Short-Term Career Advice for Internationals in Israel

Software developer "bootcamp" in Israel. Source: http://developers.institute
Software developer "bootcamp" in Israel. Source: http://developers.institute

Throughout my professional journey in the past decade, moving from non-profits to government, to private sector, from working with start-ups and entrepreneurs to large corporations, then back to “start-up land,” and above all — building my own business — I have noticed and gathered various insights on today’s world of work and on-demand economy. So, I decided to share some of them with the community.

This time: Short-Term Career Advice for Internationals in Israel

One of the reasons I like initiatives such as Developers.Institute and others is the fact that they provide an effective and pragmatic solution for a very big pain, which I see many in the community suffer from.

Many “Internationals” (temporary and Olim alike, young and senior professionals alike) are trying to achieve their long-term goals within a short-term period of time. I understand that, and can totally empathize to the desire to “conquer” and “make it in Israel – the Start-Up Nation”, as fast as possible.

However, as a born-and-raised Israeli who is heavily involved in this community – my advice for many would actually be to separate between long-term strategic goals, and short-term tactic goals.

Having a plan to move to Israel and obtain a job in your profession and develop a career in your desired industry and achieve all the above immediately – is awesome – but also hard… Very hard.

In the opposite direction, I would guess that if I were to move to Minnesota (for example), it would be hard for me to settle in and obtain a job in my profession and develop my career in my desired industry and achieve all the above right away. I would probably have to sacrifice some things in order to secure others, and only after getting the short-term right, go for the long-term. I would argue that you have to pragmatically take care of the short-term, in order to strategically conquer the long-term.

And that’s exactly what my advice is about.

Jobs is for the short-term, career is for the long-term

You cannot achieve all at once (well, maybe you can). However, if you understand that in today’s world of work (Israel included) you are a business unit, everything starts to look differently. For the same way any business needs to understand that entering a new market requires a plan, patience, persistence, resources and time – so should you. Such a business, for example, may come to the conclusion that until it gets to sell the desired product to the desired customers in that new market, that business has to live off of something else in order to cover the long-term investment. And so should you.

Thus, you may want to consider focusing on pragmatic solutions for your short-term needs, in order to have the ability to invest in strategic growth paths for your long-term goals.

And as an “international” in Israel, your immigration is a vital part of your career path. You have to give it the respect, time, attention and focus it deserves.

Therefore, if when coming to Israel you take a job that is not in your desired direction, but one that makes sense for the short-term (even if the short term is a few years), and allows you to construct the foundations of your life in Israel – I would call it a smart career decision.

Software developer “bootcamp” in Israel. Source: http://developers.institute

Here’s an example:

  1. You’re a bad-ass, Wall-Street-experienced financial analyst who decided to move to Israel and make Aliyah.
  2. You figure out it’s quite hard to get a job that matches your experience and skills in Israel. I mean, what can you do, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange is not Wall Street..
  3. You realize that in the local financial sector, you have no unique added value which differentiates you in front of employers here. In fact, you may have a shortcoming (language, no local experience).
  4. You understand that you need to start making money, save some, obtain some stability and security, and start building your life in the new country.
  5. You came to learn that as much Israel is thriving as “start-up nation” – the industry is actually short of developers!
  6. You take a 3-month coding “bootcamp” that quickly gets you a job as a junior mobile developer.
  7. You now make a nice salary (one that could have taken you a few years to get to, if you were to start from scratch in your previous industry).
  8. You realize you can now offer your cultural intelligence as an additional unique added value to your employer.
  9. From a more secured, settled, and risk-managed stage – now that you set the foundation for your life in the new land – you can now start pursuing your long-term career path, with no background noise, pressure and constrains.

“I took the ‘short and long’ way. I soon reached the city but found my approach obstructed by gardens and orchards. So I retraced my steps and said to the child: ‘My son, did you not tell me that this is the short way?’ Answered the child: ‘Did I not tell you that it is also long?” – Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananiah, Talmud, Eruvin 53b

I would advice taking the long-short way.

About the Author
Assaf is passionate about promoting business in and with Israel, helping and mentoring entrepreneurs, advising young professionals with career planning and self-fulfillment, and more. Assaf acts as a brand ambassador of Israel as 'Start-Up Nation, speaking to thousands of businessmen, investors, entrepreneurs, young professionals, students and others, both in Israel and around the world. Assaf also works as a business development and marketing consultant to Israeli start-ups and others.
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