Kirkpatrick: Continuing on the jobs theme, our next speaker, Karoli Hindricks, has come from Estonia, where she has a startup called Jobbatical, which is quite an interesting approach to helping people amplify their opportunity globally, and particularly for young people who have the flexibility to try something radically different, to really change the way they work and where they work, and she’s got a super creative way to do it. Karoli, please come and tell us all about what you’re up to in Tallinn.
Hindricks: Tallinn, yes. Yes, I’m Karoli and I come from a tiny, but one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world. For example, it actually takes 19 seconds to file your income tax declaration in Estonia. I’ve heard that is something that you guys would like.
But I am a millennial. So I was born in 1983, on a day when Irene Cara’s hit “What a Feeling” was number one on the Billboard charts. Had my music-loving parents known about it, then probably I would have had a different name. But of course, they had no idea, because back then my country was occupied by Soviet Russia and my parents locked behind the Iron Curtain, and they had absolutely no idea about the outside world.
But things changed, as they often do in a life of a millennial, and my country regained independence, and 15 years ago I was completing my American dream, graduating school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I was waving goodbye to my American schoolmates, many of whom who were heading to Ivy League schools to build their steady climb on the corporate career ladder—back then corporate was not a bad word—and dorm room discussions about starting a company where still rare. So the definition of success was the good old from college to grad school to nine to five job ideal.
But I had a different plan. I wanted to go back to my tiny country and build a business out of a student company I had founded two years earlier, and that was about how my friends looked at me. Life was what happened in New York City or London, definitely not in Estonia. So my choice of career was as far from the dotted line towards success as one could imagine. But fast forwarding 15 years and the combination of the connected world and turbulence of the economies has actually redefined the aspirations of my whole generation.
We were taught in schools that the key to success is a graduate degree and a steady job. And yet, we saw major companies collapse, millions of people losing their job. So it actually turned out that the steady job is kind of a hollow promise. So if you’re already thinking about that, then if a job can be lost by external factors at any time, why not choose to work on something that you actually care about, something that makes a difference.
And that also raised another question: What is a job anyway? We all know this guy, especially here in Detroit, and his contribution into innovation. What is less widely known is that Henry Ford was one of the first employers in the world to implement the nine to five work week. Today we have self-driving cars, but we still work as though in the Henry Ford assembly line, even though today, clocking in and clocking out is not how work gets done. So why does anybody have to spend up to three, four hours on a commute to work if you could do the work back home? Or, now if the workplace is becoming less relevant, and the geography, then a new era of travel and living is starting, so why should you pay $3,000 dollars for a one-bedroom apartment if you could live on a tropical island, pay $500 and go surfing in the afternoons? Or why not move to a country where healthcare is free and young parents get full salary from the state just to be home with the little one?
So as Ernst & Young, in their 2015 research, said, the gulf between the mature and rapid growth countries continues to shrink. A new tier of emerging nations will draw global attention. What it also means is that the long tail of emerging cities are starting to attract talent, and that is why I founded Jobbatical, where we connect tech and business talent to mainly year-long opportunities in the exciting places of the world. For example, a software developer from Detroit can relocate and join a team in Bali, or if they just cannot resist the snow, then in Estonia for a year. And by tapping into the wanderlust of people and the thrive to make a difference, we’re opening up an access to global talent to the remotest teams on the planet, an access that used to be a privilege for the few nerve centers of the world.
So only ten months ago, Jobbatical was a spelling mistake. It didn’t exist. Today, with almost 20,000 people, we are changing, or creating a new way for the modern employees to make a difference in the world. So if any of you are looking into doing a new career step in your lives, then consider joining our journey. Thank you very much.