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Working at the port – A woman working in a male-dominated field: Marianna Järvi, Traffic Operator for Finnlines (Port of Naantali)

Encountering different kinds of situations and people is definitely one of the best parts of my job.” – Marianna Järvi, Traffic Operator for Finnlines (Port of Naantali)

How long have you worked at the Port of Naantali, and what is your normal day at work like?

“I started work as a Traffic Operator at Finnlines in October 2018. It was a total change of careers for me. Before that, I worked with horses for almost seven years, and I qualified as a riding instructor during that time. You could say that I have an innate need to explain things; tasks related to instructing, advising and telling people about things feel very natural to me – however, I occasionally like to talk about utterly silly things to my co-workers just to balance things out.

Depending on the shift, my normal day at work can involve opening or closing the port terminal, managing mail and other goods carried by ships, checking load units and generally dealing with day-to-day matters as well as the most important thing – loading our ships. Departures vary and the situation of the cargo to be loaded keeps changing throughout the loading process, which means that flexibility is needed.

These days, equality and women’s status and treatment are being talked about a lot in many places, but I feel that everyone can be themselves at Finnlines. Women are treated as equals in teams, even though maritime navigation and logistics are male-dominated fields.”

What is the best thing about your job?

“Encountering different kinds of situations and people is definitely one of the best parts of my job. Maritime navigation and the logistics industry attract all kinds of personalities, and it has been a lot of fun to get to know the interesting people on board ships and at the port. My favourite moments are the times when I meet with customers and the laughter-filled situations with co-workers. For example, one of our customers always gives me an orange before driving to the ship. We don’t have a common language, but both of us smile just as widely every time we meet!

I also thought it was sweet when a customer referred to me as the “port lady” when visiting the desk, because they of course didn’t know my name!”

What is your most memorable day/shift at work, and why is it memorable?

 “I have good memories of last summer – a morning coffee on deck or eating ice cream while enjoying the evening sun by the sea in good company help you slow down and realise how nice normal everyday life can be.”

You do shift work. How do you feel about it?

“Our field staff works morning and evening shifts. The rotation is regular and also includes weekends and public holidays. For me, shift work is an excellent fit. I like a bit of variation in my daily life. It is actually quite interesting to come back to work after having several days off; you never know what interesting things have happened while you have been away. I always have check-in and ship staff working with me, and stevedores for departures on business days, but I work alone in the field.

Working independently feels natural to me.