It hasn’t been even a year yet since we decided to move to Israel, but one of the things that was a very big concern about considering making this move was the issue of employment. We know people who had lost their jobs in the US and were doing so badly there, that they figured they might as well live in Israel and struggle here. And we know of others who saved for many years, sold homes that had dramatically increased in value, came with very significant financial resources behind them, had some kind of US based income (pension, the ability to continue working for their US employers from a distance)…but that wasn’t our situation.
My husband was employed at a position where he was making a decent income, but since aliyah was a sudden possibility, we didn’t have years of financial planning behind us in making the move. Nor did we have the financial perks that come with being a new immigrant (free flight, absorption stipends – this would have amounted to over $60,000 for a family our size moving to the north). Leaving the security of a regular salary and moving to another country to start over with a large family support was an intimidating proposition. Especially since I’m a financially conservative person who avoids debt to the best of my ability.
I knew with certainty that G-d provided for us in the US, and He would provide for us in Israel- He’s not limited by our geographical location. This intellectual belief is what made me comfortable with the idea of moving here, even though it would mean using all of our financial resources without knowing how long we’d be without an income. But emotionally, I literally every single day for at least the first two months after deciding to move, felt almost overwhelmed with fears about what we were doing. To overcome this, I worked very intensively on feeling (rather than knowing) trust in G-d. (And I blogged very little at that time because it was such a sensitive process, though now I wish I had because it was very powerful.)
We hoped that dh would find work within three months (based on the feedback of a gifted intuitive who I had spoken with about issues that she had great insight on), so we planned financially for four months without an income. Three months came and went, four months, five months – and the Friday of ds13’s bar mitzva, dh had an interview and came home with the exciting news that he was hired!
This was very exciting, although it was in the extreme busyness of the bar mitzva preparations that he told us, so our responses were somewhat mitigated by all that we were doing right then to get everything organized. Dh was told he was being hired in a outsourcing capacity for the first year (I don’t know what the actual term is – they would send him work and he’d be paid hourly for it by them) and then brought on as a salaried employee after a year. He was very impressed by the company hiring him for a number of reasons, and the starting salary was decent, enough for us to live on.
But days went by and they didn’t contact him with work, and they weren’t following up with other things. So as impressed as he was with them initially, he couldn’t continue to consider himself hired without getting work and a salary! He interviewed a week ago with a smaller company, and came home rather negative about it for various reasons. He said he was offered a job, but the starting salary was half of what he was offered before (the first offer was the industry standard for starting rates). After a year, it would gradually go up to the starting salary offered at the first company, and he needed to commit to stay with them for a year (or two? can’t remember now).
We both know that you have to start somewhere, and getting your foot in the door for the first time is the hardest part. We weren’t approaching this as Americans who don’t understand the salary differences between here and the US, and he wasn’t insistent that he start at the top of the totem pole by any means. But this seemed like a really low place to have to start. (In case you missed the implications of this salary, it would be half of what we needed for our very frugal standard.)
We talked about it and agreed he’d turn it down, but then he spoke with a couple people who have been in the business for a long time who he has developed a good relationship since moving here (he plays tennis with one of them twice a week :)). They told him to research the head of the company, and when he did, he got very good feedback – honest, hardworking, etc. So they told him to take the job, that he’d learn a lot and get good experience of working here in Israel, but not to commit to continue working with him for a year. And that’s what he did.
Dh started working this week, exactly six months after arriving. (If you’re wondering how our finances held up, well, you know already that I’m very frugal, right? It’s a good thing I didn’t know from the outset that we’d be in that situation for so long because I couldn’t have visualized managing so long without income.) And I am so, so happy to say that he’s already loving it! He’s working from home, something he’s dreamed of doing for years, and this is work that he’s so well suited for. (Not sharing personal details on this field, other to say that it’s something he had experience with in the past – though not in an official capacity – and did additional training here when he arrived.)
To find work after six months is actually considered pretty fast! Dh has really applied himself from day 1 to staying focused and every single day, putting in hours learning new skills, networking, and learning more skills. Right after moving in, we made our walk-in closet into an office for him so he’d be able to focus on his work, and he treated his preparing for a job as a job – he didn’t get discouraged when it was taking time, and he continued to believe that he’d find something suitable within a decent time frame. And he was right. (I personally consider his ability to master his fears and stay positive in spite of everything, including feedback from everyone about how hard it is to find work here, the discrimination for people above age 40, to be a very impressive accomplishment – it took constant conscious effort.)
As far as the income, am I worried? Well, to be very honest, right after he accepted the job I was having a hard time getting too excited about this precisely because of the pay scale. That’s why I didn’t post about it in the beginning of the week. But now that I’ve seen how my dh is taking to this work like a duck takes to water, and I really believe that when a person has positive energy, good things will be drawn to them. Seeing his feedback has made me 100% positive about him accepting this job, and I’m confident that it will lead to continued good things for our family!