International perspectives – Tuomas’ Story

Rapala VMC is a truly global company with employees in 40 countries. Many people who have been with us for a longer time have, at one point or another, packed their bags and headed abroad to get new experiences. Read more about Tuomas Mustonen’s journey around the globe!

Culture, People | 3 min read

So Tuomas, I know that your career at Rapala has taken you to many places. Can you tell our readers in which countries you have worked this far?

Yes, I’ve indeed had the opportunity to work in several countries. I moved to China at the end of 2011 (I also started at Rapala at the same time) and have since worked also in Indonesia, Estonia, and now Finland. When I was growing up, I always had a feeling that I would like to move abroad, and after I had been an exchange student in Shanghai, moving to China for work felt like something intriguing.

What about what kind of different roles you’ve had?

During my time at Rapala I’ve held several positions and that has kept things interesting. In China I started as a trainee and then moved on to oversee different logistics projects. After about year and a half, my journey took me to Indonesia, Batam island, where the company was starting a new factory. I began to work as an Industrial Engineer and over the span of seven years, I progressed to the role of Factory Manager.

Upon relocating to Estonia, I assumed the position of Head of Logistics (Nordics & Baltics), tasked with managing our new distribution center’s operations. After couple of years there, I relocated to Finland and got some new tasks relating to supply chain and our winter sports business, while keeping my Estonian role. With two small boys in the family, it felt like now is a good time to come back after many years abroad.

What would be your best memory from living abroad?

Ah, there are so many… Listing the obvious, surely getting to know people from different cultures and of course tasting local cuisine. Workwise it was amazing to see how the local working culture operates, and it can indeed differ a lot from the Finnish one. I’ve always tried to keep an open mind and adjust as much as possible to local ways, because that’s also how you’ll gain the respect and trust in your new country.

Have you experienced any “cultural shocks”?

One unexpected thing at Batam was that the local people were very curious of me: sometimes I even got stopped on the street when someone wanted to take a picture with me. It was also a big change to leave China and a busy city with skyscrapers and relocate to a small island, where the pace of life was a lot more relaxed.

What would you tell those people who are thinking now if they should move abroad to work?

Go for it if you get the chance, because most likely you’ll regret it if you don’t. Many times, these are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that you should cherish. My journey abroad (so far) took 12 years, which sounds like a long time, but now thinking back, it went so fast. So as said, go for it! You’ll learn so many new things which will broaden your worldview and workwise build you professionally.

And finally, our standard question… Which Rapala lure would you be and why? 

Never thought of this, but a great question! I would probably choose some original Rapala lure like Countdown. My dad always had those in his tackle box and already as a kid I learnt, that if nothing else works, then those will. So, Countdown it is!