Fábio Carapinha, Portugal
Fábio Carapinha came to Denmark five years ago to finish his studies - but he ended up finding a new refreshing work mentality and a country where innovation and impact thrive. Today, Fábio works as an Associate Field Operations Manager at the agrotech company INFARM.
Associate Field Operations Manager@INFARM
“Considering my academic background is in agro-biology, it’s not surprising that I began working as a biologist. But, after struggling with the fact that this field is often at odds with farmers’ views and interests I moved from Portugal to Denmark to complete my master's degree in agro-environmental management. Along the way, I realised that the key to all this is finding the right balance between biology, the environment, and agriculture. In fact, I initially joined the AgroTech sector because I wanted to find that balance – to identify a more sustainable way to give people what they need and what they want.”
A more sustainable way to give people what they need
“Portugal is filled with hierarchy. You learn – both directly and indirectly – that you should never question the authority or judgement of a person at the top of the ladder. I believe this is part of the reason why innovation is limited there, and it also makes it difficult to evolve and grow in your career.”
“In Denmark, I appreciate that there's not much hierarchy in the work environment. It’s not unheard of to approach a manager to discuss a strategy you don’t agree with, and then work together to arrive at a solution that satisfies everyone. Managers actually listen and they use these discussions to improve upon their ideas, even when the newest or “lowest” person chimes in. I also benefit from the feedback my colleagues give me.”
Balancing professional and personal lives, and making an impact, is a very Danish thing to do
“I thrive in the Danish work environment, especially by following the 3x8 rule of thumb: spend 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours working, and have 8 hours left over for hobbies with family and friends. Although I was concerned when I first moved here, I now enjoy a well-balanced life, where it is possible to separate my personal and professional worlds and responsibilities. When I began working as a research assistant, I noticed some people were leaving the building quite early compared to Portugal. Eventually, I embraced it and realised that this made me more productive and more effective because the next day brings a different perspective. It is like restarting the system: the next day you are fresh and can continue where you left off.”
“Over the past five years, I have come to understand the Danish mentality – that there is always a point where productivity fades. When that happens, it is better to leave work, get some fresh air, and enjoy hobbies or time with family. On that note, there are lots of groups to join, because there's a saying in Denmark that when two Danes meet and talk, they decide to start a group activity. I play volleyball, sing in a pop music choir, and I’m planning to start taking dance lessons soon.”
“Since I moved to Denmark, I have realised that this is the home of innovation and impact. Even massive energy companies decided to completely change their models and have become very green. Finding this balance between professional and personal, and making an impact on your community, is a very Danish thing to do.”
Explore: AgroTech in Denmark.