“You can’t make a difference by doing nothing”
By voting, Myllymäki wants to promote issues close to young people in particular. Photo: Susanna Kekkonen
Nick Myllymäki has voted in almost every election where he’s been entitled to vote. He wants to exercise his right to vote and wants more young people in decision-making positions.
“Four months. That’s how long I’ll work here and see if I find something better to do.” This is what Nick Myllymäki of Espoo thought when he started working at K-Market Hakaniemi in Helsinki.
But he liked the work so much that his four-month trial period has since turned into eight years. During that time, the retail sector has gone through several upheavals, the biggest of them perhaps being the deregulation of store opening hours by a decision of Parliament in 2016.
“I got my first first retail job was when I was in upper-secondary school. Later I worked in similar positions through a staff agency. At the time I didn’t mind having random shifts from the staff agency, because I was still living with my parents. The shifts being assigned for one week and not for another didn’t wreck my livelihood,” says Myllymäki, who is now a member of PAM.
Now 29, Myllymäki graduated from upper-secondary school, completed his military service and headed to a brief stint at the S-Market in Kauniainen. After falling unemployed for a short period he got a phone call to come work in Hakaniemi where he works to this very day.
Myllymäki’s life is different from most other people his age in that he typically works weekends and evenings. Getting a free evening to attend his friend’s 30th birthday was tricky. Luckily the friend announced the party early enough for Myllymäki to shuffle his shifts around.
“There are no absolute times when shops close anymore,” he says. “I work in a small shop where it’s more difficult to swap shifts than in some of the larger ones, as there are certain tasks that may have not have been taught to all employees.”
Myllymäki is also exceptional in his age group because of his enthusiasm for voting. He has voted in almost every election since receiving the right to vote. For example, only 19.8% of those entitled to vote in the 2018 parish elections cast their vote, but Myllymäki was among them.
“I’ve been given the right to vote, and I intend to exercise it whenever I can,” Myllymäki says. He believes voting is a good way to make a difference.
”You can’t make a difference by doing nothing.”
Myllymäki says his childhood home wasn’t particularly political, but they did always emphasise the importance of voting and made sure to vote in elections.
In PAM’s Congress elections, Myllymäki intends to vote for a young supervisor in the retail field. He says he wants to do his part to get more young people both into the Parliament and the Union Congress. “35% of all PAM members are under the age of 31, but they are underrepresented in the Union Congress elections.
At the last Congress elections in 2015, 11% of elected candidates were under 31. The average age of the current Parliament is 51.
Myllymäki joined PAM six months ago at the recommendation of his friend. There were a couple of spots open on the stand up paddle boarding course for young PAM members, and the adventurous Myllymäki joined in. He says that when he joined PAM, he jumped directly into the deep end of the pool. Paddle boarding turned into membership, and he quickly joined PAM’s youth group for Helsinki-Uusimaa.
“I don’t know why I hadn’t joined PAM sooner. I just hadn’t looked into what the union does.”
This article was published for the first time 18 February, 2019.