- Take it one day at a time.
- Surround yourself with positivity.
- Create a vision board.
- Believe in yourself.
- Be kind to yourself
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
Have you received this advice too?
As you are desperately waiting to get back to work-life?
But it seems easier said than done, right?
Well, not really. There’s so much more to Immigrant life, and getting authorized to work in USA or Canada is just a part of it. It took me a long time to understand this but definitely sharing my experience here.
This is my Immigrant story –
Like most, I belong to a generation that loves to hustle, multitask and being on their feet at all times. Soon after completing my master’s, I got married, moved to the States, and gave myself some time to settle in. Right now, I’m waiting for my E.A.D (work authorization on H4 visa) to restart my career. There are days when I feel everything is falling apart but trust me when I tell you this; it’s going to get better. Here are few simple things I did and it could keep you going too –
- Learn to drive and open a Bank account
Learning to drive a car was my key to independence. I started with driving classes, by which I got to step out of the house. Driving is a skill that would be essential when you land a job. So, now is the time to learn and get your Driver’s license. Opening a bank account on my name helped me visualize the my future salary coming in to this account, plus I could keep track of my expenses.
- Learning life skills
Basic skills such as cooking, baking, D.I.Y. etc., I never had time for them before nor enjoyed being in the kitchen, but now I’m trying to get better at it. I enjoy cooking my favorites and relish it when I miss home. I also got to make lots of new friends through potlucks and get togethers.
Also, D.I.Y stuff kept me busy with decorating my home. I really appreciated the time I had to turn my apartment to a home.
- Upskilling through online courses
To keep up with your career goals, upskilling and taking up relevant courses is a good step. This will help you stay connected to your career and will always give you a sense of confidence, adding value to your Resume. It is your space to get experimental, so take up anything, for instance, a language course like Spanish or French (widely used in US, Canada). Also, community colleges offer a wide variety of courses for you to pick from, and you could get started even with a dependent visa.
- Know your job market
Make sure to sign up for professional networking sites like LinkedIn and other platforms to know about job trends in your industry. It would help you stay current, enhance your skills and connect with fellow professionals. So finally, when you get your employment authorization, you will be well-researched and know where to start.
It’s funny how, when we are busy, we wait for vacations and plan our weekend to do something we love, but when we have all the time in the world, we forget to do what we like. So, like me, if you ever felt this way, it’s time to pick your favorite book, colors, and a blank canvas and express yourself. Hobbies can be anything and you don’t have to be the best. Just something at the end of the day that would bring you joy.
- Unlearn & Relearn
When I say unlearn and relearn it’s redefining who you really are. I am a person who detests change; I had a set routine back home, and moving here changed everything. I must say that it was challenging; I took it one step at a time. Learning about the community, culture, references, popular sports and communication by volunteering in non profits. gave me a sense of belonging.
I am grateful to have met amazing people here who not only are on similar paths but also try to keep themselves motivated.
I spoke to 2 more Immigrant women asking how did they stay motivated while waiting for EAD? Here’s their response-
Excerpt 1 –
“Good things come to those who wait. The wait itself can be challenging and doesn’t always come with a definite end date. Waiting for the work authorization comes with an added pressure that we put on ourselves with thoughts like we are not doing enough financially to support yourself or contribute to your household. In times like these, it is essential to remember why you began this journey and left familiarity. It is a great opportunity to reflect and redirect your life however you want it to be. The dependent visa doesn’t always come with downs, it has its own perks like you can take courses, learn multiple skills and with all the volunteer work that the visa permits you can make your contribution to the community. All of these can help you gain your sense of individuality and belongingness in this new country.” – Shakti Shukla
Excerpt 2 –
“When I first got to know that I’ll be moving to the USA after the wedding, I was clueless about life in another country. Being from India the idea of life in the USA and exciting stories from others added a thrill to my journey. However, I soon realized being on a dependent visa(H4) has its ups and downs. The pandemic had hit just when I moved to the States and things were really getting difficult and as days passed, depression was looming over me. I would wonder if I did the correct thing by leaving my lucrative job in India and coming here.
I spent time on my hobbies, learning to cook etc. But being far from parents, the FOMO is quite real, especially with festivities in my home country. At times like these, appreciate things I have and be grateful for them. As years went by, I travelled a lot and got to know more people and places. With my supportive loving husband and god’s blessings, I am trying various avenues to prepare myself for employment till I get an EAD. Until then, although life can be difficult, hang in there, see the good things in life and let’s help each other.” – Varsha Donur
There’s a saying: ‘Make hay while the sun shines’, which simply means to make the most of a favorable situation. The wait for an EAD will test your patience, your confidence and will power. Since it’s something beyond our control, why not treat this much deserved break as a welcome change and challenge. It’s our time to learn and embrace everything new. This is the time for you to meet people, make friends, find your favorite restaurant, find that place which can be your hangout spot and moreover it’s time for you to make this new place your new home!
How has your EAD wait been so far?
About the writer – Radhika Bajaj is a Digital Content Designer with a master’s degree in International Studies and child rights. Apart from her research in world politics, she’s very fond of art and graphic design and currently volunteers at Open Roads Michigan as a content creator.