Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems!–Zig Ziglar (1926 – 2012)
This year, after nearly thirteen years in Israel as an adult, I got a job that I can rely upon in the long term. My first reaction upon being hired by The Jewish Agency for Israel was: “Wow. Now I can finally stop worrying about career stability. I no longer have a worst case scenario.”
The jobs I had previously held in Israel were for smaller NGO’s, both run by directors who are past retirement age. Both NGO’s essentially exist because of their directors, both in terms of funding and in terms of these organizations’ missions. While both men are very dear to me, and while I believe in their causes, it would have been irresponsible not to seek more secure employment.
After my initial excitement died down, I also felt thankful to have found a professional writing job, as that has become a great passion for me, and grateful to work for an historic organization, which I already had a deep connection to. After all, my wife and I first met in Russia, working as Israeli counselors at a Jewish Agency summer camp in Saint Petersburg.
Then, as I was completing all of the requisite online forms, it dawned on me that employees at The Jewish Agency get good benefits and have a very strong workers’ union. This should have been obvious, of course, but having been without good employment benefits for years, it hadn’t occurred to me. As an example, I will receive dental insurance after working for The Agency for one year, something that standard health insurance in Israel doesn’t include.
Following my completion of all the necessary paperwork, I began work in early May and began to learn more about The Agency. Whereas I had previously only been familiar with its summer camps and programs in the former Soviet Union and its major historic role in establishing the State of Israel, I came to learn about its programs for disadvantaged people throughout Israel and the world. The money I help raise helps at-risk youth, low-income elderly people, new immigrants to Israel…
And, beyond feeling good about the work I do, feeling that it’s meaningful and important for Jews around the world and for Israeli society, I quickly came to find that all of my coworkers are truly lovely people, which is no small thing, given that we’re a team of twenty people. Having a warm, supportive work environment is no small thing; and I’ve made one good friend in particular whom I really, really like. Just last week, we arranged a playdate for our daughters 😊
So, for me, 2022 has been a year of major change. Moving to Israel has not been easy, and challenges remain, but for the first time in more than a dozen years, I feel like I’ve ‘made it’. There are many people who move to Israel, struggle to build lives for themselves, and give up. I have known such individuals, and, honestly, I feared becoming one myself. And now… I finally feel secure.
For all of this I am very thankful; and while I’ve long tried to follow Zig Ziglar’s advice (above) and appreciate the wonderful things I have in my life (especially my wife and daughter), this has become much easier for me now that I’m no longer concerned about my long-term survival.
Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays #45
This reflection was written for WQW45.