Thursday, April 06, 2006

the car saga

I don't think I posted the first part of the car saga, and the current episode won't make any sense without it so that post is on the bottom of this one. Those who already know the car story can skip the bottom section.

Yesterday was the first day my taxi was supposed to meet me at the train station. I told him I get oout of the building at exactly 7:20 and he said he would be there between 7:20 and 7:30 and I told him I needed him there at exactly 7:20 and he said that over the course of time we'll get it perfect. So yesterday he calls me as I am getting off the train and asks me where I am. I told him that I was at the train station and he said ok, the taxi will be there in 15-20 minutes. I told him no way and I was going to take the bus. He told me to go find another taxi and he would pay for it. I thought that was ridiculous because the bus is so much easier and it leaves right away. So I took the bus. I told him if he is not there right on time then it is more of a hassle then a benefit.

Today we missed the train, because our sherut didn't find people so it couldn't leave. So I took the next train 10 minutes later. I called my guy and he said the driver would be there right on time. I told him I would be 10 minutes late. So I get off the train and I'm standing right where I said I would and I'm waiting and waiting and waiting and it is time for the next bus to leave. The driver calls me and asks me where I am. He sent someone for me today and the guy couldn't find me. I told him I was exactly where I said I would be. The door closest to the bus station. The taxi rolls by a minute later. He said he was waiting by the other door because he thought that would be better for me. Only in Israel would a taxi driver decide that it is better for you to be in a different place then you told him you would be and then wait there.
We beat the bus by 1 minute.

The beginning of the story

One of the popular benefits you get working in the hi tech industry in Israel is a car. The car is taken care of by the company 100%. Including gas and maintenance. When I got hired I asked about the car benefit and I was told (and I don't remember the exact words) that they don't give a car for 2 years because they want to see how we work together first and make sure it is a good match.

At my first end of year meeting, my boss mentioned something about working more hours and I mentioned that if I had a car I would be more flexible with my hours and they said it was too early for a car and that my working hours are fine and they didn't mean that I should work more.

During the course of the past 2 years two other employees mentioned the 2 years clause to me in different contexts. Aside from that everyone, except for the girls on the third floor, in the comapny who was here longer then me has a company car. Except for one guy and he was fired and I don't know how long before me he was there.

At this end of year meeting I decided not to bring up the car because I figured I can wait another 4 months until my time is up and I didn't want to ask for any favors. So 3 weeks ago, about a month before my 2 years was up I asked my boss what the story with the car was. He said all benefits are decided at the end of year meeting and I would have to bring it up then. So then I checked with our policy person who said a car is not an automatic benefit, it is a negotiated benefit. So I explained the situation to my boss and he decided that the company would increase my travel compensation in the meantime and then we could discuss the car at the next end of year meeting.
He then decided that he would also send a taxi to pick me up from the train station every morning. That didn't make a lot of sense because the bus that I take leaves 5 minutes after I get off the train (or 10 minutes if I miss the first train), and it takes 15 minutes to get to my office. The taxi, if he is there exactly on time, would save me at the most 5 minutes. They are paying him 35 shek a day to pick me up and the bus costs less then 5. It is slightly more confortable
in the taxi but it is more stressful because I have to worry about being late and all that.

8 more months until the next meeting, I won't miss the opportunity again.


Anonymous said...

Do they have limos in israel?

rockofgalilee said...

not like they do in the US. I'm not on that payscale yet, anyway.