Mervi’s story: shoe seller turned HR company account manager

I work at Biisoni as an account manager and feel like it is my dream job. My story proves that even if you do not have higher education, you can find you dream job and realise your career-related dreams with hard work and perseverance. Just believe in yourself and you can do anything!

I grew up in the countryside, so I got used to work already as a child. My actual career began at the age of 15 when I got a summer job at a local shoe store. In the end, that summer job turned into seven years as a shoe seller alongside my studies. Sales and customer service have always felt pleasant and natural to me. This job provided me with a good foundation for working in customer service and sales tasks. 

Selling shoes turned into a new dream

In upper secondary school, I became infatuated with psychology and was sure that I would be a psychotherapist in the future. I studied psychology at an open university for a while. However, I could not get into university with an average of “good” grades. I weighed up my options and realised that the only areas that interested me besides psychology were sales and hairdressing.

I had always thought that I would obtain a degree from a university or a university of applied sciences, but instead I started studying to become a hairdresser. I am a creative person, I love beauty, and I feel I have a good sense of aesthetics. After graduating as a hairdresser, I became an entrepreneur right away after buying a retired hairdresser’s business. My father is an entrepreneur, so after observing an entrepreneur’s daily life for all my life, I thought that I would never follow the same path. Life is full of surprises. 

Working as a hairdresser was meaningful and my customers were wonderful. Naïvely, I thought that I would do it for the rest of my life and curbed any thoughts of completing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. My reasoning was: why study for no reason since I will be doing this until the end of time? But over the years, my eyes became sensitive to chemicals. Eventually, my irritated eyes could no longer withstand sunlight without sunglasses. The last few months I worked with goggles on, but when I took maternity leave in 2017, I knew I would never work as a hairdresser again. 

Maternity leave gave a push toward sales work

When I was on maternity leave, I had time to think what to do next. I realised that the only meaningful alternative to me was sales. I have always said that if I were to sell something, it would be either apartments or cars, but I don’t know the first thing about cars. In other words, the natural route was to become a real estate agent. I was lucky and succeeded on the first try.  

Working as a real estate agent was very interesting and meaningful. I had decided to attain the status of authorised real estate agent on my first try and worked really hard on it. Every evening, after my little child was in bed, I opened a law book and started cramming. Overall, I read several thousand pages for my authorised real estate agent’s exam. It is in my nature to make anything happen if I really decide to succeed. I passed the exam on my first attempt and at that moment, I felt invincible. I knew that I could achieve anything I wanted in life.

When I was working as a real estate agent, I suddenly became pregnant. When I took maternity leave, I had to think about returning to my life as a real estate agent. As much as I liked my job, working on weekends and late in the evening just did not feel like a workable solution with two small children. Commission-based pay also creates a certain degree of uncertainty in personal finances. I had decided that before returning to my job as a real estate agent, I would keep an eye on new vacancies and apply to those that really spoke to me.

Seeking employment and jumping into the unknown

The first vacancy that caught my attention was the position of a recruitment consultant at Biisoni. I had no prior knowledge of the work, but when I read the job description, I felt like it was me who they were describing. On pure instinct, I applied to the position without knowing anything about the industry. I was lucky to be selected from several dozen applicants. Fortunately, my supervisor saw my real potential despite me having no university degree. Already after the first week at work, I knew I was in the right place.

My work is very important because I help people find employment. The hectic nature of this work also suits me perfectly. I work very quickly and am able to multitask. I also feel that I read people well, which is important in this job. My past psychology studies haven’t hurt me either. The workplace has a culture that values employees and a good team spirit. For once, I felt I was shining at my job!

As a performance-oriented person, I set myself the ambitious goal of finding employment for 200 people per year. With hard work, I reached my goal. I consider this my greatest work-related achievement so far.

After working at Biisoni for over a year, I got promoted as an account manager. My current job description is rather sales oriented. Of course, I still do recruitment and headhunting, but mainly for more challenging officer positions. My employer supports me in developing and training myself. I have the opportunity to grow in my role according to my interests. I am surrounded by great colleagues and the best possible supervisor.

To revisit the beginning, I have told my story to prove that life will carry you and guide you in the right direction. I strongly believe that everyone will find a purpose in their lives, as long as they have the courage to apply themselves and see what life has to offer.

Mervi Lammi