Unexpected Parnassah in Israel

One very strange, yet exciting, thing about living in Israel is that parnassah (one’s livelihood) can come from the most unexpected sources!

For example, as I wrote a while ago, after 13 months of scouring job sites and sending out résumés all over the Internet for numerous hours daily, Michael landed a job with a company that didn’t have an opening at that time. A manager at Delek met Michael through a consultant he had networked with via an NBN contact who knew he was looking for work. Delek hired him because 1) they might need someone to fill that role in about 6 months and 2) the company is committed to helping new olim.

The opposite happened to me a few weeks ago…

I was perfectly happy in my blossoming freelance writing and web site business working with clients from San Francisco to Finland to Tel Aviv. I prefer working from home, choosing my own hours, and the freedom of taking time off if and when I feel like it.

One morning a few weeks ago as I was leisurely skimming through posts from my favorite bloggers (while waiting for a client to respond to a few questions so I could proceed with the next step of his project), I received a phone call from an Israeli man named Opher who indicated that he had received my CV from Nefesh B’Nefesh. He phoned me because he was very impressed and liked my format – especially the recommendations I had pulled from my LinkedIn profile.

I must mention that in January I had given NBN an updated version of my CV because they had sent an outdated version out to a potential client without my knowledge.

In February I received an e-mail solicitation from Carrie at TunaRez (a US company that analyzes résumés and offers advice and a re-write for a fee) so just for the fun of it I took her up on her offer. Carrie basically trashed my résumé – what bothered her most about it?

“Hiring Managers tell us they really don’t want to see reference quotes in your resume. If they want references, they ask for them. They’d rather you focus on communicating your value to them.”

If you have a few moments to spare, please take a look at my résumé – the quotes she refers to are directly from clients and former employers specifically pointing out the value they received from me!

So much for the value of TunaRez… (A friend told me she suspects they’ll actually use my format for a paying client’s résumé in the future.)

Assuming this was a potential client, my biggest challenge would be figuring out when I’d be able to fit his project into my already full schedule (of about 35 hours per week).

I put on my freelance marketing hat, but within a few minutes I realized that I was being interviewed for a direct-hire job. My wall of defense went up and I quickly informed Opher that I was not interested in working in someone’s office 40+ hours a week, thank you very much! Then I turned the conversation around and qualified his needs and suggested that he consider hiring me as a freelancer for a few months to do the required work.

He wanted more of a commitment than that and asked if I’d be willing to come in and speak with him and his partner. A few days later I found myself sitting across the dining table from Giddy, the software company’s founder and his partner Opher. I was impressed to learn that both gentlemen understood the importance of work-life balance and were not only living that philosophy but encourage it in the lives of their staff members (who all work from home).

After some pleasantries I launched into the questions I normally ask of potential clients – until “the boss” stopped and reminded me that he was the one conducting the interview and wondered if I was capable of being an employee! One of his first questions was something along the lines of “if you’re such a successful freelancer why did you apply for this job?”

He was surprised to learn that I had not applied for the job and that Opher pursued me because of the content and style of my résumé. He proceeded with an overview of the company’s future plans and I responded to questions regarding my skills and experience working with various business models, etc. – the normal stuff. The only skill I was lacking was Hebrew, but since the job focused on “all things English” I guess it wasn’t enough to hinder my place in the running (for a direct-hire job I wasn’t sure I wanted).

The interview lasted a little over an hour and ended with Opher thanking me for coming and indicating I’d hear from them in a few days – Giddy stood up and told me I’d hear from them by the end of the day. An hour later Opher called to offer me the job.

With the help of my friend and lawyer, Tzvi Szajnbrum at Voleh, we negotiated a contract that we were all happy with.

I needed a few weeks to complete commitments with other clients so we agreed that I’d start the day after Lag B’Omer (I love living in a country that revolves around the Jewish calendar!)

This week has been a whirlwind of knowledge sharing and working meetings in an invigorating entrepreneurial environment – and turning Hebrish into English :). And the icing on the cake was the delivery of these “Welcome to the Com4Com family” roses yesterday.

Oh how I love living in this country where the hand of God is so evident in our lives every day!

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