The road to the labour market
When I was young, I wanted to be a game developer; creating games couldn’t be anything but fun. But the dream quickly vanished during my first year at the university, as soon as I discovered that my fellow students could handle over 50 programming languages, and finished the homework before the teacher was finished explaining the task. I just wasn’t that passionate about programming. But, by pure chance when I picked my optional courses, I managed to find my niche: interaction design. And within that same niche I finished a master's degree.
In large part, my interest and motivation come from the part-time jobs I had during my university years - all within customer service. Working with people can be quite demanding, both physically and mentally. But if you love the chaos and enjoy all the different challenges that the customers will give you, you will also love working with customer service. I combined this passion with my academic journey. And it was that same combination that gave me the desire to work with interaction design. To be working in the field where computers and humans meet.
After completing studies, one is supposed to get a job
Working with accessibility is something that interested me for several reasons other than my fascination for human-computer interaction. My older brother has severe cerebral palsy; he can’t walk, talk or do many of the things that people take for granted. During my childhood I saw how much my parents fought to get him the equipment and the assistance that he needed and was entitled to. Working with accessibility is for me a kind of extension of my parents fight, but on a more modern arena.
One day I saw a recruiting ad for a position at Funka’s Oslo office. I applied, and was selected for an initial interview, and then for a second one. But none of the candidates (me included) were sent on to the next step. The company was looking for an experienced consultant, and I was a rookie straight out of the university.
So, I did something that was completely new to me. Instead of saying thank you and goodbye, I thought that I could turn directly to Stockholm since Oslo didn’t want me. I sent an email, and waited for a week. Two weeks. A month. No answer. To at least get a response would have been nice!
Nothing will be done if you don’t act
- If I can’t get a job right away, I’ll continue my studies, I thought. My first option was the courses that Funka had in Sweden since they are more frequent and also cheaper than in Norway. The decision to take the night bus to Stockholm from Oslo was easy.
The training was good, and afterwards I summoned up some courage and asked if anyone knew where the job applications ended up. And then I actually stopped the CEO herself in the middle of the hallway. When she saw me, and realized who I was, she exclaimed - But what are you doing here?! If the confusion was because she remembered my emails, because she wondered why I was talking to her, or because I’m Norwegian I don’t know. Probably all of the above. But she reacted positively to my spontaneous appearance, and asked if I had a few minutes to spare.
I was a little scared when I sat down at her office, this I can’t deny. Today I’ve understood that Susanna is like a former colleague of mine; very nice and with a great spirit, but with a strict and a little intimidating appearance when focused. It was not something a nervous Norwegian wondering about what he had gotten himself into was able to appreciate right there and then. But I did my best to show who I am, what I can do and what I want. And I must have said something right, because when I walked out of the office I had myself an internship at Funka.
And that is the story that led me, on Monday October 6, 2014, to nervously walk up the stairs to Funka’s office in Stockholm, and to my first day as an intern - a journey I hope won’t stop for quite a while!
Glenn Ivar Husom