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Home When Pia, 55, found herself unemployed, she was relieved: ”There are times in working life when you have to consider your options”

When Pia, 55, found herself unemployed, she was relieved: “There are times in working life when you have to consider your options”


  • Income security
  • Personal story
  • Unemployment
  • YTK

Unemployment was a necessary temporary step for Pia Talvitie when exhaustion took her by surprise. She has important things to say to those just starting out in their careers.

Pia Talvitie from Kerava has had many twists and turns in her career. After high school, she considered becoming a craft instructor and tried her hand at studying art, but it took time to find her own place.

Although she had no clear career goals, Talvitie hoped to find a job that matched her values, where she could experience a sense of community and feel needed. After the birth of her first child, Talvitie decided to study to become an oral hygienist.

The work felt meaningful and for many years Talvitie travelled from her home in Kerava to her workplace in Mikkeli. As she got older, however, the job began to feel like a burden. Sometimes Talvitie wondered if there was more to the world of work.

After 27 years in the industry, Talvitie applied for alternation leave and then resigned without a contingency plan.

– I felt exhausted, even though I didn’t recognise it at the time. Unemployment is never an easy option, but I came to a complete stop and had made my decision,” she says.

The benefits of a fund membership

Talvitie’s period of unemployment eventually lasted three years. As a member of the YTK Unemployment Fund, Talvitie was paid an earnings-related allowance after a 45-day waiting period, which guaranteed a better income than the basic allowance paid by Kela. The overriding feeling was one of relief, even though, especially in the beginning, her faith and motivation for the future were tested.

– The unemployed are labelled as job-averse, but that is not the point. There can be breaks in your working life, health problems or a situation where you have to think about alternatives. I was in my fifties and I thought that if I wanted to do something else, I had to change direction,” says Talvitie.

Towards something new

While unemployed, Talvitie spent her weekdays writing job applications and updating her skills and CVs. When the need arose, Talvitie turned to the YTK Unemployment Fund for help in applying for and paying benefits.

– I found the YTK Unemployment Fund to be fast and reliable and the service friendly. It had been a long time since my previous unemployment and things had changed. The YTK helped me through the bureaucratic jungle and provided me with up-to-date information on changes in working life and unemployment benefits. The OmaYTK application is also easy to use,” says Talvitie.

One day, Talvitie met an acquaintance on the ski slopes and told them about her situation. As a result of the conversation, Talvitie was offered a job at a kindergarten. She jumped at the chance and, while working, completed her training as a janitor with an apprenticeship. At the end of her placement, Talvitie was offered a job in line with her new training, but soon had to give it up for health reasons. A new period of unemployment followed.

– It was a terrible disappointment to myself that this had happened when I had just completed my training. Fortunately, this time I knew better what to do to get ahead in the world of work,” she says.

If Talvitie could give one piece of advice to a young person, or to others starting out in their careers, he would urge them to join an unemployment fund as soon as possible.

Adversity is part of life

Currently, 55-year-old Talvitie works as a personal assistant. The work is varied, rewarding and fulfilling. But for Talvitie, work is only one part of life, and she recognises that happiness is made up of other factors too. Spending time with her grandchildren brings her great joy, as does an active lifestyle.

– I am happy when I have an adequate income with well-earned holidays and rest. My aim is to retire in good health when the time comes. I want to enjoy life,” says Talvitie.

If Talvitie could give one piece of advice to a young person like herself or others starting out in their careers, she would urge them to join an unemployment fund as soon as possible. That way, you have a secure income in case of unemployment or redundancy. She has found the YTK Unemployment Fund to be the most suitable option for her.

– The YTK suits me because I’ve moved between different sectors and it would be difficult to imagine belonging to a particular trade union. The YTK is an independent, multi-professional and self-developing service, which even helps you to find a job. Adversity, such as unemployment, is part of life. They should be taken as hurdles, not obstacles.

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