Daniel Valtakari, TEK

Blog: Research background is useful in lobbying

31.8.2022
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Blog post

On a European level, I want to empower personnel to participate more in decision-making that concerns them. In terms of university collaboration, I already have my eyes set on this winter’s salary negotiations in academia.

My work follows more or less along the lines of a traditional school year, partly because about half of my duties involve working with institutions of higher education. The second half has to do with international affairs. The rest of my work is typically distributed more evenly.

Two key elements of my work at the moment are:

As part of my international work, I want to empower personnel to participate more in decision-making that concerns them on a European level. This is not anything new, but is becoming a more burning issue due to social and technological development. The COVID pandemic also drove the shift toward more independent work. As a result of the pandemic, we realized that we can work in many different ways, as long as we agree on the parameters of, say, remote work together. If we have something to give for everyone, everyone will also give it their best.

I myself believe that we will see many more expert and other operations shift back to the old continent, closer to us. The pandemic and now the situation in Ukraine have showed us how easily logistics chains can fail and how important it is to keep the strongest expertise in the newest discoveries in our own hands.

I believe that we will see many more expert and other operations shift back to the old continent, closer to us.

In terms of university collaboration, I meet not only with individual staff members, but also the entire university community. As a union representative, it may sometimes feel like I’m sitting on the other side of the table from them, but I believe that we all want the same thing in the end. I want to build a strong, competent scientific and educational community that we can all be proud of. Keeping this in mind, the issues of individual members can be put into perspective and even tough situations can be addressed in cooperation with employers.

What about me – an endless line of cases, meetings and matters to attend to day after day? Luckily, each day is different, and even the familiar things come with an endless number of variations. Every problem always brings something new and every completed task is a new achievement. My background is in research, a job I very much enjoyed, and now I can often apply the same curiosity and method to finding new solutions in my lobbying. Instead of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, I use the Finlex online service on legal information, but these methods and their solutions are not so very different after all. The biggest problem I have at work is not wanting to let go and take some time off as well. Luckily my wife looks out for my wellbeing.

The future of my work appears more or less the same overall, but I already know that I can expect new nuances and use my little grey cells for all they're worth. The salary negotiations of the academia this winter or solving international issues, facilitating or simply making sure things get done – there’s always something to choose from.

I’m sure you remember the accomplishments of the Icelandic football team in the World Cup?

And what about the most important thing – my amazing colleagues, on all levels of the organization? I’m sure you remember the accomplishments of the Icelandic football team in the World Cup? Unexpected success, beating some of the big football nations. Iceland had an excellent team and a coach (executive director) who was able to seek advice also from outside the organization and give the players enough room to be the best possible version of themselves. This is also what my TEK looks like, a workplace where I get to show my best side together with my colleagues. Not to mention my colleagues at JUKO, YTN and other unions, without forgetting the members.