Johanna Karhu, well-known as the heart of S-market Outokumpu and the regional manager for the area, ended up working for us during her year off after graduating from secondary school. This exceptional “year off” at PKO has now lasted for 25 years already. Despite this, she has managed to study for six degrees while working, and a seventh may still be ahead! 

My career at PKO started when I decided to take a year off after passing the matriculation examination. I had worked as a reporter at a local newspaper during secondary school, but I was also interested in the commercial field and could not make up my mind between the two. I started working at S-market Viinijärvi and already got to stand in for the manager during the first summer holiday season at that time. I felt a strong pull toward this field from the start, because here you have the opportunity to work with people and concretely see your own handiwork. As I recall, receiving responsibility affected my decision to choose this line of work back then.

I’m currently a regional manager in PKO’s retail business. S-market Outokumpu is my primary workplace, where I work as a store manager. In addition, I’m responsible for nine other units. Since starting the year off after graduating, I’ve studied six degrees while working here. I’m currently studying educational sciences.

As an employer, PKO is very reliable, honest and secure. I can be genuinely proud of working for this company. The best thing about my work is definitely development. Developing oneself and helping others develop at the same time. I’ve been supporting and growing new store managers and people in charge. In my work, I get to help people succeed and surpass themselves, as well as do things that make the everyday work easier for the whole team. That’s the best thing.

The most memorable moment in my career was when I was appointed regional manager. I was the first woman in the job, and that was a big deal. It still makes me emotional when I think back to that moment. It’s also been wonderful to be able to earn my place and succeed in the work.

PKO is really a workplace that suits me perfectly. I can honestly say that, and the positive thing is that we can all affect what kind of a workplace we have. To quote a former colleague of mine, “Do you want to be the one who brings a good mood to the workplace when they leave for home or when they arrive for work?”