It’s 2008. Fortune 500, formerly jet-setting, 70-hour per week Human Resources professional suddenly wants to be employed as an Administrative Assistant? It doesn’t make sense. To the untrained eye – perhaps not.
Thankfully, I already had the opportunity and very fulfilling experience of living “The Corporate Life” for 10+ years. I climbed the proverbial ladder, I traveled, I poached executives from competing firms, I negotiated union contracts, wrote performance evaluations and directed rounds of layoffs. It was invigorating, challenging and lucrative. I know what it takes to compete in the American corporate culture and for many years, I lived in, breathed it and thrived on it.
Then, I very consciously changed my priorities and subsequently, my lifestyle. My husband and I relocated to Israel in order to live near our families. I took 3 years off to learn Hebrew and have kids.
After my second child was born and I was up to my eyeballs in diapers and naps, craving normalcy, I was introduced to Virtual Assistant Israel casually by a friend of mine. What a life changing discovery! Here was an opportunity to work within my beloved American corporate culture, in my native language, on off-hours, allowing me to stay home with the offspring.
My clients loved it because they got to work with someone who would never have been their assistant in the US. As I took on a supporting role rather than a managerial role, I was able to keep my finger on the pulse of the American workforce and economy, while still being able to attend preschool parties and afternoon activities (yes, I embraced becoming a soccer Mom!) In an administrative capacity, it was my job to support the decisions, not to make them. Rather than driving the initiatives, I implemented them. Instead of being responsible for the budget, I kept track of all expenses. It was like living the corporate life – lite!
I was able to perform my work duties on an American schedule – due to the hour difference, I spoke to my California clients first thing in my morning (during the prior evening their time). I performed all my research and documentation during my afternoons (first thing in the morning NY time) and fielded phone calls in the evenings (prime business hours EST).
Truly, and for the first time in my life, I found a blissful balance. Virtual Assistant Israel is a rare win-win. My clients got an American Virtual Executive Assistant who was motivated, dedicated and understood the sense of urgency required to keep up. As a Virtual Assistant, I could stay home with my children, work during their sleep times and be available when my clients needed me. I arranged a home office, utilizing many free online tools to bridge the gap between physical presence and virtual presence, and obtained both a New York area phone number and a San Francisco area phone number to appear local to my clients’ clients.
Working as a Virtual Assistant fit my lifestyle while earning enough to support my families’ needs – even though it’s outside the proverbial box.
Now, five years later, I am a Company Director and I feel that it’s my mission to offer the same opportunity to other American women in Israel struggling to find the elusive balance between kids and career. When clients come to me with questions about hiring a Virtual Assistant from our company, I explain that there are so many of us here who had successful former corporate lives and have made the jump to a family life in Israel – we miss the career but long for the family;Virtual Assistant Israel affords both.
Since my background originated in corporate recruitment, I personally identify and on-board many of our Virtual Assistants. For example, I saw Yoni speak at a conference and knew that she was right for our firm. Because I’m comfortable with C-level “poaching” I laid the groundwork immediately to begin inducting Yoni into our firm. I successfully headhunted her, and our clients love her. Yoni is thrilled to have the opportunity to implement social media strategy from home while raising her two small children.
I met Tehillah when she was teaching a WordPress class to 50 industrious women; she was so knowledgeable and full of initiative that I knew she would fit right into our team. I approached her and after several discussions and some negotiations, she said “I’m in”, and the rest is history. Another win-win. Since my background is in headhunting, I love looking for talent and bringing the best over to “my” side.
Submission by Hilary