The consequences of a chain of yes

Yes, yes always wins. A reduced ability to say “no” can be a strength. Yes, a word as simple as “yes” may take you to places. “Yes” is a symbol of accepting an opportunity. Therefore, be a Yes Man or a Yes Woman. Here’s one example of a chain of yes and the consequences that followed.

December 2015
QUESTION: Do you want to work as the coordinator of Oulu Business School student recruitment team?
MY THOUGHTS: It would be a great experience of leading a team and marketing. This would also give me a little money. On the other hand, it will be very time consuming and that isn’t big money.
MY ANSWER: Yes.
CONSEQUENCES RELEVANT TO THIS STORY: I got to know the University employees.

April 2016
QUESTION: Should I apply for the position of a student trainee in the University of Oulu?
MY THOUGHTS: An interesting position with responsibility and versatile tasks. I could have a shot since I consider myself suitable and some of the familiar hiring persons might consider me suitable as well. But the duration of the contract is way longer than I wanted and it would make my September extremely busy with work and studies.
MY ANSWER: Yes.
CONSEQUENCES RELEVANT TO THIS STORY: I got the job. As a part of my internship I ended up updating UniOulu’s social media channels and I handled that well. I also got to know Tellus mastermind Sergei Kopytin and our university's solution designer (means he does it all) Kimmo Kuortti. They both liked my way of doing things.

October 2016
QUESTION (asked by Kimmo Kuortti): I am proposing a session for EAIE 2017 (European Association for International Education) conference with my colleague from Netherlands. The topic will be “Beyond Facebook: social media platforms that young people actually use”. Would you like to be one of the three speakers of this session?
MY THOUGHTS: Wow, did he really ask me? Based on quick Google search, this conference is a big international higher education event organized in Seville, Spain. I consider myself a pretty good speaker but my experience is very limited when speaking English.
MY ANSWER: Yes.
CONSEQUENCES RELEVANT TO THIS STORY: Our session proposal was accepted for the conference. We planned the session throughout the summer 2017 and in September 2017 I traveled to Seville to attend this conference.

 

January 2017
QUESTION (asked by Sergei Kopytin): Would you like to work for Tellus and take care of our social media and communications?
MY THOUGHTS: This would be as creative and pleasant job that a person in this stage of studies can possibly get. Otherwise, it could be hard to work 60% meanwhile studying.
MY ANSWER: Yes.
CONSEQUENCES RELEVANT TO THIS STORY: I am now an actual university employee.

 

Four yesses. One yes led to another question and another yes and this sequence basically resulted in three jobs. Most importantly I am now a permanent employee here at the university doing something creative and meaningful. On top of that, the 5-day trip to Seville was a nice addition. Even though the trip was purely work-related, the fact that you’re in that kind of a city and temperature (from 34 to 39 degrees) makes it automatically a holiday as well.

I expected this EAIE conference in Seville to be big but not as huge as it was. With around 6000 participants it’s the biggest higher education conference in Europe with numerous participants from different continents as well. Nearly all universities from Europe are there somehow presented as well as all the biggest companies whose business is higher education. EAIE is a huge organization that trains higher education professionals and lobbies educational issues in the European Union.

 

At this type of conference filled with pros, I asked myself a question: what am I, 22-year-old bachelor degree student from Oulu, doing here. The answer came clear to me in Social Media Campfire session (group discussion) that I attended. I knew new social media better than most participants and they were highly interested in my views because I represent a student’s viewpoint on social media communication.

On top of the reason for me being there, I learned some other lessons as well. Here are some:

  • It’s fun to travel for work if the destination is Seville and you can stay in a good hotel and enjoy all the receptions after a day of work
  • It would be actually even better to stay in an AirBnB since you can live in pretty luxurious apartments located in the center of everything with affordable prices
  • mytaxi isn’t a Über-like app, it just orders you a normal, normal-priced taxi
  • 300 higher education professionals are an awesome audience to have when you’re presenting
    • It is also possible to succeed even though the situation might be a little frightening
    • If it goes well, it feels pretty good
  • Conferences are pretty damn hard work! You have to plan your presentations, have meetings and participate sessions approximately from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that you go to different receptions, unofficial meetings and networking until 2 or 3 a.m. No mad partying, just actually mingling with work-related people.
  • You don’t sleep in conferences. You go to sleep 2 or 3 a.m., sleep 2-5 hours and continue to breakfast and morning meetings. Or, in the worst case scenario, you participate in the conference running contest starting at 6:45 a.m. in a totally different part of the city. And you don’t want to skip since university paid for it and it’s an experience. And when the competition begins you talk with friends and give some head start for two middle-aged men that you think you can catch anytime. But they turn out to be some superhuman running dads that you simply can’t catch. Ever. And you finish third. That’s not too bad. I even received a Dutch cheese slicer as a prize. And it even had years of warranty. So, if I break it, I will mail it to Netherlands to get fixed.

And the ultimate lesson I learned: SAY YES OFTEN. The chain of yes might get you to places. As well as engaging in activities outside the curriculum while studying. 

 

Atte Räinä
Tellus team 
atte.raina@oulu.fi 
The writer believes in a theory that it can't be a coincidence that the first person in the Moon was Neil Armostrong and Neil A written backwards is alien.

Last updated: 27.10.2017

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