Last week I posted on my status on Facebook how I was depressed and down. I had gone on yet another job interview and heard the dreaded “Are you religious” question, which seems to be a big roadblock here In the Tel Aviv area. I had applied even though it was nowhere near my dream job, because the pay and hours would have worked out good with my family schedule. And although I have the experience, and WANTED to work the horrible hours that were being offered, I was turned down, and the job was reposted. The thing that surprised me most is I got 60 something responses to my Facebook posting. Some people came up with good advice, and there were some comments from people who just wanted to complain, too.
Probably the biggest regret I have is not listening to my parents and getting an education. I made it through high school on the skin of my teeth. So here is the big problem: I’m 51 years old and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Where did my life go? When did I become an adult, and not that young punk with plenty of time to decide what I want to do later on in life?
Years of following the Grateful Dead and being anti-society have left me with no real job skills I can get paid for, or at least not without getting arrested. Part of me is still stuck in the ’80s, even though I know I’m living in the technology age. And I’m by no means a techie. I didn’t even get my first computer till 2000, since I was always afraid of 1984 Big Brother, till I finally realized I was just a small fish.
It’s true that I had learning difficulties, and back in my day schools weren’t trained to recognize them. I came from the time just before Sesame Steet, and I graduated high school just before computers made it into schools. So as all my friends were going off to college, I joined the world of a 9 to 5 day job. I have done just about everything imaginable. Until now, I never had a hard time finding a job or work. Of course, I have been replaced by a computer twice in my life, and some of my old jobs don’t even exist anymore.
I’ve gone from selling art supplies to selling groceries to selling Google optimization. And for one memorable (well, it should have been memorable anyway… I don’t recall as much of it as I would like) decade when the burden of work got to be too much, I dropped out from the real world and followed the Grateful Dead around for many years. That was a job in itself, but at least one I could enjoy. I got to travel the country, seeing cool places and catching great concerts, too. But all good thing must come to an end at some time.
… I’ve had a few …
I’ve been in Israel for exactly seven years as of yesterday, and I have not had a steady job for most of that time. I‘m a stay at home dad, the main caregiver for my kids. It’s a Catch 22 type of job. I love my kids more than life itself, but they do their job well… very well. They know all the buttons to push to drive me crazy. And I can go weeks without any real adult interaction. So, to me, being employed would be a two part win-win sort of thing.
The first win is a paycheck. Money is a necessary evil. And let’s face the truth, I’m a guy with an ego like all guys, so bringing home a paycheck would help me feel more complete as a man. Most people don’t think raising kids is a full-time job, and for no pay and very little respect, it really does not help feed that male ego at all. Though deep down I do know it’s probably one of life’s most important jobs.
The second win of working is the social aspect of a job. I get to leave the house and be with other adults. I’ve tried the work from home thing. Unfortunately, the work was not steady enough, and I did not get the adult interaction that I so desperately need.
But then again, too few to mention
I’m not asking for your pity. I don’t plan on quitting and going back to America. Mostly because I love Israel, but also partly because I came from Detroit, so there’s not so much to go back to. For those of you who are having a difficult time here in Israel, reach out for help BEFORE you get into major trouble. And when you see people grumbling about how hard life is, maybe just stop and consider why. And try to figure out if you can make their day a little better, even if it’s only by lending an ear.