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Need A Break From Home, But Want To Keep Working? Take A Jobbatical

A site that matches employers and wandering gig-seekers wants to foster a new way to travel. Like everything else, it helps if you can code.

Need A Break From Home, But Want To Keep Working? Take A Jobbatical
[Top Photo: Cultura RM/Alys Tomlinson/Getty Images]

Some people can take long vacations with no end in sight. Others quickly get bored by the lack of stimulating activity.

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Karoli Hindriks, the founder of Jobbatical–a startup that matches workers with short-term jobs in foreign countries–is in the latter camp. “I tried the vacation thing. I spent eight days in Malaysia, and I thought I would lose my mind,” she says.

A resident of Estonia, Hindriks wanted to take a career break in a foreign country but quickly discovered that there were no online hubs that could offer help. She believed employers in need of talent were missing out. So were wanderlust-driven job seekers.

Six months ago, after spending time at Singularity University, she launched Jobbatical. Today, there are more than 2,000 job-seekers and 400 job opportunities available on the platform, ranging from a few months to over a year. Jobbatical is focused on tech opportunities (those kinds of skills translate easily from country to country), but the goal is that it will expand to other job types eventually.

Among the current opportunities available: an Android developer position in Slovenia, a sales associate job in Indonesia, a marketing specialist gig in Hong Kong, a business development manager job in Germany, and a cloud engineer position in Israel.

“The most popular countries are Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Estonia—places which are exotic, but where it is hard to get international talent,” says Hindriks. “And the U.S. is a great source for talent.” But while talent may flow out of the country, there aren’t many Jobbatical gigs in the U.S. That’s because the country has strict visa regulations that make it difficult for foreigners to get work. Jobbatical is instead focusing on countries with governments that are actively supporting international workers.

“If you look at the trends, there’s a long tail of cities emerging that are helping to attract people. Ten years ago, people would have wanted to go London or New York City, but more and more countries are convincing them to come there, saying, ‘Let us flatter you a little bit,'” says Hindriks.

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For now, Jobbatical is free for both job-seekers and employers. But in the future, employers will have to pay a fee.

“Looking at the younger generation, people value the journey over results. I would love to have more people stepping out from their comfort zone and making their dreams happen,” says Hindriks. “In my vision, Jobbatical has the potential of becoming a new way of working.”

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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