Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Some people call it "luck" or "fate" or "coincidence." People with faith call it Hashgacha Pratis (Divine Providence). All would probably agree that it's "being in the right place at the right time."

So, first, some background.

David has really been going through some angst lately, trying to figure out his life. He's been working for almost ten months now, without any clear cut goals. Before we made aliyah David told me several times that he didn't want to stay in the field of IT (Information Technology) when we got here. But once we got here and he began looking for work, he realized that in order for us to stay afloat it only made sense to work in the field he had experience in. So many people are finding it hard to find any kind of work at all. We were blessed that he found a job so quickly - except that he had the attitude that since it wasn't what he wanted, he was going to be unhappy. In his mind he felt that, once again, his job was taking over his life and he was resentful. There was commuting time and then 9 hour work days. Add to that ulpan two nights a week, and then studying for ulpan class on other nights. Two nights a week is learning by phone with a chavrusa (study partner). And when was down time? Or time with his wife (that would be me)? And between the time he gets home at night and the time he has for sleeping there's a lot to cram in, so sleep gets sacrificed. When you get up at 4:30 AM but don't make it to bed until 11 or 11:30 at night on a consistent basis, you tend to get grumpy and dissatisfied.

So David decided to talk to me about it last night at dinner; I had actually cooked and we sat down to eat our meal together. He told me about his frustrations and anxieties. I knew he'd been upset and unhappy; now I understood why. You see, David is a computer person. He needs to compartmentalize his life - everything fits in a specific slot and needs to be dealt with separately. He's slow about certain things, but only because he's sorting it all out in his mind; almost 100% of the time the end result is a perfect answer (which sometimes drives me crazy because how can you live with a person who always knows everything? Not that it doesn't occasionally {or usually} come in handy...).

Anyway, the conclusion he came to after much thought is that he has to concentrate on just one thing and do that thing to the best of his ability instead of trying to spread himself so thin that he can't be good at anything. He's decided that he's going to change his attitude. Of course he'd like to make learning Torah his #1 priority but right now, since he's not yet retired and has to make a parnassah, he's going to be the guy at work who volunteers for extra projects, who contributes during staff meetings, who goes the extra mile. He wants to show the company what his talents are and show them what his vast experience can offer them. Until now he deliberately has just laid back and not been part of the team, and he hasn't felt very good about that. In order to go from being a consultant who just works at Intel, he's going for the blue badge - which means that he's going to show Intel that they need to hire him directly and promote him according to his talents.

Ulpan is part of that. In order to get ahead he's got to learn the language, so he's going to concentrate (for now) on ulpan and work. He'll still learn with his chavrusa and whatever he can do on Shabbat, but our tzedakah money will have to support other people's Torah learning for now.

So this morning he woke up with a new attitude and a new purpose. We had a bris to go to this morning in Yerushalayim, right down the street from where David works. It was for the new grandson of friends of ours from Ramat Beit Shemesh, Tzvi and Tobi. Tzvi is the one who almost hired me to work for him at Aish, but he just doesn't have the money in the budget right now to pay a new person (a pretty repetitive theme for a not-for-profit). Anyway, it was mostly family and friends of the couple who had the baby, but I found myself sitting next to a woman at the seuda (festive meal) who was very sweet. She lives in Ramat Shlomo, her husband works at Aish, and of course we knew people in common, yada yada yada. You know how it goes. Then she asked what my husband does. I answered, "What does he do now or what is he capable of doing?" I explained that he was a software tester but that back in the states he designed computer networks for large companies. She became thoughtful and then said, "I have a friend whose husband works at XXX (don't want to give out too much info yet and jump the gun, but it's a nice company right around the corner from where David currently works) and I think they're looking for people right now." Then she asked for my cell phone and called her friend, Karen, and put me on the phone. It seems Karen's husband's computer company is conducting interviews right now for senior managers. They want people with experience, not these young people right out of college. It's also a great place (so says Karen) for religious people; the cafeteria is kosher with a good hechsher and they have daily minyamin (prayer services) in the building. Karen said even if her husband's department didn't need David's specific skill sets, he could steer him to a another department that could use him. She gave me her husband's phone numbers and email address, and said she would tell him to expect a call and an email with David's resume. WOW!

Does Hashem listen to us or what? Now that David finally made up his mind to change his attitude, it feels like Hashem is saying, "I've been waiting for you. Just walk though the door."


It's now late evening. David called Yisroel, but the position he was looking to fill in his department was in an area that David is not qualified for. He still told David to send him his CV and he would forward it to other applicable departments in the company. Oh, well. David and I talked about it tonight and we decided that we're just happy he has a job. I played mahj with two friends this afternoon (first time in a LONG time), and neither one of their families are doing well financially. One woman has four kids and her husband still hasn't found work after 11 months here; they're scraping together meals from donated canned goods and pasta. The other woman related that the electric company was on the verge of turning off their power. Another family in Ramat Beit Shemesh we're close with have been here over two years and they've both just done odd jobs to bring in some money. We are SO blessed. Now we're just trying to figure out what we can do to help without being intrusive.

At least now David has some perspective; he said going to work today with a changed attitude made all the difference. Baruch Hashem!

{printed with permission from subject}

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