautiful vistas along the way and we stopped particularly in the South of France to admire the wine region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the historical city of Avignon. We enjoyed the light, warm weather and varied landscapes of Spain for nearly two months before returning to Turku in December. Despite the weather and darkness it was nice to be back in Finland and start waiting for the Christmas.
BioTurku is waiting
As the days grew longer in the spring I realised the fact that I will soon have to return to work. At first I felt like on the first day at school: wonder how I will manage with the hectic work and how much has changed.
There was no reason to worry, though. At work I met my old, nice colleagues, and after all not that much had changed during one year. I still work for the biotechnology industry in Turku, help in establishing and internationalising of companies. The BioTurku brand is still going strong. At national level we focus on Future Health under Tekes’s Innovative Cities programme. The one-year break gave me new strength and enthusiasm for my work. I can recommend it if you have the opportunity to shake off the routines!
Our Senior Advisor focusing on Biotechnology returned from alternating leave in late March.