Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Israel – CCLXXII. A Permanent Job (10 of 12)

Victor, the individual to whom I owed my position at IAI, went to see uncle Maurice to discuss a situation that was bothering him.

The issue was simple:  Records offered no real advancement opportunities for a bright young man like me.  To put it in plain terms, I held a dead-end job!

Egyptians do not mince words; and Victor therefore didn`t beat around the bush; he told Maurice that he was concerned, and that he was discussing the matter with him because he cared.

Next when we saw him, uncle Maurice reported his discussion with Victor and went a step further; he asked me what I intended to do about it.  Mom and Dad and aunt Souma were also present.  Let me assure you that they were not silent, they all had something to say and they expressed themselves clearly and loudly.

Lucky for me, I had already given the matter a lot of thought and was therefore in a position to not only agreeing with them, but also to discuss options.

[I need to explain to my Western readers that my family did not put me in a humiliating position.  Such interventions were common in our culture, and what they said – in our cultural context – was certainly not demeaning to me.  It was common to, for instance, summon a newly-married young man who was not behaving properly towards his wife, and tell him how he should conduct himself.  The Arabic expression is edoulou a`la rassou (hit him over the head; of course, they are not literally doing that!)   The good news is that all kind of interventions are now common in the Western world; but they have existed in our culture for a long time.]

It’s a normal human drive to want to progress; and I was no exception.  I understood that my prospects at Records were limited.

(Ironically, major changes were coming to Records; and it would be a department that would offer a good future to an ambitious person.  But, of course, I didn’t know that at the time).

IAI was a technical place; it offered great opportunities if you’re a technician or an engineer.  But I was neither.  So what were my options?

I could be a Parts Planner, but here again some technical knowledge was required; as well, it was stress-filled work.

I could work in Accounting, but I would need to take courses with the Histadrut and pass numerous exams to attain a level that would give me a chance to be hired by that department.  The levels were A,B,C,D, and so on.  The minimum level Accounting required was D.  I had no problems with that; I had actually taken accounting courses and passed levels A and B; the difficulty was that I didn’t like accounting, or so I thought at the time.  Ironically, I would later become an accountant and would find accounting a totally fascinating profession.  But at the time, I was beholden to my wrong perception.

In the course of my peregrinations through the plant, I met and befriended a radio technician.  I discussed with her the possibility of joining her profession.  “Why not?” was her reaction; “it’s very interesting work.”

One day, she arranged a visit to her department.  Her supervisor joined us and discussed at great length what the work entailed.  It did sound interesting and seemed a good fit to my exacting personality.

By the time I left, I had many particulars including the name of a good school.

Now, studying to be a radio technician was a totally foreign concept to my Egyptian family; so for the first night I said that I was working overtime.  As we shall see, it allowed me to save face.

The first night didn’t go well at all!

The first part was the theory.  Since I have taken physics in university, I wasn’t completely lost.

Next we were asked to draw specific circuits.  I am not good with even simple drawings; when the instructor looked at my drawings, he mumbled that my circuits would not permit clear communications!  A disaster if you’re relying on the radio!

This was followed by practical exercises at the workshop.  Alas, I have very limited manual dexterity.

What do I remember after all these years?

I am trying to put a rod in a vice, but it keeps falling!  After the instructor did that for me, I am struggling to shorten the rod using a file!  The instructor brings me a saw, but it refuses to bite into the metal.

I am attempting to construct a circuit board; but the wires and the other parts stubbornly refuse to sit properly on the board.

I am glancing around to see how the other students are doing?  Fine, apparently.

By the end of the night, everybody has concluded that I do not belong!

I advise the instructor that I am not coming back.  He doesn’t fight me on that!

The good news is that I got almost a full refund on the course fees.

My parents were never apprised that I attempted to take a course to become a radio technician.  Indeed, this is the first time I mention that episode.  At my age, I don’t mind losing face.

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