A bit about Limor before we begin
I met Limor 6 years ago when we moved North to Binyamina. My daughter met her daughter at the kindergarten and they became very good friends. They would meet a lot to play so we did the same, only with lots of conversations and many cups of coffee. Since we moved to Karkur we see each other less, but as they say; With good girlfriends the connection stays even we don’t see each other that much! Limor is in her final year of medical school. She is married to Sharon and they live in Binyamina with their two daughters.
Limor, thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. You told me that by principle you don’t do interviews but were ready to make the exception for me …. I really appreciate it!
When we first met in late 2009 you were electrical engineer who worked in high-tech, right?
Yes, at that time I didn’t dare to think about it – but it really lacking was towards the end. In those days, the industry was not in a good state, very different from the abundance and generous conditions that were part of it when I first started working in 2000. They were continuous cutting working conditions, apparently to avoid layoffs, but then they began to fire people as well.
For me it was a hard time on several levels: the state of the industry, the lack of stability and job security and continuously saying goodbye to friends and colleagues who were being laid off one after the other. The salary was still good, but it was not clear how long it was going to last. The last straw was, when after two years of hard work on a particular project, the company decided to give up on it and close it down completely. It was hard to make sense of it after all the work that went into it.
At that point I was also already a mother and that made me discover new sides of myself that I could not express in this line of work. There was no place for softness or for communication. I felt like I was walking around the corridors at work and just waiting for a blow to strike. It came to a point where I was just waiting for them to tell me that I was fired. But with every new round of layoffs they would let me stay.
So in the end you wanted them to fire you?
Yes! The manager was laughing at me and saying that I watch too many TV shows about happiness … that instead I should just be satisfied with what I had. But the feeling that I was not in my right place just kept getting stronger. Until one day I just couldn’t continue. I involved my husband in the decision and he really supported me although it wasn’t easy for him at all.
In what way?
For both Sharon and myself economic stability is very important, and all the hard work we had been doing up until then was intended to create a safe economic future for us and for our daughters. We worked long hours, saved a lot, avoided both spending and travels abroad and looked for future areas to invest. It was not clear whether me leaving my job would put a stop to all our plans and aspirations.
After I resigned, I did not know what was next, what to do or how to proceed. It was a liberating feeling but also frightening. I did not know what I wanted to do. I had all sorts of ideas, like going back to things I had enjoyed in the past, and felt were missing, like for example writing. Of course it was plenty to do at home, but I quickly realized I needed more than that. I tried out a few things: I worked with arranging closets and even went to audition for a wedding band. I think they even considered taking me on (laughs).
Wow, Limor, I learn new things about you that I had no idea about before!
Yes, it was an interesting process. I had to relearn things about myself. A sort of teenage rebellion that I did not have before, perhaps a kind of identity crisis. Later, in medical school, I learned that in life it is psychologically recommended to go through at least one of these – it is a part of growing up.
So I kept on looking and thinking. I wanted something involving servicing others, perhaps something therapeutic. I looked into several areas of alternative treatment but it wasn’t for me. Then one Saturday morning we had breakfast with the family. They talked about a cousin of my husbands who just started medical school, and suddenly I realized that’s what I want! That same day I started writing emails to different medical faculties at various universities, to find out what was required, and after two months I did an assessment test (13 years after the last tone…).
And then what happened?
A lot of changes! Also regarding the new framework I was entering, but also in relation to the economic situation. Instead of the stress we experienced when I left my job, suddenly it was like something was released in both of us. If beforehand my husband had been concerned about the future, he was now much surer that everything would be alright. Once I knew what I wanted, once I had a direction and a purpose, he started to relax, and to support me (until today) in an extraordinary manner.
What reactions did you get from people around you?
A lot of people said I was brave. My answer to that is – no! I quit my job and began to study for two reasons:
First – that my despair had gotten to a level where I could not continue.
Secondly – that I had the ability, especially financially and in terms of support from my family, where I could face six years with zero salary.
Many told me how difficult it would be for me to study medicine. Honestly student life a lot more comfortable than working full time, both in terms of hours and holidays. I feel I have gained motherhood and the time with the girls during this process. In some aspects it is like going back in time, to a life with less responsibility and almost without tough decisions. It is clear to me that this will change in the near future, but at least I got to enjoy it until now.
What is the difference between studying now at this age compared to when you were younger?
There are both advantages and disadvantages. In some ways I have less time to sit and study once I come home from school. On the other hand, my situation is much easier than students who both have to study and to provide for themselves in 2-3 jobs at the same, and there are many of those.
There is an advantage in the fact that I already have children, and I do not have to go through pregnancy, birth and baby care during the school years. Many of my fellow female students are only now entering this phase. My daughters need me, even now, of course, but it is different when they are big. They help me out a lot at home.
Compared to my first graduate studies, today my background helps me in school in terms of general knowledge, insights and logical thinking that evolved when I was an engineer. On the other hand, I experience much more internal pressure – while I do care less what people think about me, my demands from myself have grown since then. It is important for me to know the curriculum and to pass exams. The medical studies as well as the profession in general, exposes me to a lot of reflection and criticism, something that is not easy for me naturally and that I have to learn to deal with.
Age creates a paradox – on one hand I feel like the young person in the group that has no experience in medicine, but on the other hand I have so much experience in other areas of life, both that and my age is often higher than that of the senior doctors in the departments …
I thought about studying medicine at a much younger age, but passed on it because I did not believe I could deal with things like moral dilemmas. I was not ready, and I think that if I had started to study medicine at the age of 20 I would not have finished.
It is interesting. I began to study medicine at the age of 18, but stopped after the first year. There were several reasons, but mainly it was that part, that you describe here, that scared me. That and the responsibility.
Exactly. today it is different. At the age of twenty everything was black or white, now I know that there is much more that falls into a gray area. I am aware that it will not be easy but I also know that today I have more strength to do it. I know I’m not about to save the world, but I want to believe that I will not give up the things that are important to me, such as good communication with the patients. I know that it will be a lot of responsibility, difficult situations and even human errors, but today – I believe I’m ready to face it.
You are now nearing the end of the last year. It is unbelievable how fast it went! Thoughts?
First of all – I could not have done it without the support! If I had to give a speech, you know like at the Oscars, I know exactly what to say (laughs). Mainly I would thank Sharon and the girls, of course, but also the extended family and my friends. In addition, here in Binyamina I found a community of mothers that really help each other out. It is a group of amazing people, that has no name or title, but without it I could have gone this far.
Something else? Something you would have done differently?
No, I’m not sorry about the way things happened and I would not have done it differently. I believe that all of this had to happen, and with every step I learned a lot, even from the difficult things and I met some wonderful people. The years in High-tech taught me a lot and also provided us with the financial base that made this adventure possible. I feel that all the pieces fell into place and organized themselves like in a puzzle.
Life is too short to do things you do not enjoy. In the end, I do not believe that we have a certain designation, but rather that it is a process we have to go through.
Limor, thank you so much and lots of good luck! To me you are and will always be an inspiration.