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Settling down in the USA - work etc

Settling down in the USA - work etc

Old Mar 18th 2012, 2:49 pm
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Default Settling down in the USA - work etc

I'd posted last week about trying to locate work on Capitol Hill as a US permanent resident as opposed to citizen - thanks to all who got in touch

I arrived here last month and the job searching is motoring on. But I was wondering what other people's experiences have been after arriving here for the first time and the length of time it's taken to find work and begin 'settling down'
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Old Mar 18th 2012, 8:24 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
I'd posted last week about trying to locate work on Capitol Hill as a US permanent resident as opposed to citizen - thanks to all who got in touch

I arrived here last month and the job searching is motoring on. But I was wondering what other people's experiences have been after arriving here for the first time and the length of time it's taken to find work and begin 'settling down'
I can't answer to your first part, re: finding a job, that really depends on your qualifications, experience etc. Good luck though

As for settling down here in the USA, that also depends on a lot of different factors. The main thing that will help is accepting that this isn't the UK Try not to compare everything here, food, prices, people, sense of humor, weather, traffic, houses etc, to those things in the UK. You will miss some things not others. Depending on how much family you left behind, you will miss those too. If you were used to nipping down the pub for a quick pint with friends and family, you will miss that too.

Lots of things are different here, other things will take the place of some of those things. But you have to be open to the differences. You will find yourself 'moaning' about the weather, too hot/cold whatever, we all do it. Some adapt and love their new 'home', some never do and spend all their time wishing they were back in the UK.

Good luck, hope you 'settle down' here and take advantage of the plus side
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Old Mar 18th 2012, 10:04 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
I was wondering what other people's experiences have been after arriving here for the first time and the length of time it's taken to find work and begin 'settling down'
It took me 4 months before I found a part-time job writing obituaries for the local daily newspaper (everyone on my shift died in alphabetical order!), and then a further 3 months before I found a full-time job as a contract employee for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I worked both jobs for 2.5 years while I went back to school part-time and got a Master's degree. Then I got a full-time job... and I've been there over 11 years now.

When did I feel "settled"? Hard to say... not for about 6 or 7 months at least. When I was able to drive around and find my own way home, that was a start! But I guess it was when I started to find my own circle of friends separate from my wife's friends that I really felt that I'd finally "arrived".

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Old Mar 19th 2012, 4:56 am
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

I've been in the US 2 years and 1 day, and wouldn't say I've settled yet. It's certainly been a challenging couple of years.

Our house in the UK took a while to sell, and we were stuck in a fairly crummy condo for over a year, though in a nice town. I made a great friend, another expat, who I saw most days.

My EAD took over a year to come through. I just received it when husband's employer decided to relocate him 120 miles away. So it was up sticks and move again, though we actually bought a house in the new area. Our house is great and in a gorgeous area, though the major town next door (where hubby works) is not nearly as nice. I made a bunch of friends with the expat wives, though they all live 20-30 minutes away, so I don't see them every day. I don't have any American friends - I've never had the opportunity to meet any my own age. So in terms of both location and friends, I've gained on one hand but lost on the other. Hubby works erratic hours and as we only had one car I couldn't even volunteer as I couldn't commit to set hours.

We've just bought a second car so hopefully that will open things up for me. I've been thinking about looking for a job though I'm nervous about it, and don't even know where to start looking. The job I was in back home isn't open to me here. Prior to that I was in finance for years, and I would hate to go back down that road - that would feel like a total failure to me. I'm at a bit of a loss on what to do next.

I get by simply by taking things one day at a time, and try not to think too far ahead. All the upheaval has left me a bit lacking in confidence. The move has been harder than I imagined. I hope I will really settle here but time will tell. Getting over the volunteering/employment hurdle is the first step.
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Old Mar 19th 2012, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Thanks all. I really appreciate all your comments and suggestions.

I lived here before (2006-2007) so this move, although permanent, doesn't hold the same fears and anticipations as before. Living here in the past has certainly helped make things much smoother, although I hate being in limbo at the moment in terms of job searching. I just hope and pray that something comes up soon that will allow me to settle down some more.

I'm in DC and have a Masters in Political Science coupled with 6 years experience in politics and communications (mostly UK based except for 18 months here previously). It seems a barrier may be that my work experience is predominantly UK-based - I had a temp agency cancel on me at the last minute, their actions and response in all but name saying I didn't have enough DC experience. So soon after arriving, that was a big body blow and a huge hit on my confidence.

