My first sabbatical

Kristo Käärmann

When we started Wise 12 years ago, we knew the problem we were tackling was a big one. Solving for hidden fees and rebuilding broken international financial services for the 21st century was a mission for the decades, not years.

We’ve come a long way since we started in 2011, and now serve 16 million people and businesses around the world. Getting here has been no walk in the park: the problem is complex and exciting, but is also a full-on job.

This is why we offer all our team members a chance to take a fully paid sabbatical after four years at Wise, in addition to our annual leave. We work hard for our customers every day, and the sabbatical offers us a stretch of time to switch off, reset, and rebalance.

I am rather overdue myself - in my 12 years here I have yet to take one. As my family continues to grow (we recently welcomed our second son!), I am going to take my first ever extended Wise sabbatical later this year from September to December. This is a fantastic time to do my part in looking after the newborn and giving some breathing room to my wife.

When I first started the company 12 years ago, it would have been unimaginable for me to take any time away from the team and our customers. In fact, I remember clearly the first time I was able to completely switch off since starting Wise was in December 2014, when I took Christmas off to go on our honeymoon.

I feel lucky to have this opportunity 一 and this is thanks to my team, who have worked alongside me for a long time. Indeed, my team has an average tenure of around six years, which means most of them have already been on their sabbaticals. I’ve stood in for them, so this is a great opportunity to take the favour in return and ask one of them to step in for me.

Harsh, our Chief Technology Officer, will be standing in for me in the interim. Harsh has not only helmed the engineering tribe at Wise since he joined in 2015, he also brings decades of experience building and scaling product and supporting operations at iconic companies like PayPal and eBay.

I am excited that Wise has reached this point, where I can take full advantage of our sabbatical policy and trust the day to day leading of the company to Harsh, with the support of the rest of the leaders at Wise. We will work as closely as ever in the coming months to prepare for a smooth transition into my sabbatical.

We’ve come a long way, but I also know that we’re going to get much bigger and faster in the next few years, so this a good time to take that break and be charged up for the next stage on this rocket.


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