Winds of change – new career sailing ahead

I turned sixty in July. To my surprise many random acquaintances, after hearing of my life’s milestone and congratulating continued in the same breath by asking: “When are you planning on retiring? Made any plans yet?”

© Michael Müller

© Michael Müller

I answered: Haven’t really thought about it? “Really! Isn’t it high time!” was the surprised reply. I must confess I was somewhat annoyed. Is this, how people may end up in a life crisis? Those around you start making an issue of one’s calendar age. One night, one day – your birthday and all of a sudden you take a big leap toward old age in the minds’ of some people.

Age is a mindset. Some are born old while others are young at heart even nearing 100 years. If you don’t use it you loose it holds true for both muscles and the mind. Picking your brain with life’s various challenges may not ensure a long life, but it will make it more interesting.

I decided to stop hearing the question on retirement, as a simple “no” wasn’t a sufficient answer to those asking. As a research professor of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (FIOH) I was in the midst of ending the Brain and Work research program and preparing to take the lead of a new five-year one named Brainwork and Technology. Plans on aims and focus and main content had been made together with my colleagues at the institute. The Brain Work Research Centre will play a key role in carrying out the various projects of the program. Work will be done together with both research and industrial collaborators outside the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. We were ready to go and preparing to make the final touches to work plans for the coming year.

However, fate stepped into the game and an unexpected opportunity presented itself to me when August was turning to September. After a few weeks serious thinking I took a leap to the unknown. I decided to make a career move after 25 years at FIOH, of them the last ten years as a research professor in applied cognitive neuroscience and neuroergonomics. In November I started work at Nokia Technologies. So I am now the nearly 12-week-old Medical Expert at Nokia.

There comes a time, when it is time to move on; to let go, pass the ball and make way for, competent and able people to continue the work.

At Nokia Technologies work is in full swing and at the same time I am learning the ropes of the new working environment, familiarizing myself with new working cultures, getting to know new people and how they work.

In this transitional phase between careers I feel that the most important element of my work: communication and networking with people, teaming up to plan, dream and make dreams happen is still in the core of doing – as it has always been. I also feel that by changing jobs I haven’t lost connection to those people I have worked with throughout the years. The ways of working have changed and new people are being woven into the humane web.

When I was 59 years old one could say I was an old fifty, but now I’m a young sixty. Inspired by this thought and new experiences, I am starting a new series of blogs. They will be describing the adventures of a neurologist working at Nokia Technologies as the in-house Medical Expert. Stay tuned!


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