Author Archives: noraviskin

A New Dawn, A New Day, A New Job


This morning when I woke up, I was floating. Because last night I fell asleep right away instead of tossing and turning until the early hours of the morning. Because I slept all night without waking up with my breath held, my jaw clenched or my hands in fists. Because I had dreams last night, but for the first time in months, they weren’t ridden with anxiety.

But for the last four months I’ve woken up feeling like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

Despite the unemployment rate in our country, and the countless number of my own peers who have been through this brutal process, when I started looking for a job in early August, I said to myself, “Self, you are HIGHLY employable! You graduated Summa Cum Laude from a reputable university! You have international work experience! You have a diverse and interesting resume! You spent several years working for a famous and very well respected media company and your managers and peers there will offer you glowing references! Self, this is gonna be a piece a cake!” Self be crazy.

Ok, maybe not crazy, but definitely naïve.

Every day I applied to three jobs (some days more, some days less). I wrote, edited, re-wrote and re-edited my resume and cover letter for each position. I cross-referenced these positions on Facebook, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.  I kept up this pace, 5 days a week, until last Wednesday.

My 100+ applications and constant networking efforts resulted in 7 initial phone calls. Those calls turned into proper interviews for 5 jobs. Each of those companies brought me in for at least 4 rounds of interviews. 3 of those processes ultimately required me to write and present reports in order to prove myself.

Most of the interviews were held in dark, windowless rooms and felt more like interrogations than conversations. The majority of the questions I was asked were routine, and while they offered the interviewer insight into my experience and skills, they offered no window into who I am or who I could become. Additionally, very few of my interviewers offered me the opportunity to learn about them or their company in any meaningful way. After every interview I felt a little less valuable and a little more scared.

Now before you write this off as another example of an “entitled Millenial rant” let’s think about the attitudes with which it is NECCISSARY to approach a job search in order to be successful.

  1. Confidence
  2. Pride
  3. Fortitude
  4. Humility

Am I wrong? Feel free to disagree, but I think it was necessary that I entered this process with a blind determination. I was not seeking out a position that was outside the boundaries of my experience, nor was I was hoping for any kind of magical opportunity. I was realistic, optimistic and ready to work hard. But the various processes I was put through felt like they were designed with the intention of cracking my self-confidence. I began to fear that I wouldn’t have the mental or emotional stamina to get me through the next round of interviews.

When I began interviewing for the company by which I was ultimately hired, everything felt different. The role they were describing to me sounded like an opportunity, not simply a job. My interviews were two sided and inspired meaningful conversation. These conversations offered me the chance to not only get to know some of my potential colleagues and managers, but to learn about their industry and become excited about their goals. And finally, they made it very clear, that whether or not they decided I was the right fit, I was a person worthy of being excited about.

For so many reasons, I couldn’t write this post until I’d accepted an offer, but I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I’m writing it now for two reasons.

1. I had absolutely no idea how hard this was going to be. I don’t mean the actual work of applying to jobs, which is tremendous, I mean emotionally. So I suppose, to some extent, this is a “you’re not alone” post. If you are going through this, or have recently been unemployed and you were feeling like your world is/was unjustifiably dark, you are not alone.

2. This is a plea to anyone who is responsible for the hiring of any kind of employee. Remember that yours is probably not the only company this person is interviewing with. Remember the weight that is on his shoulders. Remember that despite how smart and experienced she is, she may have been doing this for many months and has lost some of her sparkle. Remember how scary this process can be. Remember that the endless waiting to hear, is no better than hearing bad news. Remember how far a smile can go.  And please, please remember that you are talking with a human. A human with so much more to offer you than Excel skills and rehearsed stories of successes and failures.


A House, A Home, A Community


We’ve been back in the US now for a little over 2 months. In that time we’ve rented an apartment, purchased a car, celebrated with our entire family on the joyous occasion of Tal’s sister’s wedding, caught up with friends,  begun the search for the next phase of my career and settled into a new (albeit wonky) routine. Though I didn’t set a deadline,  I did promise myself that I’d find a meaningful way to return to my blog. Writing about my experiences as we traveled this past year was more than simply a way to share our adventures with our friends and family, it became a way for me to truly digest what was happening in my life.

