My struggles settling in the US: Choice of Working in group homes
My struggles settling in the US: Choice of Working in group homes: When I won my green card, I sold my house in Nairobi since I needed money to live on and pay rent for a small place for my family before getting a job in the USA.
A one-bed roomed apartment was adequate for my family. However, my dreams to get a senior position as I had in Kenya were shattered when I realized most of the Kenyans I knew were employed in human services sector.
I had not worked in this area before and had no training in this field. Back at home in Kenya, any direct care needed by my two grandmothers was provided by female members of the family residing with the two old ladies.
My responsibilities were to buy groceries any pay for any other needs for the two old ladies. When I was told to work in group homes to provide direct care to the elderly and people with developmental disabilities, I was not comfortable to take such jobs.
Additionally I had some money from the sale of my house and felt I could pay bills for my family upkeep as I looked for what I felt was my dream job in the USA.
To apply for what I felt was my dream job I needed a computer so I went to a library in the neighborhood and started applying for jobs from the website www.monster.com and other job sites. For about a month I went to the library to apply for jobs online and check my emails for any responses to my applications.
After doing this for a month I started getting frustrated to the point of blaming myself why I left Kenya. But I knew going back to Kenya would not sit well by my family and worse still it would be a reason of celebration by some naysayers back at home in Kenya who kept on telling our friends….” That family will soon come back to Kenya”
I felt that my star was not shining and to spike my frustration the money I brought with me from Kenya was running low and very soon I would have no money. One morning, just outside the library, a person stopped to say hi to me.
He told me he was a Cameroonian and had been seeing me come to the library consistently for some time and wanted that we get to know one another. We got into a lively discussion and I told him I was looking for a job. He told me he had been looking for a job for one year.Although he had been a Human Resources Director in Cameroon, he had looked for a job in the USA for the last twelve months but was not successful. He, however, shared a secret given to him by someone he had met a week before.
The secret was that most of the jobs in human resources sector are not manned by immigrants. Similarly senior positions in the financial sector, the area I was seeking to get employment, are also not manned by immigrants.
My new Cameroonian friend also shared with me his personal experiences in his job search adventures. He told me he would be called alongside other applicants to interview in the human resources area. Many of the times he would pass the first and second interviews and get shortlisted for the final interview. At the final interview, however, the job would be given to one of the other candidates. On three occasions he never got the job and felt that he was just escorting the finalist. He told me he had stopped looking for jobs in the human resources area.
As I reviewed my job search strategies it dawned to me that all the senior management experience I had in Kenya was not relevant in getting a senior job in USA.
To learn more of my experiences, please read “Life Lessons of an Immigrant”: htpps://johnmakilya.com
By John Makilya