Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Lifelines: On-the-Job Training

C. Saphir

I was so unqualified for this job that I didn’t even know to turn it down

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

ilfelines

Photo: Shutterstock

The mesivta I attended offered no formal general studies. No English, no math, no science. I graduated with some sort of diploma, but without any idea of where my vocational interests might lie. 

As long as I was safely ensconced within the yeshivah system, this wasn’t a problem. I did the same thing all my peers did: continued from high school to beis medrash, then to Eretz Yisrael, then to a yeshivah in America. 

Unlike most of my friends, I did not have an easy time in shidduchim. As one year went by and then another, keeping a positive frame of mind became increasingly difficult, and my learning deteriorated significantly. I put a lot of thought into my situation, and decided that I wanted to go to work. 

This turned out to be a much more difficult step than I anticipated, because my family and friends were opposed to the idea. “Who would date you?” they asked. And, “How can you possibly leave yeshivah? You don’t understand the repercussions.” These were comments I heard over and over again. 

I soon realized that if I wanted to take this step, I would have to do it alone, without anyone’s support. But where to begin? 

I met with a vocational counselor, and he advised me to take an aptitude test. The results indicated that I’d make a good police officer. Right. 

I decided to go out and speak to people in the working world — business owners, professionals, rank-and-file employees. Along the way, I met some wonderful people who tried to help me network and meet potential employers. 

About six months into my search, I got a call from one of these people. “I have a few possibilities for you, Yaakov,” he said. “There’s a wholesaler who’s looking for someone to help with sales and returns, a plumber looking for an assistant trainee, and a nursing home chain looking for an IT intern to help with day-to-day operations.” 

I had always been interested in computers, so I decided to go with the IT internship at Golden Age Care (GAC), even though it was an unpaid position. 

On my first day at GAC, I was told to “image these computers from the network.” I didn’t have the slightest clue what that meant. Nor was there anyone to ask, because GAC did not have anyone on-site in charge of its computer system; all of its IT needs were handled by outside companies. 

At a loss for where to begin, I Googled the words “How to image a computer.” Luckily, I came across the right information and figured out what I needed to do.

Photo: Shutterstock

What to do next? Management wasn’t giving me any instructions, but the company employees were happy to keep me busy. Very busy. One employee called me to tell me that his computer had crashed, while another one yelped that the phones weren’t working. As I was hurrying over to the first one to help with his computer, a third employee flagged me down from her desk to let me know the printer was out of ink. 

This went on for the duration of my four-month internship. In addition to helping my coworkers with their computer issues, I spent a good portion of each day logged onto various IT sites that provided me with the information I needed to get through my day. I also spent a lot of time talking to staff members, and slowly, I got a picture of what needed to be done to keep the various computer systems working properly. 

When my internship was over, I still didn’t know what my responsibilities were supposed to have been. But apparently I had done a reasonably good job at whatever it was GAC wanted from me, because they offered me a steady job continuing to do what I was doing, at a salary of $11 an hour.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah