At the start of 2020, new things were starting here at Koala Consulting and Training. I began with an intensive programme teaching presentation skills at a client organisation in the financial sector. I also intended to provide courses for people who are already good presenters but want to brush up their professional English vocabulary in information technology, human resources, and medicine. Unfortunately, both of these projects got cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 has turned the world upside-down. We’ve had to adapt to wearing masks, social distancing, and not being able to do all the things we were used to, like travel, sports, theatre, and social events…or even just visiting our relatives. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store became frustrating when all the toilet paper and canned goods ran out. Then, when the shops were restocked, it became dangerous, as we spent time in an enclosed space with people who could be infected. Those who could afford it got home deliveries, but that’s not possible for everybody. Our work also changed, as we had to do it from home, if that was possible. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve been 75% working from home for about a decade, so raising it to 100% was not a big stretch. But many people in customer service, trades, delivery, catering, health care and so on cannot work from home, so their jobs became unsafe as well. And many others lost their jobs as their businesses went broke because they weren’t allowed to operate. Public health is more important than economics, but economic devastation also affects physical health as it puts hard stresses onto people with financial responsibilities to their employees, families or other dependants.
Vaccines are already available for the novel coronavirus. Many people are concerned that they have not been tested enough, and that’s a reasonable worry. But we really need it, so let’s hope that it does what it should without side effects, and we can get back to at least something calmer and more balanced as we try to rebuild our lives over the next few years.
Yet 2020 has not been all doom and gloom. People have been asking me for help in updating their CVs and LinkedIn profiles and writing application letters as the employment landscape shifts unpredictably. Despite the coronavirus, companies are still hiring, and there are a lot of job opportunities out there for people with the right skills. A lot of unemployed people will be employed again as we get back to something approximating “normal”.
In addition, while doing research for my copywriting and proofreading clients, I’ve learned about inspiring innovations from both established corporations and new startups in Finland that are going to have wide-reaching positive effects on climate change and the environment in both the short- and long-term. For example, Ocean by Origin processes algae to produce ingredients for food, beverages, cosmetics and medicines. Neste makes 100% renewable diesel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. Konecranes manufactures an electric forklift that runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. And that’s just three from a very long list of products that are already starting to benefit the world.
I moved from Helsinki to Joensuu in the autumn. I wrote a blog about this, so I won’t go into detail here. Now I’ve been here a few months, I can say that it’s a lovely small town in the Finnish countryside, a little different but mostly the same as when I studied here years ago. At the winter equinox, just before Christmas, the day is barely 5 hours long, but in the summer, it’s nearly 24 hours of daylight. It’s incredibly beautiful and almost surreal. When the cloud cover parts, we might even get to see the aurora borealis.
The year 2021 should start as per normal as I serve my clients with copywriting, editing and proofreading services. My new offering will be presentation skills for teleconferencing. All of my services will remain online until it’s safe to meet and congregate in groups again.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of my clients and business partners in 2020. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!
Koala Consulting and Training will not be operating from 23 December until 1 January, 2021. However, please feel free to send an email if you have something to ask or discuss.
I’ll be back in business on 2 January. See you next year!