Piloting a 6-week Self-Hack career program with the city of Tampere, interviewing Riika-Stiina Laurokari

Piloting a 6-week Self-Hack career program with the city of Tampere, interviewing Riika-Stiina Laurokari

Riika-Stiina Laurokari has been organising Self-Hack courses in Tampere Employment Services from autumn 2020. She has been the first to organise a six-week course for young unemployed jobseekers with higher education qualifications, based on the exercises in the Self-Hack Career Playbook. The course has been organised three times so far, with around ten participants at a time. The course was conducted entirely remotely, in a self-study module and in joint debriefing sessions every week. The participants have given good feedback on the functionality of Self-Hack. Its net promoter score has been 8.54 and 8.27 (on a scale of 0/10) for the people who completed the course.

Self-Hack facilitator and programme leader Riika-Stiina Laurokar has a background in social sciences, from which she holds a Master’s degree. She studied at the University of Tampere, three different universities in Asia and, taking advantage of the freedom of distance learning, Riika-Stiina travelled to several countries and spent most of her study years abroad. Prior to her self-coaching role at the City of Tampere, she worked as a coach in two private career coaching companies and as a business coordinator at the City of Tampere.

In her work as a career coach, Riika-Stiina responds to clients’ inquiries about unemployment benefits and support for their employment. Sometimes the best solution is to start studying or starting a business. Related to the development of the work Riika-Stiina is part of projects in cooperation with different departments of the City of Tampere and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. Every season, Riika-Stiina provides full-time orientation for new employees in employment services.

She finds her work natural because, in addition to career coaching, Riika-Stiina’s strength is making difficult bureaucratic tasks clear. She has received a lot of praise from her clients for this.


Riika-Stiina was introduced to Self-Hack after her supervisor suggested that she would take over the project. As the programme involved working with job seekers with high education, Riika-Stiina decided to look into it. After meeting the developers of Self-Hack, Vesa-Matti Ruottinen and Anna Pilchi, Riika-Stiina got really excited about the topic and decided to take the project on.

“A bit of a coincidence, but it was a lucky coincidence”

Self-Hack brings an immersive dimension to Riika-Stiina’s work. Self-Hack allows her to step out of her role as an instructor and switch to facilitation, where she doesn’t need to know the right answers for job seekers. In this case, participants think and act more proactively. Riika-Stiina focuses on creating a safe situation and helps participants to continue the discussion. In this role, Riika-Stiina also learns a lot about her clients, which helps her to target the right services for them outside Self-Hack.

From the clients’ perspective, getting peer support is one of the best things about Self-Hack. Clients feel empowered when they realise that they are not struggling with their problems alone and that they can help others. For Riika-Stiina, the best moments are hearing clients thank each other. Organising a Self-Hack gives her a change from her other work, where she learns a lot about her clients and the nature of her job. Organising the course also gives her a lot of good energy and a good vibe, especially when the clients like it too.

As a tip for facilitators, Riika-Stiina recommends booking enough time in advance in the calendar. This is why she does not schedule them for the worst peak times of mid-summer and -winter. There should be at least two facilitators, preferably three because of possible illness, and it is more comfortable to work together while knowledge is exchanged and learning accumulates within the group.

Facilitators should do the tasks themselves to understand the ideas they will trigger in the participants. This makes it easier to stimulate discussion and understand what ideas participants are willing to share.

In the future, Riika-Stiina hopes to see more Self-Hack and other life-design methods in workplaces, so that employers can better understand what employees are looking for in their jobs and careers. Riika-Stiina has found Self-Hack to be very useful because through its exercises she has seen opportunities in the future that motivate her to perform at her best in her day job.