Laser-cutter Ilari Pietilä: A Little Stress Can Be Rewarding

Laser-cutter Ilari Pietilä believes that a little stress improves concentration and performance. He thrives on decision-making, positive feedback and meeting seemingly impossible deadlines.

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In his job on the laser cutting line, Ilari Pietilä enjoys working and making decisions independently. Outside work he would like to learn to play the guitar properly. ‘ can play a few songs, but I haven’t practised much recently’, he says. Pietilä was photographed in his work environment at Vahterus in Kalanti.

What is your work history at Vahterus?

I came here nearly eight years ago. I joined the company in summer 2011, after having graduated from Novida Vocational College, where I specialised in machinery and metalwork. I completed my final practical training at Vahterus, so the decision to apply for a job here was easy.

What is your job?

I’m the operator on the laser-cutting line in heat exchanger plate production. Before this, I worked on the robotic plate production line and pressure testing.

Can you describe a typical day at work?

Laser cutting involves monitoring, many types of adjustments, quality control and replacing metal rolls. Operating a forklift is also necessary. The laser-cutting line produces hundreds of plates per day. The exact number depends on how many of the four plate production lines are running simultaneously. Sometimes there are more surprising assignments, such as cutting metal sheets. The workload and pace vary depending on the customer. Producing sheets at a steady pace would mean unnecessary storage, which we seek to avoid. However, sometimes we need to predict future orders to manage the workload.

When do you feel you have succeeded in your work?

Positive feedback means you’ve succeeded. I also feel good when I stay on schedule even at times when it seems impossible.

When are you at your best?

When working under a little pressure. When you have limited time, you have to fully concentrate, and you usually find a way to complete an urgent assignment quickly.

What, to you, is Vahterus’s most important value?

For me, it’s probably the fact that Vahterus is a Finnish family business and a significant employer in a small town.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

Fortunately, I’ve never needed to think about that.

How do you spend your time outside work?

Doing this and that at home and in the garden. I exercise by going to the gym and for the occasional walk. I also enjoy woodwork and metalwork. For example, I recently made iron handles for an old drawer, consistent with its style. I relax by bathing in the sauna a few times a week.

In the midst of everyday life, what delights you?

My wife knows how to cheer me up.

What has impressed you recently?

12 Rules for Life, a book by Jordan B. Peterson – not necessarily an easy read, but a very rewarding one. It consists of twelve rules that may seem quite self-evident, but I recommend checking them out . For me, the most significant insight was that you must take responsibility for your life and work and that you should compare yourself not with others, but with the person you were yesterday.

What do your co-workers not know about you?

As a child, I was encouraged to learn how to play an instrument, and I chose the accordion.

Who of your co-workers would you like to praise?

The operators of the laser-cutting line on the other shift, for their systematic and precise work. And the rest of my colleagues as well. We get along famously.

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