Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gimme a Job

Migration is not for faint hearts. You wouldn't know what I mean unless you have gone through one. It's a truly painful experience seeing your savings depleting by the day. On the other hand finding a suitable job in your new country can be more challenging than you may have bargained for. I have seen desperate immigrants rushing into really low paid, low status janitorial type jobs in restaurants or stores. Obviously that was not something that I planned to do unless I was totally helpless. Not that you would find one of those jobs that easily, not unless you already know somebody to give you a good reference. Toronto is a bustling city with tremendous amount of diversity but yet for a newcomer all this may seem very hostile, very unfriendly.
The family friend - Jamshed bhai and his wife Nahid bhabi - who we stayed with for a few days lived in the same apartment complex as we did. They had migrated from USA as well. I didn't know their circumstances and never inquired. Obviously things didn't work out there. Nobody in their right mind would ever come to cold Canada from its southern neighbour unless they run out of any workable alternative. Jamshed bhai was a software professional back in Connecticut. Here he had to settle for a low profile manufacturing job, on part time basis. I learned that the manufacturing jobs were most popular among highly educated and skilled new immigrants as it saved them from being humiliated in the relatively easy to find store jobs.
I kind of knew all this even before I made the trip. I did a lot of search in the internet before applying for Canadian immigration. Before making the trip I had made up my mind to deal with whatever comes. For me it was point of no return. I did not want to go back to Bangladesh. My love for my country was not any less than my compatriots but I simply couldn’t envision myself dealing with the ‘no law, no service, only corruption’ type settings in every level of governance. So there I was - here in Canada.
Fortunately, my situation was not as bad as many others who had migrated directly from their native countries located all over the world. I had a higher degree from an American university and years of job experience in the IT sector. Deep inside I kind of expected that my degree and experience would land me a job in the local market.
When a whole month with all 31 days passed by and nobody asked for me to come and ‘discuss the position’ I knew it was time for me to lower my goal and start looking into other things. Work is work. As long as it pays, I’ll do it. So, I made the trip to a local Kelly Services office, an organization with hundreds of outlets well known for helping people find low paying jobs indoor or outdoor. A well dressed gentleman received me there and the conversation went:
- You have good education and obviously great experience. How would you feel working in a factory?
- Umm... factory? What kind of factory?
- Manufacturing, of course. Nothing to panic. All you'll be doing is to carry some steel chunks from point A to B. Not heavy at all. Barely 10-15 pounds. Eight hours a day. Good pay. 12 dollars/hour. The only thing is you must have a car. They may call anytime. You know, this is not a regular position. When one of their regulars don't come they look for ... you know ... part timers. Sounds good?
- Oh ya. For sure. How heavy is 10-15 pounds?
- Ha ha ha. Don't worry about that. It's nothing. You are a strong man.
Of course, I was. Don't be ridiculous. I tried to smile. - When do I start?
- Oh well, we don't know. They would call when they need. You have to be ready to go anytime.
We shook hands and I stepped out feeling all dried up inside. All those dreadful views that I had observed back in Dhaka, my native city, - the rickshaw pushers, the cart pullers, the vegetable vendors walking door to door in 100 plus Fahrenheit temperature - zoomed across my mind. There you go dude.

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