Hello world!

A place to pen down my thoughts…. that’s the reason to start this blog. I am one of the millions of immigrants here in US trying to make a better life for myself and my family. Every day to day event/activity has a very different set of consequences and the way to approach such events also differs from person to person, especially when one of them is a citizen and other an immigrant.

In past decade we saw number of events, the one that affected almost everyone is the great recession. That was a life changing event for millions of citizens and immigrants alike. Though most of the citizens are back on their feet, most immigrants will have to live with the scars forever. Some who were just starting their careers in 2008, have missed the chance of ever successfully making it in US or life. The unemployment gap on their resumes is hard to explain, and the job they took to keep afloat don’t count to overall experience on resume! So its not just loss of money but best years of a new career were lost.

I suffered through the great recession just like others, and am living with its after-effects now trying to build life back from scratch. Just that I am not the young person anymore, and got lot less time left to finish the job successfully. And yet I am trying, just like millions of others. My motivation is that if I can’t make it work here, I have nothing else to look forward to, anywhere else in the world. This is it.

Feel free to post whatever is on your mind. This is not a place to simply complain about things, but lets be honest. If complains is all you got, then that’s what you will say. Why dress it up? Feel free to share your life challenges, and events here.

Interviews and new job anxiety

As an immigrant, job search has always posed a big challenge. From getting the resume right for the each domain to getting the initial interview to landing an actual offer to finally joining the company after successful visa transfer process from immigration department makes finding a new job more challenging than winning a lottery. In fact winning a lottery might seems sometimes easy, since all it involves is buying the ticket and hoping that you win. Lottery is mere two step process compared to starting a new job in different company which seems like playing floor is lava where there is nothing but lava everywhere you look!

Not being from IT industry which is the only domain in US that seems to most open to hiring immigrants irrespective of their visa status (of course it has to be legal, but nothing more fancy like green card or citizens only), its been hard to land a job or switch to a new one. Despite being on legal work visa, I have got over 100 rejections in past year and a half simply by honestly answering “Yes” to the question “whether you require sponsorship for visa in future?”

So where do US educated visa holders go from here? To their home country? … is that even an option if the field of your study is not popular in your home country and there are fewer companies than 7 in whole country that are recruiting in that field?

The US politicians go on and on about DACA that Obama instituted before end of his presidency. No doubt their problem is genuine and needs some permanent solution but why slice and dice the immigrant issue like this? All immigrants are in a way legalized slaves to their employers and the current immigration laws are responsible for such a state. In some of the south american countries visa is nothing more than a document that can be renewed and bought for small fees from government office. These countries don’t make it weird like calling immigrants as illegals like they do here in US.

Personally, I have had at least 3 positive interviews recently where hiring managers indicated they wanted to hire me, but then they simply ghosted me after they got to know that the process involves visa transfer. Now its a very simple process that involves filling out some forms and if you want, you can hire a lawyer to do that for a small fee. For oil companies that small lawyer fee or USCIS document fee is literally nothing given the record profits they are making by selling oil at $110 per barrel in current market. And yet, there is this unwillingness on part of employers to do little extra work of filling out proper forms. More often it feels that this has more to do with anti-immigrant propaganda on conservative TV networks and radio shows who insinuate all immigrants are criminals trying to sell drugs and replace the white population from their place in society. US educated immigrants work hard, abide by all laws and pay taxes and despite this are considered second class citizens because of color of their skin and loud mouth conservative talk show hosts who make a living by spilling lies everytime they say anything. To each their own!

Oddball problems

Yesterday while talking with my wife about the current affairs of our household, I couldn’t help but wonder how problems/issues that we were trying to tackle are not the usual ones that you see in other households.

If the title of the blog doesn’t make it abandonly clear, I am an immigrant worker in US “trying” to pursue the american dream that has been illusive for past almost 2 decades. Why you ask??? Easy answer for me would be because of trying to do things by the book, as much as possible ..stopping short of starving or stealing. One of the oddball problem we were wondering about is how I am still waiting on offer letter from my possible new employer despite receiving verbal confirmation of offer from them about a month ago. Now I have a new H1B work visa which I can transfer to any new employer immediately and can starting working with just the transfer receipt from the USCIS. In contrast, my wife who received her dependent visa (H4) as well last year but is still waiting on her EAD card (employment authorization card) from USCIS, has an offer and joining date from her future employer. Now all she can do is to wait for the EAD card to come before she can start working. So she has offer but is waiting on work authorization card, and I have work visa but waiting on offer letter. Its like a cruel joke destiny played on us given we need both of those jobs to start asap in order to take care of our expenses but have to waiting till someone else decides to mail out my wife’s EAD card and someone else to send me my offer letter and initiate the hiring process.