This year, the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement, 9/11, and the passing of someone very dear to our families all came together in one week. The alignment of these events has made me especially reflective, and I find myself tremendously grateful for this particular outlet, as it’s presence has provided me with the space to develop my thoughts through my finger tips.

The beginning of a new year is always inspiring and thought-provoking. And though very different, the same can be said on the somber occasions when life forces us to find a way to say goodbye or to remember those taken so early, and so unfairly. It would be a sin to let a new year unfold without reflection, and equally shameful to not honor the lessons of those who are living on in our memories.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how deeply my perspective on this is  influenced by my relationship with Judaism.  I was taught, as a basic tenet of my religion, that there is infinitely more strength and beauty in the harmonies of an off-key choir, than even the most pitch-perfect solo. The way that I understand this, and have always experienced it, is that there is a distinctly spiritual power that comes from being part of a community, not just during those occasions when you need it most, but on the most ordinary of days as well.

The Jewish community in the town in which I was raised may be small, but it is mighty.  The people who watched me grow up, and those who grew up around me and after me, have always offered me love and support, whether I was stumbling through a prayer from the pulpit on one of the many sabbaths of my youth, or if I was thousands of miles away writing silly tales of my adventures in India and beyond.

I am so fortunate to have always been a part of this kind of community. To have grown up in an environment in which I could explore, question, fail and  ultimately thrive. But many are not. The realities we encountered in our travels, the tragic events of this day 12 years ago, and the atrocities making their way into our news in recent weeks,  serve as an ever-present reminder of just how many people around the world are living in ignorance, fear or shame simply because of the circumstances of where they were born, or who they are.

It is  easy, during the inevitably selfish process of a move and a job hunt, to lose focus on a bigger picture.  And I am thankful, despite the very sad way by which life had it delivered, for the message that it is up to us to be the kindness and understanding, positivity and influence that our world so desperately needs.

This year, in tribute to a woman who believed in equality and action; I am making not a resolution, but a commitment to offer more of my time, money and  heart to the ongoing creation and evolution of  judgment-free, love-filled, empowering communities.

Together We’ve Loved


This year could have shattered us, but instead it made us stronger. On the occasion of our wedding anniversary I offer my own tribute to love.

True Loves

Every time this year felt too hard, too lonely, too foreign; you made me smile.

Every time I wanted to give up, go back, get comfortable;  you kept me grounded.

Every time I got lost, confused, flustered; you helped me find my way.

Traveling together taught us to be more understanding of each others differences, and how to be compassionate towards one another even when we can’t understand.

This year was meaningful in ways I could have never imagined, but the most important thing I discovered is that I can live anywhere in the world; as long as you’re with me, I’m home.



The Next Chapter


I can’t believe I’m writing this post. 

It’s been just over a year since we moved out of our darling apartment in New York City. It feels like  only yesterday that I was gripping Tal’s hand as we drove across the Brooklyn Bridge, out of the city in which we’d fallen in love and built the foundations of our life together.

We weren’t just leaving our home, we were leaving our comfort zone.  We had virtually no idea what the year held for us, and we couldn’t have predicted it if we’d tried.

But after 368 days, 8countries, a few very special new friendships and what feels like a lifetime worth of spectacular experiences… we’re coming home.

In three weeks we will pack our giant suitcases for last time. Part of me is incredibly excited. I’ve missed the full extent of my wardrobe, ovens, predictable grocery items, familiar household bugs and of course our friends and family. But the other part of me knows that this is bittersweet.  As Tal likes to say, this year we were “citizens of the world”. And while we’ll always be a couple, and someday a family, who travel together, it will likely never be quite like this.

If I’m to be honest, it’s important that I admit that on many days I was angrier and more frustrated with the world than I knew I could be. But this exceptional opportunity also gave me the chance to witness unparalleled beauty in nature as well as humanity. With each new stamp in my passport, my view and understanding of the world expanded.  I am eternally grateful for the life changing experiences and unexpected, exceptional friendships that resulted from this crazy year.