In my last post on applying for PhD defense at KI I mentioned Trygghetsstiftelsen, and how they can help with finding jobs after you finish your government-related-employment (in this case: PhD). Now that I have actually defended, I had a meeting with them and let me just say: I couldn’t be more impressed!
Just one day after my department signed me up, I got contacted by Trygghetsstiftelsen to invite me for a first meeting. I mentioned then that I had the luxury situation that I actually have my next job lined up already, but they assured me that didn’t matter to them, and we can meet anyway. So, the very first day after my contract ended, I made my way to their central-stockholm-office (after 5y in Flemingsberg everything in the city feels fancy). I got greeted by the kindest people, totally in line with the supportive and enthusiastic email conversations that lead up to this event,and felt at ease immediately. Feels great to talk to someone who is there just to help you, and you don’t even need to pay them! (I know somebody pays, but it feels like they, or at least someone out there, actually care if it’s not you yourself who pays then and there. The human mind is fascinating)
What they do
So, I had a 1h long meeting, where I explained what my background was and what I was interested in, while my meeting partner explained what Trygghetsstiftelsen can do for me. I was, and am still, so impressed. First of all, you can get personal career development talks, for in case you haven’t figured out what you want yet (a very common problem!). Then, they can help you find and even pay for courses so you can get the skills you might need for this new-found futute, provide online courses that lead to degrees, can cover travel related to job interviews and even resulting relocation costs, have a recruiting system where you can leave your cv and then can be contacted by potential employers (instead of sending it out yourself a thousand times a day, though nothing stops you to do that anyway), etc, etc, etc. As far as I understood they have a great focus on government related jobs (KI is government related too, that’s why you get this support in the first place, see next section), but also have a whole support arm for starting your own business, if you’re up for that! And, since everyone knows how emotionally taxing it can be to look for jobs or set something up yourself, they also provide psychological support and counseling. Thumbs up Trygghetsstiftelsen!
Is this for you?
I’ll start by saying that it is, and my personal opinion is that you should totally have a meeting with them. Now the details. Since KI is related to the Swedish government, anyone who had a contract with them (even possibly if you’re currently on a stipend, see next section!) can get help from Trygghetsstiftelsen. I fell in the category of “more than 3 years employment”, though I don’t know what the others are. This means I can get their help whenever I am unemployed or on a temporary contract, and this for the next 4 years, even if I would have a permanent enjoyment in-between for a bit. Pretty sweet if you ask me! It makes me feel very cared for an rather uncomfortably privileged, so I want to make sure to share this info!
How to contact them
They obviously have a website with contact details, but the way to get enrolled is through your (government related) employer. In our case it’s our department. They should contact you near the end if your employment, but I’ve noticed many people don’t get this invitation, so ask your department yourself! The lady I talked to on my visit was not the one responsible for the legal details, but it seems that even if you’re past your employment, even if you’re currently on a stipend, as long as you had an actual employment with contract at KI you might still have the right to support. Ask the last (or all, who knows!) department that gave you a contract and see if maybe you missed it that they signed you up, or if they forgot, and if they can still do it now. Also if you switch during you project (be it PhD or post doc) from contract to stipend, you should be offered help by Trygghetsstiftelsen before the end of the contract period, so before you go on stipend. Sadly, if you’ve only ever been on a stipend, like coming to sweden on a stipend funded post doc, you can’t get support this way. If you run into troubles I’d say: contact Trygghetsstiftelsen for info, but they can only really start helping after an invite from your employer.
The only thing they ask back for all of this, is that you actually show up when they put time and money in getting you a course, degree, travel, meeting etc. This, I think, is just basic respect to them, whomever is paying this, and yourself.