Friday, October 12, 2012

Getting My Work Groove On

Shalom, chaverim! Well, things are finally starting to take shape with my new business, Aliyah Petsitting. I took the leap and have begun running my first paid advertisement in a local newsletter that caters to English-speaking residents in the area. Even more exciting, I finally got my Hebrew flyer back from my graphic artist. She did such a terrific job that I want to share it with you.

Here it is:

This reads "Pet Babysitter" and gives a brief description of my services and contact details.

I hope the big picture of the dog will really catch people's eyes when they rush by a crowded billboard full of tattered flyers. When I get them photocopied on hot pink or acid yellow paper, it should even pop even more.

In other work news, my work life is finally starting to come together after the interminable--er, extensive--holiday season. After waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, phone calls are finally being returned, emails are flying thick and fast, and everyone, it seems, wants everyone else to rush hither and yon for various appointments and other types of meetings. It feels like some sort of national trigger has been pulled, and now everyone is frantic to get some work done.

It brings to mind something I read a long time ago, back in the bad old days of the Soviet Union. Then, it seemed like everyone had to stand for hours in line for bread, because there were constant food shortages. It turned out, though, that the citizens themselves actually ended up wasting enormous amounts of food. The wastage occurred because they felt they had to stock up so much, on the few times that there was bread available, that the food went stale and ended up having to be thrown out anyway. Hence, a vicious circle was established. People had vegetables and bread, but it was either too much, or too old, to eat. The poor supply line led to hoarding, which led to more breakdowns in distribution, which led to longer lines, which led to more hoarding, which led to more wastage.

I am seeing this phenomena show up in my work life, with all sorts of emails rushing in with urgent demands for all sorts of things. Had these issues been addressed in a more timely manner, they wouldn't be urgent at all. Likewise, the lines at the bank and the post office are laughably long as employees struggle to deal with the backlog, which leads to more time being wasted and less accomplished by everyone overall.

But, enough grousing about that, because certainly some work is far better than no work at all, and an open shop or office is better than a closed one! I now have two "official" part-time jobs with two different Israeli companies, which gives me a nice sense of security in that I'm protected by the strict labor laws here. Working for Israel companies also means that I will be paying into the the Israeli social security system, which is important for matters like my eventual retirement pension. I'm only 46 now, but as time seems to be moving even faster the older I get, it feels like retirement is just around the corner. I want to be covered, at least by a basic Israeli pension. It may not be much at all, but at least it will be something.

In addition to having finally started my official employment with the two companies, this Monday I also begin volunteering as an English tutor for high school students, as part of tutoring program put on by my local ESRA chapter. For any English-speaking olim who are planning to make Aliyah, I highly recommend that you join your local ESRA club. "ESRA" stands for the "English Speaking Residents Association." ESRA is a highly regarded and long-established organization for English speakers who live in Israel. They have branches all over the country, and do a number of worthy volunteer projects for the greater community. They also publish a very interesting and substantial magazine, which you receive as part of your membership. You don't even need to be residing in Israel in order to join, so you're welcome to join right away. Also, when you make Aliyah, your first year's membership is free, which is a great bonus. Our particular chapter, "North Coast ESRA," does a great job with putting on interesting activities, a Hebrew conversation group, and very fun coffee evenings.

So we are moving, gently, into our next stage of our new lives in Israel: working, paying taxes (!), and being active in the community. I am very happy about this, because I so dearly wanted to become an asset to Israel, rather than just a drain. I am so grateful for all the support given to new immigrants by the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency, and Nefesh B'Nefesh. Without this support, it would have been seriously doubtful if we would have been able to come here and make it at all.

Shabbat shalom, everyone!


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