Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Big Day at IBM Finland

As some of you may have noticed, I have not mentioned much about working at IBM Finland.  Though I do mention in my sidebar that I will share my experiences working in Finland, I want to be careful about talking too much about my employer.  IBM does encourages social networking and lots of colleagues have blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, but working in HR, I think it is better if I only share general, topical thoughts.  And of course, none of those general thoughts necessarily reflect those of my employer!

Monday was a big day at IBM Finland, though, so I have to share!  At least it was for me.  As I went to the cafeteria for lunch with a few of my colleagues (that’s what all people in Finland who work together call each other – they are “colleagues”, not “co-workers”, not “associates”, nothing else – they all refer to each other as “colleagues.”  From Nokia, to IBM, to the grocery store, to the restaurants.  They are all “colleagues,” but I digress . . .)

As we were walking to the cafeteria, one colleague asked me if I had noticed the American flag outside.  Granted, I walked right by it in the morning and didn’t notice, but sure enough, on the four flag poles where there are usually four Finnish flags, there were three Finnish flags and one American flag.  What a sight for sore eyes!   

Outside the IBM Finland office
The American Ambassador to Finland was visiting IBM and in his honor, they were flying the flag.  Our Ambassador here is a bit of a local celebrity.  His name is Bruce Oreck, and he is of the Oreck Vacuum family.  He has been here since August of last year and has made quite the name for himself.  The Finns really seem to enjoy him.  I think part of it is he doesn’t seem to come across as a typical ambassador.  At least, when I picture an Ambassador, I don’t picture someone who looks like this:

The Ambassador is the one holding the bees (with the gold hoop earring)
Photo courtesy of the US State Department
I think he looks like Mr. Clean, so quite appropriate that he is from a vacuum business family!  He apparently has varied interests including a vast knowledge of minerals, he’s a body builder, and he’s into beekeeping.  Apparently, he has one of the largest private mineral collections in the U.S.  He has also introduced beekeeping to the Embassy here and they make honey and candles.  I am lucky enough to be going to an event at the Embassy in a few weeks, so I will report back if I see any evidence of the minerals, or the bees!

As I am known to do if there is a potential celebrity sighting on the horizon, I will loiter.  So, loiter in the IBM lobby I did.  I didn’t have to wait long before I saw Ambassador Oreck.  He was with IBM Finland’s head executive, so not really appropriate for me to go and introduce myself, but I did follow them for a short walk to the auditorium ;-)  Not sure when my next celebrity sighting will be, so I had to take advantage.

In looking for a photo of the Ambassador, I came across his blog.  If you are interested in reading about what he does while in Finland, you can read more about it here.  I found it to be quite interesting and informative.  He’s definitely leading a more exciting life in Finland than we are, but I did find some Finland travel destination ideas!

More to come about the Ambassador and the Embassy in a few weeks . . .

1 comment:

  1. Not quite like Eddie Vedder at Pier 1....but still! Love reading about your adventures. Going to look up the IBM site in Helsinki to see what your new office looks like.

    ETA: Darn, no picture....I'll Google map it.