Why I Want to Move to Scandinavia

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Why the Scandi life is the life for me.

This is a question I get quite often, “Why do you want to move to Scandinavia?” In order to answer it, I am going to have to give you the backstory.

I grew up in sunny Los Angeles, but never felt quite at home there. At 18, I moved to Northern California to pursue my Undergraduate studies at UC Davis. There, I studied Neurobiology, did medical research for Parkinson’s Disease, and earned a B.A. in Psychology and Human Development. It was through my studies that I became extremely interested in people – how they work, what motivates them, and where conflict arises.

I graduated from UC Davis at 20, and began working full-time for Target Corporation as an Executive Team Leader. Along with five other executives, I ran a team of 230 employees and did $43M in sales annually. I personally oversaw the Loss Prevention department, working closely with HR and law enforcement to prosecute internal theft. I led my district in number of substantiated cases and was selected to be the District Trainer and Resource. In this role, I trained, mentored, and on-boarded seven executives across multiple states, and led a remote team of 10 executives.

After four years with Target, I realized that I was living a life of habit. I was moving through life without intention or thought – unsure if I was even deriving happiness from my actions. I needed to pause and reflect.

I left Target in 2015 to go on a Happiness Hunt – a year where I explored much of what life has to offer in the hope of discovering what truly makes me happy. I skydived, started a blog, traveled, read books, and found minimalism. I ended my Happiness Hunt with a visit to some of the happiest countries in the world: Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. It was during the summer of 2015 that I fell in love with Scandinavia.

In September 2016, I started my M.B.A. program at the University of Oregon. I am currently in my second and final year and will be graduating this June. I am specializing in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and am also taking classes in the Conflict Resolution Master’s program.

I am looking to leverage my studies in business and psychology to work at the intersection of people and business. I am here to develop great talent, leading teams and supporting employees at large, international, and sustainable tech companies. Within HR, I want to specifically work within Learning and Development, Diversity and Inclusion, and employee engagement/wellness. People and planet are integral to me, and I hope to work for a company where they are cherished at the core as well.

So finally, I can answer the question, “Why Scandinavia?” The answer is two-fold:

1) I have a growth mentality and relish the idea of living abroad and learning about other cultures, people, and myself. I have been contemplating this move for near two years now, but for the bulk of that time I have been fighting this desire. It pains me to be away from my family in LA, and a 9-hour time difference and a 12-hour flight will make things challenging. Despite this, Scandinavia calls to me – an urge felt so deeply that it hurts to fight it. This past summer, I stopped fighting my desires and have fully embraced the challenge of getting myself abroad.

2) There is a large difference between talking the talk, and walking the walk. When it comes to work-life balance in the US, we are all talk. With true work-life balance, generous parental leave, and renowned gender diversity and inclusion practices, Scandinavia has a great model for the HR realm I want to be part of. But reading articles and researching best practices isn’t enough to fully understand – let alone implement – these initiatives. I want to be immersed in the culture to get a more complete picture of how the pieces all fit together. But only by living, breathing, and experiencing the Scandinavian model can I possibly do so.

So after two years of wanting this, I am making it happen. If you can support me in my endeavor to move abroad, either by connecting me to someone in your network, suggesting companies I apply to, or recommending a resource, I would greatly appreciate it.

Scandinavia, here I come.

-TM

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