Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Considering Working for Yourself in Israel?

If you come to Eretz Yisrael and wish to work privately, there is an organization that offers courses in small business development. It also promises 20 hours of mentoring free of charge to Olim Chadashim within the first 10 years of their aliya.

This sounds wonderful and if you have a simple idea it really could be. If you have decided of a basic product that you know how to manufacture, who your target group will be and all the other necessary information, apparently you will gain assistance.

If your work includes anything in English, you have a handicap as their experienced consultants are all Hebrew speakers. You can call the number provided and be given a recording with options of 3 languages. However, if you press the number that should give you English, the only English you receive is the menu of what extension will reach which person within the company. After that you have to be fluent in Hebrew.

If you are working in a medically related field such as occupational therapy, the advise you are likely to be given will be to change the name of your profession and then try to market it. If you believe strongly in your profession, you will need to find assistance elsewhere, as this appears to be their standard piece of advise. 

From the 7 or more mentors I have tried, most have been very young with little business experience. Some sound advise given to me other than changing my profession has been:
- know that there are no miracles, just hard work, so get working
- there are no recipes for success. No-one really knows how to succeed, just put in your effort and remember to focus.
- when starting to work in Israel, be prepared to work in anything, especially work you hate. The consultants apparently all worked in jobs they hated and expect you to do so too.
- know that although there are labour laws which include being paid for your work and the time period for receiving payment, no company or facility in Israel will actually abide by this, especially schools or health related facilities. They know that it is too much hassle to take them to small claims court and that most Olim wont try. They also know that there are enough newly qualified people who are prepared to wait to be paid. Therefore if you want to keep your job, don't complain if you don't get paid on time or request that they abide by the law.

Though this is advice I was personally given and it appears to be a lot of what is practised or heard on the street, the profession of Occupational Therapy teaches something quite different. From an Occupational Therapy perspective there is such a role as a worker role, there is such a thing as a work ethic and in addition, part of the profession teaches that a person can not be healthy in the absence of meaningful occupation. I fail to see how working in something you hate will have any meaning or value and am very against the notion of advocating this to fellow Olim. In addition, there are actually Torah Laws regarding paying ones workers and the notion of not being paid is very worrisome.

One tip I learned after a few years here is one way that those professionals working in facilities manage is to have private work on the side. It helps to tide you over until the facility decides to pay you.

Something I learned from having sadly wasted almost all of my hours just trying to explain my profession is go into a meeting with any consultant well prepared. Know exactly what you want to do and what business advice you want or need. Have clearly outlined goals and don't budge from them. If you have been working for over 10 years, dont get into telling your whole work history as this can easily take up many of your mentoring hours and you don't want to waste them. Rather only tell in a few sentences the very main points that are pertinent to your meeting. 

If anyone has had an experience starting to work privately or in a small business, please do send it in. We want to hear from you. The good and the bad. Let your fellow Oleh or Olah know what is happening, what is good and what is wrong. Let us work together to build Eretz Yisrael. The land where every Jew belongs and the land given to the descendents of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaakov for the purpose of fulfilling Torah and mitzvos, here in the land. This is the work of every Jew. If anyone tells you otherwise, just fold your earlobes down over the hole of your ear and don't listen.

1 comment:

  1. Question?
    First is Israel and the US, citizenship a dual one, where one would have citizenship in both countries? To go back and forth?
    next? If so, one being disabled here and drawing disability, would they still be able to do so and live there at least 5-6 months out of year?
    I suppose it depends alot on if there is dual citizenship though? would one be able to live on



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