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Why oh why can’t I find a job?

I wanted to name this blog “what is wrong with me?” but it seemed kind of negative (besides, there are many things wrong with me). In any case, spoiler alert: I got a job. It’s only been three weeks so G-d only knows what the future holds. The first three months are a trial run so 9 weeks from now I might be back to job searching…but I hope not. 

But that is the end of the story. I want to tell you what the journey was like to get to the point where someone (a great company) finally said yes!

Chapter one: I left my job.

I am not going to get into it, but this story either will be or won’t be in my autobiography that I will write when my baby, who is now 9 months, turns 18. (Yes, we can have coffee then too. Until then, I am busy.) It’s a wild story- but we’ll cut to the chase, I left a job I loved after 6 years. The place I had worked was my identity, its staff- my family, its building- my second home, and its mission- so close to my heart. So when I left it really felt like a divorce (I would know!). I really had to redefine so much of who I was. Note to self: don’t ever become your job, because if you ever leave the position, you won’t know who you are after. Anyway, the point is I left and I had to find a new job right away due to the fact that I am the bread winner in my family. 

Chapter two- I am pregnant! 

About 3 months before I left my job, I had lost a pregnancy at 22 weeks and had birthed the baby. It was a very traumatic experience, one that I have written a lot about but not on this platform. I was still “mourning” the loss when about 2 weeks after I left my job, I found I was pregnant again. And then it hit me…I had 3 months until I was able to land a job because no one ever hires someone who is pregnant. (More on that later). 

Chapter 3- Time is ticking

I began searching for a job. I refurbished my LinkedIn page, my CV and I joined whatsapp groups and email groups and Fb groups and all kinds of “I need a job now” groups and started applying. I was sending out my resume to anywhere and everywhere that fit my “skills” and “experience”. I had been working in digital marketing and content creation (digital storytelling) even though my BA is in psychology, and my Masters is in special education. But I had been working in this field for over 10 years and I thought that is where I belonged. I sent out my resume with a cover letter several times a day and started going to interviews. In those 3 months I must have gone on at least 25+ interviews- including zoom interviews. And nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. Every single door was slammed on my face. Over and over again- and this, my friend, will be a theme in this blog. 

Chapter 4-  In a conundrum

I was pregnant, but still not 3 months and I don’t like telling people I am pregnant before 3 months. But there was no way around people knowing because I had never lost the weight from (then) 2 year old’s pregnancy, and then the terminated pregnancy weight lay on that, and here I was pregnant for the 3rd time in under 3 years. I was not even 3 months, and I looked like I was 5 months. I couldn’t tell jobs: I am not pregnant, because I was. I couldn’t say I was pregnant, because then I wouldn’t get the job. And they couldn’t ask because it was illegal. So I was left in this awkward place. I wore baggy black clothes to my interviews but my first reasoning for why I wasn’t getting a job was because I looked more pregnant than I actually was. So reason number one for not getting a job, I told myself, was because no one hires a pregnant lady. 

Chapter 5- My Hebrew

When people would ask me when I made Aliyah, I was (am) very embarrassed to tell them because I have been here long enough that my Hebrew should be, if not my mother tongue, then very very good. And it isn’t. Yes I did ulpan back in the day but my years in Israel were always in the cocoon of English speakers, and yes it is my fault that I didn’t throw myself in there like they tell you to. (No, I didn’t read Hebrew newspapers like they also told me to). Anyhow, most jobs required fluent Hebrew (that’s one X), some jobs wanted a CV in Hebrew (second X), and several interviews were in Hebrew (triple X). The funny thing is, when it comes to my kids (fighting for them in court, talking to professionals or therapists or Doctors or teachers) my Hebrew is actually pretty good because the mama bear speaks Hebrew well. But in a working environment, my tongue becomes tied, my self esteem goes out the window, and I don’t remember how to say my name in Hebrew, let alone answer sophisticated questions. And there I was- very limited with job options because my Hebrew just wasn’t good enough professionally. 

