Friday, August 17, 2012

We Could Have Danced All Night

Shalom, chaverim! It's been a busy week here in Nahariya, with one trip to Tel Aviv and another one to Haifa. I've been pressing on with my job hunt, looking for assistance from job-seeker programs and (finally) performing the tedious task of getting my academic degrees recognized. The purpose of my Tuesday trip to Tel Aviv was to meet with the good people at Gvahim, an organization that exists to assist new olim in continuing their professional careers in Israel. I'd applied to be part of their upcoming Career Development Program, which provides six days of intensive work on interviewing (in Hebrew) skills, networking, education about the Israeli market and workplace, and so on. Sadly, it turns out that Gvahim does not assist English teachers in any way, but is more geared towards other professions, so I was out of luck there. However, they do have a good program, and if you are either thinking of making Aliyah or are already here and having trouble finding work, they may be able to help you. You can read about Gvahim here.

The purpose of my trip to Haifa on Wednesday was to visit the regional office of the Ministry of Education; specifically, the "Office of Foreign Degree Recognition." I was expecting to visit a typically dark and dingy government building, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that the office was located in Haifa's "Sail Tower," a giant white structure that looks like a huge sail. After passing through stringent security, I was whisked up to the seventh floor, where I waited about forty minutes for my turn. Next to me was a Serbian man who got immediately turned away because his documents didn't have the appropriate apostille of authenticity stamped on them. Woe betide those who don't observe bureaucratic regulations!

It personally took over a month to get all my crapola together for this meeting, including writing to both universities for not only transcripts, but also for "letters of attendance." These letters had to unequivocally and categorically state that way back in 1984 to 1989, and in 1995 to 1996, I'd attended both institutions as a full time student. For some reason, the Israeli Ministry of Education is obsessed with enrollment status. I'm sure there's a reason for this, but I can't, for the life of me, figure out why it would matter. Anyway, the turnaround time for foreign degree recognition is about a month. The letters will come in the mail, so at least I don't have to make a second trip.

Thursday meant a trip to our local Absoprtion Office counsellor. This time, it was to meet with an actual psychologist (I think), who administered the beginnings of a computerized test designed to discern...what? I'm not sure what it figured out about my psych/work profile, because it was very strange. The program would show a group of faces of men and women, designed to look like they'd been photographed in the late 1800's, in sepia tones and in "old timey" clothes. A typical round of questions (written in English, for our benefit) would be posed like this: "Click on the most sympathetic face. Now click on the second most sympathetic face. Now click on the most appalling face. Now click on the second most appalling face." Then a new assortment of faces would appear, and you'd go through the drill again. And again, and again, and again. And then it was over. Hmm!

Despite my interest in doing a mid-life career transition to becoming a welder, or a florist, or a massage therapist, or a professional ballroom dancer, the meeting pretty much determined that it would be best if I stayed in my current teaching profession. However, now it's a matter of getting onto a "conversion course," which trains olim to become English teachers. My own qualifications most likely won't be recognized here, and of course I've already been loudly informed that my Hebrew is NOT sufficient for working in the public schools now, even if I were otherwise prepared. I'm looking into doing this course in Haifa, at Gordon Teacher's College, that may be appropriate. The course doesn't start until October, and, this being August, everyone's on vacation and isn't answering the phone, so I don't know much more than that. However, that may be the next step.

Over the past months, I thought I had been pursuing a promising opportunity with an Indian company that teaches English online. Following a couple of interviews on Skype, I was verbally offered the job nearly two months ago, and was told I'd start work at the beginning of August. However, the first week in August slipped by without a word from them. When I contacted them to ask what was going on, I was told I'd be contacted within forty-eight hours with a firm start date. I wasn't contacted within forty-eight hours; in fact, two weeks slipped by with yet again no word. Finally, early this week I received an email offering me the job, saying I'd be contacted "shortly" about my training schedule. Now it's the end of the week and I still haven't heard anything. I can't tell if these extended bouts of "radio silence" is an Indian thing, a specific corporate culture thing, or just a plain old disorganization/disrespect thing. I'm giving the company the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time, I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched, so I'm still applying for work whenever and wherever I can.

Finally, I've realized that I've been focusing this blog on work matters for the last few weeks, because of course that's what Elul and I have been concentrating on. However, we took some time out last Saturday night and finally saw a Nahariya tradition in action: Israeli folk dancing on the beach. During the summers, Nahariya offers free public folk dancing sessions, just after Shabbat ends on Saturday nights. (In the winter, it's held at some other time, but we never felt like going out anymore than we had to during that last freezing winter!) Anyway, Elul was kind enough to shoot some footage and put together a lovely short video about it. My favorite part is at the end, when we got one little girl to say "Shalom, chaverim!" to the camera. Cheesy, but I loved it! Here's the link to the video, and if you can't see it in your email version of this blog, just go directly to my blog's site at

Shabbat shalom, everybody!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading my blog. I am interested in your comments, but I will delete anything that is either spam or just plain nasty. Please do not use the comments forum as a political or religious soapbox--there are SO many other online forums for those kinds of tedious arguments!