Friday, November 11, 2005

Where's the Money?!?

A note about getting paid in Holy Land Central: Avoid it if possible.

Let's backtrack here. I'm not advocating a "work for free" policy - Are you kidding? "Capitalist" is printed in bold below the e-mail address on my letterhead. But what I am saying is that from a Yankee perspective, the payment thing over here is slightly nuts.

Having only worked as a salaried employee for reputable, Anglo corporations during my previous, Israel domiciliation may account for a gap in understanding freelancer provisions. But this much I know is true: The cushy days of monthly paychecks deposited directly into a dwindling, overdrawn account are long gone. Welcome to "Let's Make a Deal": It's your money on our terms!

Said terms are confusing, binding for the contractor, non-binding for the revenue source and go something like this: Payment 45 days after receipt of invoice due by the 7th of each month after which time the 45-day-period begins the following month and payment is forthcoming 45 days thereafter.

Translation: You do a job in September and invoice October 1. Cold cash will not be forthcoming until at least December 15 - roughly three months after project completion - because that's how the system works. And don't forget: minor delays invariably crop up: paperwork gone missing, an accounts payable person on 3-month leave or an absent doctor's note from your great, great grandmother's internist in Kiev, circa 1600, proving your surname really is Rodrachevsky-Jones.

The laughingest part of it all is that those of us twiddling our thumbs, buying groceries on credit at Itzik's Discount Bargain Mart with social lives restricted to grazing Supersol aisles on Free Sample Thursdays are deemed lucky. Apparently, the whole payment issue is optional.

The good thing about us is that you WILL get paid
an editor confided encouragingly when THE MONEY TALK arose. As if actually compensating for work is an unusual, honorable practice.

Oh Damn! And I had hoped it would be another of those Zen, volunteer gigs where love is all we need. Silly me. They're going to give me $$...

My advice? If you're contemplating working here as a free agent, stockpile your reserves. Otherwise, the Winter is liable to be long and cold.

1 comment:

MCAryeh said...

My advice as a former freelancer in Israel - you are much more likely to get paid (sometimes even on time!) by working for American or British based publishers, unless, of course, they are a Jewish (dis)organization, in which case all bets are off...