“Smart and flexible people will always find interesting opportunities.” I recited this phrase to myself a lot this spring, whenever I felt the rising tide of panic that, by embracing this “year on” to Jerusalem, I was also committing career suicide. That panic has a real justification in the unemployment statistics back home in the USA, not to mention the limited options within reasonable distance of Middletown, DE. I worried, but it didn’t stop me. Many people with whom I worked were incredulous that I would give up a great, interesting, flexible job where I could work 75% time and receive full benefits. But as I sometimes do when faced with very complicated decisions, I resorted to what I think of as “bumper sticker” thinking: When in doubt, say yes. Give it the “ten-year” test (i.e. in 2021, what will you regret doing, or not having done?). Smart and flexible people will always find interesting opportunities. All those sayings led me to the decision to go.
Now that I’m here, I’m in the market for interesting opportunities, and I think the first may have presented itself this morning. I was asked — and agreed — to join the board of the girls’ school, Jerusalem American International School (JAIS). This is an honor and a great learning opportunity for me, and hopefully a chance to be useful. Of course, my qualifications are a bit sketchy, since I’ve known the school all of 7 days. Apparently the criteria for the role are being a US Citizen (check) and having some experience with education (check) and, unofficially, having kids the same age as, and quickly becoming friends with, the Board Chair’s children (check). OK, so perhaps he was a bit desperate to fill a vacant seat. But I am still proud of myself that I took the risk and said yes.
We will see what other kinds of interesting gigs come my way, if any. I’m excited for this one. First meeting in three days!