Chapter 6- My skills

My skills were self-taught alongside some classes/courses along the way. But at some point, I plateaued with my skill set and didn’t “keep up” with the newest and most popular trends. In other words, I was still a Facebook girl and didn’t dream of downloading Tik Tok. (My age supports this statement.) So, the toolbox I had, that I kept showing up to interviews with, was never enough or up to par. If I had 9/10 things, the next person had 11/10 things, and then some. I realized that I was behind the times in this industry, and I needed a professional makeover. I signed up for some courses to refresh and update myself, but as I went on more interviews, there was always someone who had more in his/her toolbox than I did in mine. Which is ironic, because my skill set is long, and my professional experience isn’t nothing- I did have what to show and be proud of. It’s not like I was showing up to the party with nothing, it’s just that as much as I had…it was just never enough. 

Chapter 7- Now I am showing!

Then there was no way around it, I was really showing. I had gone on too many to count interviews up until this point and I was already so strung out and I realized time was up. Then a friend in my yeshuv asked me if I was interested in doing some grant writing work at an organization that is literally a five minute walk from my house. I have experience in grant writing and although I don’t love it, I thought what could be better then having a job across the street? I didn’t say I was pregnant, but she later told me she knew (duh!), and they hired me anyway,  maternity clothes and all. I spent the next 4 months working in this organization. It was a wonderful cause with truly incredible people, but the work was not doing it for me. There wasn’t enough work for me to full my day, and it was very dry and copy/paste with little room for creativity and after a few months, we were mutually frustrated. After a meeting with the head of the organization, and truthfully after having made an error in my work that upset him, we parted ways. 

Chapter 8- Live!

So here I am, 3 months away from giving birth and I know I’m not getting a job, so I decided to live a little. This is the part where I have some regret, like I should have done all those projects we never have time for (or we never finished from when we started them during Covid lockdowns). I didn’t organize pictures and make albums, rearrange clothes according to season, age and color, I didn’t take that pottery class and I definitely didn’t meet up with enough friends. I also got very lazy (read: tired!) and started sleeping a lot. I tried to walk, and I tried to take care of myself but honestly that time really felt like I was just waiting to give birth. And of course, my 9th month was in August when everyone was home, and it was boiling hot …and my sister came to stay with us for two weeks from NY! In other words, I wasn’t bored. 

Chapter 9- Mazal tov

Baruch Hashem, on September 1st, we had a baby boy. And I told myself for the next three months I wouldn’t even think about getting a job. And I didn’t. I didn’t look at jobs or send my resume out. I focused on my new baby and adjusting to having 4 kids and I slept a lot. Everyone knows after birth a woman needs sleep, but after 3 months postpartum, when I was meant to be starting to look for a job, and the pressure financially was quite a burden (again, understatement)… I was still sleeping. I didn’t get dressed, stopped going out, stopped talking to people and didn’t really do anything besides nurse my baby and sleep. I had a pass for the first three months but about 5 months after birth, I realized something was wrong. I had never had postpartum depression with my other children but suddenly it hit me- I was really depressed. I found out about Machon Hila- a program at Hadassah that helped women with postpartum depression and I started seeing a psychiatrist- for free I might add! For the first two-three months, while she was playing with meds, I didn’t get better. But I did start sending out my resume again. In fact, I would spend most of my time (in bed, in pjs), applying for jobs-  maybe up to 15 a day! The majority of these applications came back with a polite no email response- I saw several dozen versions of “we think you are great but we aren’t hiring you” emails. In any case, I was trying to get a job while fighting depression. When I did get an interview, I put on an act for that hour and hoped my darkness did not seep through. And this is the point when I started to believe that I wasn’t good enough. Or that people saw right through me. That they saw I was nothing, empty, not talented, not bright, not professional and that I didn’t have what it takes to be a working woman. I got so many no’s- both after sending CVs and going on probably over 30 interviews. I even broadened my wishes. I widened my location preferences (I even went to Bnei Brak for an interview!), I expanded my search of what I was ideally looking for, I lowered my salary expectations, and I became a sort of chameleon. I started “being” whatever I thought they were looking for. I didn’t lie and say that I spoke Spanish or had a Ph.D. in Biophysics, but I did stretch myself and walked out of my comfort zone. 

Chapter 10- The meds kicked in. 

