A beautiful career

The pandemic made us reassess our work but there is a new pandemic in town to help chart a new course.

Career Design Lab

There is beauty in new beginnings.

A new academic year is always an opportunity to start anew but this year it felt particularly enlivening. The Day One ceremonies at Aalto were still virtual but they provided hope and inspiration for creating the new normal.

Routines disrupted

While the disruption of everyday routines has taken its toll, the pandemic has also opened up a generative space to rethink our work and careers. There’s the case of a student who decided to let go of his plans for a globetrotting career to pursue a simpler life and a house with a garden; an alumna who wanted to return to her creative passion in fashion after years of trying to pull off a secure but soulless career; and a colleague who realized that place-independent work was key to his creativity.

Re-examining assumptions about work does not necessarily result in radical changes, nor does it require a major disruption. It should, in fact, be a regular practice to help steer your career amidst the unavoidable transitions and upheavals in the future of work.

Driven by beauty

It is not easy to question one’s taken-for-granted assumptions but knowing how to make changes in practice is even less so. If you are unsure of how to steer your way, consider the example of Professor of Applied Physics Risto Ilmoniemi, who was appointed Aalto Distinguished Professor at the university's opening ceremony. In his moving speech, he talked about his career - and beauty.

The career of professor Ilmoniemi has been driven by the beauty of mathematics, physics and ideas. And what a beautiful career it is! The “pandemic of beauty and inspiration spreading from Aalto” professor Ilmoniemi is advocating for is something we can happily spread and let drive our careers.

Appreciate the aesthetic

The importance of beauty is that it connects you to the aesthetic, non-rational elements of your work and career. It is not only about how things look but how they feel – whether these things are ideas, term papers, theories, marketing campaigns or customer interactions. Do they feel elegant, good, and right to you?

If you ignore the aesthetic, you will feel disconnected from your work and lose a sense of meaning. But if you take time to notice and follow beauty, it can guide your path towards creativity and fulfillment.

If the corona pandemic has made your question your path, the pandemic of beauty envisioned by professor Ilmoniemi can help you chart a new course. Follow beauty and create a beautiful career!

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Kirsi La Pointe

Blog writer

Kirsi LaPointe, D.Sc., develops and facilitates new career programs for Aalto University students and alumni based on the principles of career design and life-wide learning. Her research and expertise focus on career transitions, meaningful work practices and inclusion, and she is particularly interested in practice-based, narrative approaches to studying identity, work, and careers.

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