Most of us perk up with a warm coffee in the morning, but in parts of Finland, some begin their day with a swim in a frozen lake or sea. It is a surprisingly invigorating and healthy experience, which even foreign visitors are being encouraged to try at specialist pools such as Allas Sea Pool. Organisations usually create and maintain these holes and watch over them to prevent casualties.
Lapland’s reindeer are important to the region, both for tourism and for farming. Reindeer farming is a highly traditional and lucrative job in Finland, which could even gain you some tax breaks. It is still usually done by the indigenous Sami people, who have been farming reindeer since Roman times, but anyone is open to apply. Anybody living in a reindeer zone can legally own them, so you could even start your own reindeer farm. It is difficult work in cold conditions and you will need some knowledge of Finnish and perhaps Sami, but you will still get to immerse yourself in a beautiful landscape and fascinating local culture. You can even get your own snowmobile to traverse the landscape and keep an eye on your herd.
Caring for sled dogs at husky safari centres is a popular gap year volunteer job in Finland. Who wouldn’t want to take a year off to look after huskies? You can even train as a husky musher and lead safaris across the Arctic. Again, employees need to be prepared for hard physical work and be at least bi-lingual and good with animals.
The official home of Santa Claus obviously has a demand for actors to dress up and hand out gifts at locations such as the Santa Clause Village in Rovaniemi. But you don’t necessarily have to apply to work at one of these places to play Santa in Finland, however. Many families hire an actor to play Santa and deliver Christmas gifts to their house, sometimes on a reindeer sleigh. If you want to earn some extra Christmas money, you like children, and your Finnish is good enough, all you have to do is hire a red suit.
It isn’t only Santa who is in demand. Actors are needed to play his elves as well. The Santa Claus Village has a post office which hires actors to play the elves who work in the post office, selling gifts and helping children write letters to Santa. People visit the village from all over the world, so the post office prefers elves who can speak multiple languages as well as those with skills in acting, working with children, and retail.
It is a highly common pastime to use a sauna in Finland, and the more traditional public or hotel saunas still hire a ‘washer woman’ to literally bathe the sauna guests, much to the shock and horror of many a foreign visitor. This job needs someone who isn’t squeamish about seeing and bathing naked people of both sexes.
Being paid to sleep sounds like many people’s dream job. Hotel Finn in central Helsinki did just that in 2013, paying bloggers to test the comfort of their rooms then report on them in their blogs. Surprisingly enough, sleeping wasn’t the only job requirement. Applicants also needed to be multilingual in both English, Finnish, and preferably Russian.
While not technically a job, it is a way that some people in Finland earn extra cash when they are broke and desperate. Finnish supermarkets and corner shops exchange recycled bottles and cans for discount vouchers, yet some irresponsible people still throw theirs away. Bottle collectors go through rubbish or pick up discarded bottles from the street to get a voucher and pay for their dinner. Finland also pays people to physically sort through trash, both to recycle more and provide more jobs.
Many people dream of being a costume character at a Disney theme park. Others want to dress up as one of the characters from the Moomin franchise at the Moominworld theme park, either taking photos with visitors or performing in one of the stage shows. The park is only open during the summer and the entry requirements are almost as strict as those at Disneyland. With a second Moominworld due to open in Japan, there will soon be job openings there as well.
Finland provides car manufactures with a location to test their new vehicles and tyres in extreme winter conditions, with specialist testing facilities in Northern Finland offering year-round testing. Working at one of these facilities requires strong automotive skills and often specialist training in a technical field.
People are flocking to Finland from all over the world to see the Northern Lights, but it is impossible to predict when and where they are going to show up. Rather than having visitors endlessly crane their necks to the sky, some resorts are hiring Northern Lights spotters to do the job for them and send out alerts when the lights appear. No previous experience or Finnish language skills are necessary and it is a temporary job only available during the winter, but applicants must be prepared to stay up all night in temperatures below zero. But for those who are willing, they get to take in the beauty of the Northern Lights and get paid for it at the same time.