I was still looking for a full-time job and going on endless interviews (many of which had many stages and tests/assignments that I had to do) and I was getting nowhere. I was still at home with my baby and trying to keep busy- then one day I woke up and I felt good. The darkness just disappeared. The big black cloud hanging over my head dissipated, and I was able to see the sun again. I started getting dressed, going out, being myself again and reaching out to people I hadn’t spoken to for months. At my next appointment with my Dr, I exclaimed- “It finally worked. Whatever cocktail I am on is working!” and I finally climbed out of the deep dark hole that I was in for what seemed like an eternity. Ironically, I told no one what I was going through until I started coming out of it, and only when I creeped out from behind my own imposter, did people start reaching out to me in ways I hadn’t even thought possible. Anyway, thank G-d, I got back to myself. 

Chapter 11- Let’s do this

Now my baby was about 5 months and although I had been applying for jobs for at least two months, I really put my foot on the peddle and tried with all my might to get a job both because I needed to get out of the house and work for my mental health and also because we REALLY needed the money. I became addicted to sending out my resume and my days were filled with interviews both virtual and physical. And…you guessed it… nothing. NO, NO, NO. The door kept getting shut on my face- even when I walked away with a good feeling. Even when I thought it went well and I was sure they were going to hire me. Even when I was really the right fit for the job. Even when I was convinced that God wouldn’t let me get one more no because it was slowly killing me to be rejected over and over again. I had a bone to pick with G-d during this time. I was doing maximum “hishtadlut ‘ – so where was He in all this? Why wasn’t he making this easier?

Chapter 12- conspiracies

I started thinking that my old job was bad mouthing me and “had it out for me”. I really began thinking that they were the reason I was not getting hired and old colleagues had spread bad things about me. Without getting too much into it, I didn’t leave on the best of terms so it wasn’t like the idea was ludicrous. But it was highly unlikely. In any case, I was convinced by many people that wasn’t the case. But if that wasn’t it, what other reasons did I have left for not getting a job? That is when I thought there are two options here. Either I go down the path of being a nobody with nothing to show for myself and I was never going to get a job or…I could pivot. What I mean by pivot was to look at things from scratch. I decided that my minimum criteria was 1- the job had to be within an hour of my home 2- I wanted to make X amount of money 3- it needed to be positions that doesn’t require high level Hebrew and 4- it ideally would be a place that would look at my skill set as an asset or foundation to whatever it was they would need to train me in. In other words- instead of competing with everyone who knew more than me, I thought to focus on jobs that would need to teach/train me because no one would be able to do that specific job without training first. And boom. It worked. 

Chapter 13- Work

When my baby was 8 months old, I got a job. At this point I was so used to rejections that I had ZERO expectations, and I was utterly shocked when the company offered me a job. It is an hour away, it is not flexible in terms of working from home, it’s 5 days a week plus occasional Fridays and erev chag, chol hamoed and summers, but the money is right.  They saw my skill set as the right “fit” or prerequisite that was needed to learn and train in this position and they said it would take me a few months to learn the ropes. (A truly unique position that no one could walk into knowing how to do it on their own.). It involves creativity, it is heavily content creation related, it has meaning, it is interesting, the office is really nice, the people are WONDERFUL, and so far, so good. Thank you G-d. 

Chapter 14- What I learned

I learned a few things. First, that G-d really does have a plan and that parnasa is truly in His hands, not our own. I learned that when someone is Jewish (Israeli?), and they need help financially, there is help to be had by wonderful people. I learned that G-d knows better than me because I was meant to be home with my baby those 8 months and I was meant to heal from darkness and I was meant to be patient until G-d gave me a good match. I really do feel like I dated a million positions until I found my “bisheret”…but then again, it’s only been 3 weeks. However, I learned that everyone has specialties and unique things about them and you only need one person to recognize your greatness and your potential who can pave the way to becoming your best self in a working environment. I never wanted to start my own business or be an entrepreneur, but I did need someone to look at me and see that I could be a leader and that I had a lot going for me, if I would be given a chance and a stage to “perform” on. I am endlessly grateful to the company’s CEO’s for recognizing this potential in me and now I hope and pray to G-d that I live up to that and that I will not disappoint them- and more importantly, that I will prove to myself that I still got it. Cuz hell ya- I still got it. 

About the Author
Sarah Bechor is a freelance writer in addition to her full-time job as a content writer. She made Aliyah in 2007 and now lives with her husband and 4 children in Gush Etzion.
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