Startup Nation and not much else

As a young man in his mid-twenties, I have to like the fact that Rosh Hashanah is placed in September-October. It is around the time that school/university starts. It was always a time you are ready for new beginnings, whether you like it or not, and it forces you to decide what you are going to do.

There is something nice about looking back and saying I know what I’m going to do this upcoming year. It is not going to be hard. It can be hell though, and no one expects me to accomplish anything significant let alone support myself. I’m 25. That privilege is over.

Because of the military service, the following dead-end jobs and trip abroad, combined with an infantile perspective on life since you have little to no actual life experience, you go on and study in the humanities. Great. You worked hard in math and physics and computer science and then you thought to yourself: I want to sit in front of a computer and research narratives in the Internet age.

I am not alone in this. Even as humanities departments across the nation see their faculties shrink, about a third of the students decide to go and study there. Why? Is it laziness or ineptitude? Or a genuine desire to learn something that has no real-world utility?  A degree in living room icebreakers, in something you are most passionate about.

The pioneers who established the country were dreamers as well. They worked hard for it, but it is hard to consider the construction of settlements and wars, fighting against nature and man to be a similar endeavor. Breaking my back as I hunch over a backlit screen to identify the flaneur in role-playing games is not something that gives you muscles or respect or a proper finance over time.

Israel was nicknamed startup nation. This is because Israel had more successful startup companies than any other nation a couple years back, and still, and still, so many people seem to sacrifice their financial capacity for their artistic one, including myself.

You only live once was an echoing theme during the past couple of years. The Y generation heard time and time again about how we can do it, we can succeed in anything, as long as we try hard enough and for long enough. I hope that it’s true, and wish me luck, but Israel is a place where the high-tech dream enveloped and devoured anything else. I can have the best job in the world, and still make under 3,000 USD a month, and save for a bungalow in a commune in the Negev in about a decade. But you only live once.

If there are voices that call for leaving the country, they are coming from people who are not working, and did not get the skills required to compete in the market. They are not doctors sought after by the hospitals and the HMOs. They are not recording artists who sell merchandise as if it was as necessary as basic goods. They are not working in high-tech.

In the competitive Israeli market, with the prices of New York and the wages of Detroit, you have to show exceptional shrewdness or intelligence to find your place. Otherwise, if you are passionate about archeology, political science or anything that doesn’t lead to a good career, you will be lost in the shuffle, making 8 USD an hour. Rent becomes a problem. Workloads are not necessarily later. You find yourself in your parent’s house as you were when you were younger. Thinking that this Rosh Hashanah, you have got to save up, you have got to get skilled in something, and plan your next move if you ever want to support a child of your own.

About the Author
Asaph Wagner is an inspiring author, and writer of many forms.
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