However, I've decided to put that into the past and instead focus on meeting people and discussing my job search.

Sure, it will be tough at first, but hearing your stories suggests to me that there'll come a time when things start to settle down.
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Old Mar 19th 2012, 8:13 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Ok well luckily my wife is American & has a Master's Degree in Special Ed with English Lit, she also has a Psychology Major & History Minor so is a a very learned woman. Coupled with the 2 years experience she has from the UK she had interviews for all 4 jobs she applied for & our phone was constantly going off with offers of employment in her field.

Myself on the other hand I have 15 years experience in B2B Sales & should be able to walk into a job but alot of companies want at least a Bachelors Degree, I know what I would prefer & it certainly wouldn't be someone fresh out of college who had none or little prior sales experience but there we go. On the other hand I had been getting tons of calls & emails from the Health Insurance field. Hhhhhhmmmmm a field I think is a huge rip off & is commission based only I don't think so. We are still confident something will turn up shortly but we will see it's been nearly 3 month's of applying so far so we shall see.

Good luck with everything!
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Old Mar 25th 2012, 7:07 am
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Smile Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

This problem of transferring skill from the UK can be a problem but I suggest you get any decent job you can get so you have USA employment on your CV. I think that helps a great deal, most of us had to do that before we got the jobs in our right fields. I took me 8 months before I got a job in my field, with the recession it maybe a bit harder but keep trying, plus the internet can be a great aid in your quest, do not underestimate it, register with a lot of these job finders like Monster, Indeed, dice etc.
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Old Mar 25th 2012, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by veryfunny View Post
This problem of transferring skill from the UK can be a problem but I suggest you get any decent job you can get so you have USA employment on your CV. I think that helps a great deal, most of us had to do that before we got the jobs in our right fields. I took me 8 months before I got a job in my field, with the recession it maybe a bit harder but keep trying, plus the internet can be a great aid in your quest, do not underestimate it, register with a lot of these job finders like Monster, Indeed, dice etc.
Yeah, I suspected that. I've had some good meetings since I got here, including a job interview that I took all the way to the last round and just missed out on (all within the last month), but I'm getting the feeling that I might need to 'downsize' my expectations in order to get a foot in the door.

Basically, it's all a bit daunting and depressing. We've been in the USA since December and I'm beginning to doubt the move. I suspect though that a job offer and a chance to settle down will be all it takes to get over this, but having come from a good job, one that was very secure, to having nothing and having to start from scratch again is a worrying proposition.
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Old Mar 25th 2012, 7:29 pm
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Smile Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Ok, based on your response I think it is better that I tell you my story and I hope it helps rather than bore you.

When I first moved here, I was unemployed for three months straight the most depressing thing for me to go through because I used to have a decent paying job in the UK. I would post my CV on all the job boards that I could find but nothing came of it.

I eventually got a call about a part time job, minimum wage, poorly organised company, the lady who called was an American, who had spent time in the UK, so she understood what I was saying and asked me to come in for an interview.

I went in, got interviewed by some chap but went in with the prospect of working, which made me happy just to get the interview. I got the job and started working at the lowest job I had done since stop being a student (Note: employers can read your body language so enthusiasm is really important even if it is a low pay job).

After three months at the job, the people who owned it who must have been the biggest bunch of comedians I had ever come across, decided to make some cut backs and yes, I truly was let go. Life was bad as it was having to hire a Taxi to take me back and forth to work on my minimum wage job. So, I was back to ground zero, as always being in a relationship with this situation starts a new life on it's own. I found myself deeply depressed and lack of control of my life, the voices of my family in my head started to get louder "Why on Earth would you want to live in the USA" "what are you thinking" "What are you on Mate?" but I kept my nerve, two weeks after being laid off the same comedians that laid me off realised that they had made a mistake and asked me to come back, they thought I was not originally adding any value to the job but soon found out that a lot of the work was not getting done. I swallowed my pride and went back to the now depression job and thing at home and work were getting me more depressed I got three job phone calls about my actual vocation, I some how impressed one of the companies over the phone and had a face to face interview.

I got hired for a lower salary than what I used to make in the UK but better than the stupid minimum wage job. I handed in my notice (which I must say was one of the sweetest things I had experienced here at the time) and I was on my way from then, I was fortunate enough to work there for a couple of years and move on to much better companies where I was in control of my career and life again.

This took some time but I was determined not to go back with a Tail between my legs and giving everyone the satisfaction of people telling me they were right I should have never left the UK.

