#MySweden: How I carved out my Swedish career in five steps

Every week one of The Local's readers takes over our Instagram. Today, Shaena Harrison from Canada shows us her Sweden.

#MySweden: How I carved out my Swedish career in five steps
Shaena Harrison. Photo: Private
How old are you and what do you normally spend your days doing?
I am 37 and I spend my days producing events.
Don't miss Shaena Harrison's guide to networking your way to a Swedish career:





I get contacted a lot about finding a #job in Sweden so I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you all know what worked for me. 1. Networking. This can be a dreadful task if you’re not feeling up to it or not sure where to start. Depending on the line of work you are looking for, I would look for events in your field and rock up. If you have a friend that will go with you, take them as your “wing person” and each of you can introduce each other to the person you might want to say hi to. 2. Be present and leave your digital breadcrumbs. For example, posting relevant content on LinkedIn or writing articles. 3. Volunteer. As I mentioned in a previous post, volunteering is a great way to make friends but also showing your talent to potential others that might be hiring at their companies. I know quite a few people in my TEDx network that have gotten their jobs through volunteering. 4. Sign up to a mentor ship program like @oppnadorren where you will be paired with a native from the country that could help you break into a new network. 5. Start your own company! That’s what I did and launched a very popular running event which gave me my launchpad to other opportunities. With a bit of luck and hard work, there are opportunities out there. If you have any questions or need some advice, I’m happy to lend some if I can. Ps. LinkedIn is my jam so feel free to connect with me there and send a personalized message so I know why you’re reaching out. (Also – personalizes messages are good for anyone you’re reaching out to) #jobsearch #career #jobsinsweden

Ett inlägg delat av The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) 26 Jun 2019 kl. 6:20 PDT


When and why did you move to your neighbourhood?

Well, we have two neighbourhoods. Our “city” home is in Kallhäll, Järfälla, which we moved to in 2011. When we moved to Sweden my husband had never stood in the queue for housing so we lucked out and got our first-hand contract through Bostadssnabben which placed us in Kallhäll. 

Our “country” home, which we bought in 2017, is about 15 minutes from Sandviken in a cute little village called Gästrike-Hammarby. We ended up buying our home here as we wanted something that was max two hours away from the city, had city water and wasn’t a “fixer-upper”. You’re welcome to rent it.





Hey ? everyone! I’m Shaena “Tjena” and I’ll be your host for the next week. One of my favourite things about the Swedish language is when you pronounce my name it actually sounds like “Tjena” – the way you say “Hej” so it’s easy to remember my usually hard name. ?? I’m originally from #winnipeg #canada ?? and have been living in #Sweden ?? Since 2011 and abroad since 2006. How did I end up in Sweden? Well I bought a one way ticket, moved to Ireland ?? (didn’t know a soul) and a few months in I met my Swede…we’ve been together ever since. Now we have 2 kids and careers. And guess what! It’s midsummer today so I’ll be giving you a taste of #mysweden and how we #celebrate #midsummer / #midsommar @tourismireland @sweaireland @canada @daftdive

A post shared by The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) on Jun 21, 2019 at 12:27am PDT

What do you love most about life in your neighbourhood?
What I love most about our Kallhäll neighbourhood is that it’s so convenient to get to for our kids going to school and commuting to Stockholm. What I love most about our country home is that it’s so quiet and peaceful and gives us a good place to decompress from our busy weeks. 





A #snapsvisa is a traditional Scandinavian drinking song which is often sung before a small shot of spirit that is called a snaps. A typical snapsvisa is a short, vigorous song; its lyrics usually tell of the delicacy and glory of the drink, or of the singer’s craving for snaps. Snapsvisor are short, bright, and easy to learn. The most well known snapsvisa in Sweden is #helangår Snapsvisor are an important part of traditional and family festivities on Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and among Swedish-speaking Finns. The singing of these songs is also a lively part of Scandinavian student culture. My family is visiting so we are giving them the full Swedish/Scandinavian experience.

A post shared by The Local Sweden (@thelocalsweden) on Jun 21, 2019 at 3:22am PDT

And what annoys you the most?
I think the thing that annoys me most about the city home is when there are train repairs. For the last few summers they’ve shut down the pendeltåg which is frustrating when you still need to commute to the city for work. Good thing though is we have a direct bus to the other pendeltåg line.
How should we spend a day in your neighbourhood?
You should spend your day in Kallhäll at the beach! And you should spend your day in Gästrike-Hammarby also at the beach in Årsunda. Or skiing in Kungsberget.
What's a fun fact not everyone knows about your neighbourhood?
A fun fact about our neighbourhood is that actress Geena Davis attended Wareham High School as an exchange student in Sandviken, Sweden, becoming fluent in Swedish. 
Follow Shaena Harrison on Instagram here. To find out how you can become The Local's next #MySweden host, click HERE.

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Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”