Many people have asked me how I decided to move to Sweden. I’ve told this story quite a few times, but I wanted to share it here for those who are still curious. 🙂
I took my very first job in payments on September 10th, 2001. Most of my career since then has been spent working at tech companies that build software and platforms that handle payment processing for merchants and consumers. The industry is large…but the number of us who have done it this long is small. Even as I have tried on several occasions to do other things…including a stint in Finance for Gap, 11 months, 3 weeks, and 1 hour in the “travel” industry, and the last 18 months on a healthcare innovation team…I always find myself pulled back into the payments vortex.
Along the way, there have been a handful of companies that I’ve kept my eyes on to see what they would do and where they would go. WePay, Square, BitCoin, Veem, Remitly among them. One company, like these, that I have watched is Klarna. (www.klarna.com). I liked their founders’ story and paid attention as they grew and evolved.
About 4 years ago a recruiter for Klarna started reaching out to me. At the time I was really invested in the new team I had joined at Amazon to build invoicing for Amazon Business and wasn’t ready for this move. But I took the time to talk to Rachel and we established a pattern…we talked every 6 to 8 months for the next 3 1/2 years. Each time we spoke about an opportunity, something was keeping me in Seattle or the US…a relationship, worry about family needs, current job opportunities. But still we kept talking.
Earlier this summer when she called, the role was interesting and I found myself toying with the idea of moving overseas. This time, it felt like something I couldn’t ignore. This time, it was worth some early morning Skype calls. This time, a trip to Stockholm in the summer (talk about the best time to visit!) sounded brilliant. This time, it was important to meet this amazing team of people and imagine myself among them. This time, it was worth considering a major life change.
A few weeks of negotiations later and the decision was before me.
Those who know me well, know that most decisions that are about my own personal life are based on my intuition. But when it came to this decision, I stayed alert, aware, engaged, and curious. I asked lots of questions. I pushed for understanding when I didn’t think something made sense. I read everything they put in front of me and showed up for each meeting that was intended to give me the information I needed to make my decision.
In the end, my intuition (which was screaming “GO!!!”) and my logic (which was based in information and data), aligned perfectly to make my answer simple: Yes, I would like to join Klarna and help the team build an even more kickass Analytics and Risk system.
- No, I don’t know anyone in Sweden
- No, I’ve never lived internationally before (well…as a small child I lived in Honduras)
- Yes, I’m aware that it is very dark in Stockholm during winter
- Yes, I am also aware that it will be cold
- Yes, I will be staying in Stockholm for the holidays
- No, I don’t know where I’m going to live yet (but fortunately the company will help with that)
- Yes, the cats are coming with me and No, there isn’t a quarantine period
- Yes, I’m selling or donating almost all of my posessions
- Yes, I’m only keeping clothes, kitchen goods, and important personal items
- No, I don’t speak Swedish
- Yes, I’m scared…and excited, nervous, joyful, and happy
- Yes, I expect that I will have times when I’m lonely…but that happens to people in all circumstances in all seasons of life
I think that about covers it. 🙂