Electrical Engineer on Maternity Leave

Tiredness, routines, laundry, 10 cups of coffee before noon… No, I am not describing my ordinary day in the lab! Since February 2021 I am on maternity leave with two kids and the days are so full of action that in the evening, I feel like having had a full day at work. Still, I enjoy being at home, and the days include all the aforesaid, but also lots of love and happiness. Anyhow, I drink too much coffee…

Flying Time

I'm an Electrical Engineer and I have worked in Ensto’s testing laboratory in Porvoo since 2010. Originally, I was supposed to work here only for two weeks as a pair of hands was needed in the lab during the Christmas break. My husband Anssi was working for Ensto at that time and because I was studying electrical engineering, he suggested that I could help in testing the heat shrinkable tubing in underground cable accessories. And here I am, working as Laboratory Engineer and Lab Quality Specialist. 11 years later – oh how time flies!

Young Woman, Long Experience

My tasks include mechanical and electrical testing of overhead line accessories, and over the past few years increasingly also of underground cable accessories. It is demanding to test the products in accordance with the standards’ strict requirements but at the same time rewarding as after the effort, the accessories will endure the usage in the networks for decades. My work is independent and requires responsibility as the testing entities are big: from building the tests from start to finish, then reporting and documenting the results. As Quality Specialist I do quality monitoring and testing, create work instructions, and make sure that the Quality Manual is being followed.

Clear Career Target

As early as in the age of 13–14 years I knew I wanted to become an electrical engineer. We have an electrification service and contracting company in the family and hence, I got interested in electricity as a little girl. In addition, my parents built a detached house, and when it came to electrical installations, things didn't go quite right, and I found the electrical power even more interesting. I enjoy working with hands, and when selecting the place to study, I even considered artisan studies. Thanks to my parents, though, I chose engineering as it seemed that there will be work also in the future. And they were right!

Balancing Everyday Life

This is my second time on maternity leave, and my sons Niila and Oula are the hottest topics in life right now. During the first maternity leave I didn’t miss working but this time, it feels like it will be nice to get back to work. I also miss my colleagues sometimes and have visited them at the office to have a cup of coffee (!) together. As the everyday life at home is hectic and we go with little sleep, it is super important to balance the big picture and take care of my own wellbeing, too. I go to Pilates or do yoga, enjoy osteopathic treatment, and exercise as much as possible. Together with the family we go outdoors in nature and as my elder son is interested in bouldering, I have decided to try that myself, too.

Learning by Testing

Testing work teaches me constantly; it is something you can't learn in school. The experience and vision I have gained over the years, have made me the professional I am today. For example, when we started applying for laboratory accreditation, everything was new, and during that process I learned a lot, which was rewarding. I have also studied further to deepen my expertise. If I am honest, as a young woman in a male-dominated industry, I have worked a lot to earn my position. I cannot emphasize too much that both men and women are needed in the electrification business.

Power of Team

The team and its support are important to me. We often brainstorm ideas, which speeds up the process and makes the results better. Our team is quite large, more than 10 people, and as testing is constantly being invested in, there is a lot of work to be done together. I like my colleagues and the work, which is not super stressful. My superior trusts me and has made sure that my tasks have varied during the years. I value being able to combine the work and the family life flexibly. Still, I feel I could do something else at some point to further widen my expertise. This includes studying – as soon as the lastborn starts to sleep better at night…

Jenna Aarnio

The writer of the blog, Jenna Aarnio, works as Laboratory Engineer and Lab Quality Specialist at Ensto in Finland.