Living the European Dream – in Dublin and beyond

When the opportunity came up to move my career from Malaga to Dublin, I knew I had to take it. It was a difficult decision in some respects – I had a job that I enjoyed in Malaga, and I did make a few jokes about moving from “Spain to the rain”. However, I also knew, as everyone else working in technology in Europe knows, that Dublin is where things happen.

This city is the technology hub for our region. Around this corner, there’s Facebook; go around another and there’s Google; up that street is Twitter; up that one there’s Airbnb. And then, of course, there’s LinkedIn. I knew that I’d be taking my life in exciting new directions when I moved to Dublin. But it was only when I connected with an opportunity at LinkedIn that I realised just how transformative the experience would become.

Busting the Dublin myths

By then, I’d already bust the myths that I had in my head about Dublin as a location. For a start – the rain. Okay, it’s not quite as dry as the south of Spain, but it’s certainly doesn’t feel any wetter than where I grew up in Germany. It’s certainly not stopped me cycling to work pretty much every day for the last three and a half years.

I had expected to find different types of people in Dublin – but the extent of the difference really surprised me. The presence of all of those companies in a city that still feels like a community is a very special combination. It makes me feel like I’m living in a true global village. It’s diverse and dynamic but hugely warm and welcoming as well.

That came home to me when I decided to run my first marathon shortly after arriving in the city. It was a way of showing my commitment to my new home and getting to know the city a little more as well. I’ll never forget the feeling of people lining the street to support myself and the other runners. When we went through the suburbs, there were people offering us bowls of fruits and sweets on their doorsteps. It reflects the attitude of people here – and also how extremely fanatical they are about sport.

How LinkedIn took my Dublin experience to the next level

In no time at all then, I’d started to feel pretty settled in my new city – and very happy with my life working in Europe’s technology hub. I was what we at LinkedIn Talent Solutions call a ‘passive candidate’. I wasn’t actively looking for a new job; I wasn’t frustrated in my current role or desperate for a new challenge. However, when the right opportunity came up I could see immediately why I needed to take it – and that opportunity was LinkedIn.

In some respects, LinkedIn was on my radar already. I knew that it was an exciting business – and one of the reasons for Dublin being such an exciting place for a tech career. However, I hadn’t fully grasped the mission and sense of purpose it had until a recruiter from LinkedIn reached out to me and I began the interview process.

A mission that matters

I’ve always had an interest in the purpose of what I’m doing. I’ve been interested in politics for the last 20 years – and a lot of my passion for social media comes from the way it can be used to get a message out and further a cause. That’s why LinkedIn’s mission to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce really resonated with me. There was an aspect of coming here that felt like taking on a role with an NGO – and that really appealed.

That wasn’t the only LinkedIn difference that I found inspiring. Reid Hoffman’s principle of the ‘Tour of Duty’ was another idea that really resonated with me: it’s the idea of there being a contract between yourself and LinkedIn whereby you both aim to transform each other for the better during your time here; you may not be here for ever, but if you do leave here for another role, you’ll definitely be leaving better equipped than when you arrived.

Transformation with a difference

Transformation is a really important part of LinkedIn’s values – and the focus of that transformation culture is really unique. At other businesses, you’re often encouraged to think about your weaknesses and ways you could improve them; here the focus is firmly on your strengths and how you can leverage them more effectively for both you and the business. It’s very empowering.

I’ve been able to apply the principle of transformation to my approach to leadership. The result I’m most focused on as a manager is being able to develop people for their next play – that’s what really makes me proud. It’s part of how my team motivates me every day. When I come into the office and see people already at their desks, making calls, working at their laptops – the buzz that gives me is very powerful indeed.

My transformation journey at LinkedIn is now bringing my ‘Tour of Duty’ in Dublin to an end. I’m making the move to manage one of our enterprise teams in LinkedIn’s Munich office. I was right in thinking that moving to Dublin would take my career to places I hadn’t imagined – and how, thanks to LinkedIn, it’s led me to a new city, a new stage of development in my career – and more new experiences. To me, being able to open up new horizons like this is part of the European dream – and LinkedIn and Dublin both embody that dream.

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