Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My convoluted career path in the US

More than five years ago, I moved to California from North Carolina. I was happy for the spouse, who had received a really good job offer, but I did not want to leave. I had a wonderful job that I loved, surrounded by nice co-workers that I could actually call friends. Not only that, but under the new conditions, my employment authorization was going to be voided: Students' spouses can work, but workers' spouses cannot. My employer in North Carolina would have undoubtedly kept me under my own work visa. I had been with them for a year and they were very happy to have me... but I was moving to another state.

Moving to California meant starting from zero, in a very competitive job market, where employers preferred hiring someone with a green card rather than wait for an applicant that needed to get a work visa after an offer was made.

Unbelievably, it happened. Not immediately, but eventually someone in California wanted to hire me. Of course, the union protested that the employer could not make a job offer if I was not authorized to work in the US. In turn, without a job offer, I could not request a work visa. The argument went back and forth for about five months... By then I had let go. I had been engaging in all sorts of cultural, recreational and educational activities, and, more importantly, going through my first serious steps in ART.

I had resigned myself to be a homemaker when the offer letter came in. I was able to get my work visa and finally begin working in California.

I had wanted for so long to be able to work again, especially in my area of expertise, that I tolerated too many things that were out of whack from the very beginning, and then got much worse. The job was far from ideal, but it took me more than two years to admit it. Still, without that job experience, I probably would not have been hired in my current job. Also, it is during those two years that I finally got a green card.

So what's the best job I've ever had in the US? My last job in North Carolina comes to mind. In addition to working with really nice people, I also used my lab skills and my language skills, and I was helping save people's lives, which always made me feel good even after really crappy days. I actually cried when I left.

But after infertility, I am glad I am not working there anymore. Not only was I surrounded by pregnant women,  I was actually present during more than a hundred vaginal deliveries and C-sections. I shudder to think of myself doing that again.

And you know what? I am very happy to be in Northern California, where immigrants and mixed marriages are quite common, where all sorts of languages are spoken in public places, and where the weather is never too hot or too cold. There's the earthquake risk and the housing prices, but those are the only two disadvantages that come to my mind right now.

I have to admit that, in spite of all the shitty stuff in my life, it does seem that someone out there is looking after me.

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