Four decades of a multi-talent

  • 26.10.2020

The phrase "the early bird gets the worm" describes Päivi Salojärvi at PackageMedia customer service excellently. Just after four in the morning her alarm clock goes off, and before leaving for work, Päivi reads the newspaper, enjoys breakfast, and walks her dog. She is an early bird at work as well. Regardless of flexible work schedules, and her 30 min commute, she usually arrives first every morning, and this she has done for 40 years already with us.

In September of 1980, she started her first working day at Kotkan Kirjapaino. As a new graduate, a relative told her that the printing works was looking for new employees, so she went straight to the company and asked for a job, and that was that. A brave and direct approach payed off.

Another option was an electrical engineering

After secondary school, Päivi, like many young people, was considering different career paths. She got her first experience of working life while working in a kindergarten, next she did a stint at Kymen Asuste as a store decoration assistant. The decoration work was enjoyable, she was handy and had excellent color recognition. Päivi's hobbies, crafts and drawing, and her skills found her applying for a vocational degree in graphics. In addition to being creative, Päivi was also interested in technology, a good fit all around. An alternative to studying graphic arts she had electrical engineering.

As a Hamina native, Päivi almost missed the entrance exams of the vocational college as it was in the city of Porvoo, and the time for the exams were only stated in the local paper, one that Päivi did not read. Personal initiative, once again, saved her study dreams. She was able to take the entrance exam after the others, and under the supervising eye of an officer in the employment office she did just that, and she got in with the best grades of her whole class.

Transformation as the norm

Päivi has had time to see many changes during her forty years of work. The employer has remained the same, but the work itself has changed dramatically as the company has gone through several major transformations. The company name has changed to PackageMedia, manufacturing plant has moved from Hamina to Inkeroinen in the early 2000s, and the products have changed from matches to paper forms onto personalized smart packaging of today.

One of the most significant changes affecting working life and manufacturing is digitalization, and this Päivi truly enjoys. In the past, when working in pre-press, work interruptions often caused errors. Nowadays, everything is real-time, and on a screen, no need to start from scratch after an interruption. On the other hand, looking at the screen all day has perhaps reduced communal discussions and communication with colleagues.

Often in business, the move to new technology is a strategic decision. However, Päivi has also seen other ways of transforming, where pure misfortune has been the driver. One ordinary working day in the 80s, Päivi's colleague had forgotten to lock the frame of the letterpress printing machine. The press was started, a horrible rumble was heard, and loose machine parts everywhere, including between the rollers, and a CEO in shock. The time of the letterpress ended with this unfortunate incident. However, the letterpress was replaced by a new offset sheet-fed printing press, and thus the company took a great leap forward to the latest technology.

Always learning something new

In addition to the huge transformations the company has gone through, and how working life in general has changed, also every working day is full of change. When you come to work in the morning, you can't imagine how the day will turn out. According to Päivi, this is exactly why she has enjoyed working at PackageMedia for these forty years. Change makes work interesting.

Over the decades, Päivi's assignments have also varied. There is not a task in the printing factory that she wouldn't know. Päivi started her career working in print surface manufacturing. After that, she has done pre-press, post-processing, sales, and her current customer service role. Over her career, she has mastered so many, and diverse, fields of expertise. She still has a few more years before retirement, and she surely will add a few new skill-sets yet.

"There is no end to this until I end my career", says Päivi Salojärvi with a laugh.