The joke is both jobs are in different states. I forgot to mention our son who will be 5 next month and start elementary school in August …with one parent in another state …so about that american dream …someday I guess things will fall in place when destiny finds someone else to play with and let us be.

If Life were a painting, how would you like yours to look like?

Everyone alive is living a life, some are happy, some are unhappy, and some are simply getting through each day. For most working class people, day starts about an hour or so before they are supposed to report to work, and end after an hour or so after getting off the work. So basically when a person is awaking, majority of their time is spend worrying about their job and issues related to the job. There is plenty of talk about work life balance but this is more of a luxury for majority of working class people.

Now the people who are happy with their life, have a good work life balance are few – I will not call them lucky because they sure have done something right with their time that has enabled them to be where they are in life today. So what’s there for majority of average working class people to aspire for? What is it that carries them on through the day and then the next day? – Another day Another Dollar???? ….Is just a dollar worth the pain? Almost all will point to the dependents and other responsibilities that they have for which they have to carry on this routine. But what’s in it for them? What is it that makes all this worthwhile? What is it that makes them genuinely smile because they are happy and not because they have to? And how often do they get the chance to be happy with their life?

Job Loss – What does that mean to you?

That’s an open ended question. Its a devastating event in anyone’s life which has a lasting impression on the person’s resume, and indirectly his whole life. The scale of devastation might differ from person to person depending on their age, nationality, economic and social standing in life.

I have faced this event twice so far in life. The first time it happened was in August 2008 – start of the recession. Back then I was single, younger, and was open to exploring more opportunities than settling for less. More importantly, I had no fixed monthly expenses like mortgage or car loan. Nobody knew how bad things will be in coming years, everybody were expecting the things to get better in the next quarter. I waited patiently till my work visa allowed me to do so. But eventually had to return to the home country. Returning to the home country is more like hitting reset button to your life. I have heard many of my colleagues saying that they will simply return to the home country if ever they lose their job. Its easier said than done. People often say things they have no clue about whatsoever. If you have lived in a foreign country for over 3-4 years, then all your professional contacts, work experience and practices are customized to that country. You will not have much of professional contacts in your home country, and just because you worked abroad doesn’t mean much to certain segments of industry since the work practices and ethics are completely different. Hence it more like applying for work as an entry level candidate all over again. Mind you I am talking about a person with work experience of 2-3 years here. If you are an industry veteran, then ofcourse your opportunities and challenges will be different. After returning back to my home country, it took me another 5 months to find something reasonable in my field. Stuck to that job for another 18 months, before I got another job in US.

The second opportunity was a god gift, but also short lived. It was a year before I got another job. This time around things were different though. I am married, got car payments, monthly rent, and college tuition to pay. I had to cut cost by shifting to cheaper housing, shifting to generic brands, and ultimately selling furniture. Not to mention the daily torture of uncertainty of what is to come next. That whole year I was applying around the world for a job. All those who said you can always get another job didn’t meet the present day recruiters. They all are looking for Alexander the great who can salsa dance, sing like Elvis, and design the next android OS for job of a janitor whose sole responsibility seemed to be scrubbing floors. But its a buyer’s market. Today there are more professionals in the market looking for jobs than there are jobs.

With my present job, I am just more than thankful to be working daily. That year of unemployment took away all my savings, and the mental torture was worst. Maybe this is what they calling breaking in the new guy! Work visa (H1B) is another term for “legalized slavery”. Now any day I am working is like a god’s mercy! But when you hear some political hag calling immigrants free loader or ‘illegals’ for his/her rating’s sake, I can’t help wondering if all that pain was worth anything. Maybe its too early to answer that.

Recently heard about Gov. Christie’s plans to track immigrants like FedEx tracking its shipments.  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/08/30/chris_christie_i_would_track_immigrants_like_fedex_tracks_packages.html#ooid=Fjc3U5dzqkN_PYnz88IpI5t9SiSsEm25

Well ….guess I will have to wear a collar around my neck with my visa expiry date branded on it. Not to forget that Christie is lagging in the polls and in order to get noticed on the internet this might be just a cheap plug by him. Trump is getting all the media attention for his immigration policy, and Christie wants a piece of it!!!

Bar Coding the immigrants