Thursday, May 10, 2012

Working Hard or Hardly Workin'

I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that most people are wondering what I actually DO here.  At the beginning of my ‘move’ I was excited about the prospect of finding a job in Tel Aviv, and putting my skills to use and hopefully making a meager salary to pay for travel expenses.  Lo and behold…just as my mom predicted…that has not happened.

During my first week in Tel Aviv I got a false sense of how easy it would be to find a job (and was really excited to prove Mom wrong).  I found a job-posting site for foreigners in Israel and sent my resume to a few companies.  I surprisingly got a call back from one of them and was called in to an interview. 

I was offered a marketing position on the spot, but was a little taken aback by their quick to move offer.  Given my experience in the ‘professional world’ in the U.S., I had certain expectations about the standard procedures of a job offer – job description, salary, company policies, hours of work, etc.  When I couldn’t seem to get a clear answer on the things that I deemed commonplace, I moved on.  Although I may have been a little picky in this circumstance, the short story is “I didn’t think it was a good fit.”  Since then, I haven’t had so much luck on the job front.

However, that’s not to say that I’m not working…or doing anything with my time.  I find that it’s quite the opposite actually.  “With what?” you might ask.  Well, first off…these blog posts don’t write themselves.  And because I’m the truest definition of a perfectionist, it takes significantly more time than I’m sure it would for the average person to pump out a few paragraphs and pictures.

In addition to this blog, I’ve maintained my Hebrew studies – 2 hours a day, 5 days a week in class, and usually another 2-3 hours of studying per day.  Today marked my last day of the “Level 3” course, which means that I can now successfully say, “I want tomatoes and hummus on my pita, please,”  and a variety of other useful (and not so useful) phrases.  I mean…who really needs to know how to say, “A bus flipped over on the Ivory Coast” three months into studying a new language??

My homemade Hebrew flashcards

And as my Hebrew has improved, I’ve been able to start helping more and more in the boy’s business as well.  It’s definitely refreshing to be back in a business environment – analyzing numbers, creating Excel spreadsheets (like a true nerd), strategizing and planning, and reviewing tools and systems to help with operations and sales. 

Even though my lack of Hebrew can be a major handicap (and quite frustrating) when I’m trying to read documents or communicate with employees, helping in his business has also given me some major “Hebrew breakthroughs.”  I’m now able to type in Hebrew (not as fast as English…but I’m getting there!), and can understand much more of the conversations I listen to in the office.

The more interesting part of the work I’ve been doing, however, has turned out to be the things that I wouldn’t have ever considered as my strengths.  I’m now editing videos, trying to learn PhotoShop, working on the website, learning SEO, and reading about employment laws (okay…admittedly the last one isn’t quite as much fun). 

AND in exchange for all this hard work, I’ve cut a deal for free private dance lessons.  (Oh…did I mention that the boy in fact has a dance studio and performance group?  Mostly breakdance and hip hop – FUN - I know!)  Thus far I’ve gotten way better at editing videos than spinning on my head (not at all), but seeing as how I’m not 18 anymore, I’ll take what my mind and body can give!

This is...obviously not me.

Recently I reflected at my increasingly busy days, and wondered where all the time is going…undeniably with some thought as to whether I’ll have enough time to take advantage of the beach this summer (the answer is…no matter what, I’ll MAKE time!). 

As my 'work' begins to take shape (in terms of projects, goals, responsibilities), the lines between ‘work and home’ and ‘work and play’ are becoming blurred.  Ideas are constantly on my mind, I'm jotting down notes or making small changes, or getting occupied with projects until the wee hours of the morning. 

Time management is a challenge for many of us…how do we choose to spend the few precious hours in our day (and life)?  When do we decide there’s something important enough at work that we must finish it at the expense of our personal lives?  And when do we put our personal lives – dinner with your spouse, your daughter’s birthday party, or your weekend trip to Napa – above that report that’s due on Monday morning?
Believe me that as I’m writing this I’m struggling with these issues myself…I don’t have it all figured out.   I don’t have the answer.  I might not be working for a salary, I might not have a boss to answer to…but I do have to answer to myself.  And usually that’s my harshest critic.  My only ‘advice’ today is to remember that life is precious, your time is a gift, and you have the blessing of doing with it what you choose.
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