The choice is yours, you can have a negative mindset and give in and give up or you can keep fighting to you get what you want.

I hope you choose the latter.


Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
Yeah, I suspected that. I've had some good meetings since I got here, including a job interview that I took all the way to the last round and just missed out on (all within the last month), but I'm getting the feeling that I might need to 'downsize' my expectations in order to get a foot in the door.

Basically, it's all a bit daunting and depressing. We've been in the USA since December and I'm beginning to doubt the move. I suspect though that a job offer and a chance to settle down will be all it takes to get over this, but having come from a good job, one that was very secure, to having nothing and having to start from scratch again is a worrying proposition.
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
I'd posted last week about trying to locate work on Capitol Hill as a US permanent resident as opposed to citizen - thanks to all who got in touch

I arrived here last month and the job searching is motoring on. But I was wondering what other people's experiences have been after arriving here for the first time and the length of time it's taken to find work and begin 'settling down'
We're in DC on a L1A and for the first year my wife (who used to have a very good job in a Fortune 50 company back in London) decided to devote herself to looking after our children. Subsequently, she got here EAD and spoke to a few folks about how DC really works in terms of networks.

In essence, its much more aggressive than back in the UK; but people expect that. Moreover, using the "could you suggest two people who I could speak to?" line with every conversation is a super-effective way to build relationships. She's now a director at one not-for-profit and a board member for a small NGO.

All the best
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 3:09 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by IPM View Post
We're in DC on a L1A and for the first year my wife (who used to have a very good job in a Fortune 50 company back in London) decided to devote herself to looking after our children. Subsequently, she got here EAD and spoke to a few folks about how DC really works in terms of networks.

In essence, its much more aggressive than back in the UK; but people expect that. Moreover, using the "could you suggest two people who I could speak to?" line with every conversation is a super-effective way to build relationships. She's now a director at one not-for-profit and a board member for a small NGO.

All the best
Thanks IPM. We're lucky to have some contacts here, both friends and family connections who have been generous with their time and their willingness to help out. I'm extremely grateful for this, as it certainly does help open up doors that might otherwise not have been possible.

For a type A personality like me though, everything has to be urgent and revolve around me. It's no use if it wasn't take of us yesterday I suspect I need to calm down, take stock and appreciate what and who we have to help us.

I enjoyed your story a lot - but what is EAD? The non-profit/public affairs/government relations sectors are my hoped for destination. We'll see how that turns out.

Thanks again for your response and for all the responses so far!
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
... what is EAD?
Employment Authorization Document = permission to work.

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Old Mar 26th 2012, 7:06 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

We've been here for 8 months (SoCal) and have been very surprised at how quickly and easily we've settled.

I think we've been lucky that financially we've not had too many worries, but I can imagine that side of it being extremely stressful, especially the level of bureaucracy involved in buying a house or a car etc.

The lifestyle is very different, we watch a LOT less TV, mainly because it's crap and there is more opportunity to spend time doing other things and living out doors.

The advice about not comparing things is good, the biggest mistake people make is that they think it's similar to the UK because of the language similarity, it really isn't the same at all.
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Old Mar 26th 2012, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by cy1982 View Post
I'd posted last week about trying to locate work on Capitol Hill as a US permanent resident as opposed to citizen - thanks to all who got in touch

I arrived here last month and the job searching is motoring on. But I was wondering what other people's experiences have been after arriving here for the first time and the length of time it's taken to find work and begin 'settling down'
Tip 1: Karo Syrup is not for coooking eggs, long story.

Congrats, I think based on your desires for employment, you may want to consider a professional headhunter company or someone to assist in translating your resume into "Americanese." These companies have a wide reach in the capitol, and although you might not get there this year, they are connected to the government network.

Do not discount the resume, especially for government employment, it is a strange automated system.
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Old Mar 27th 2012, 12:31 am
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Default Re: Settling down in the USA - work etc

Originally Posted by SATX John View Post
Tip 1: Karo Syrup is not for coooking eggs, long story.

Congrats, I think based on your desires for employment, you may want to consider a professional headhunter company or someone to assist in translating your resume into "Americanese." These companies have a wide reach in the capitol, and although you might not get there this year, they are connected to the government network.

Do not discount the resume, especially for government employment, it is a strange automated system.
Are these headhunter companies easily found? Never really heard of them before but I'm assuming there's a place to read up on them?

I'm not even going ask about the Karo syrup

Thanks for your response!
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