You don't need to strain to hear harsh words fly from end one of the political spectrum to the other.
But I will.
My transition from my home country to the United States has shaped my outlook, defined my core, and developed my career. I'd love to share that process with you.
The Big Move
Fifteen years ago, I moved from my home country to the United States. I was 25 years old (no math allowed here!). Needless to say, this was a significant change in my life.
I started school at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Immediately, I noticed the famed Southern hospitality. People opened doors for you, said hello in the streets. I loved it. But I was still in a new country with no resources except the $350 in my back pocket.
Nothing to Fall Back On
I had absolutely nothing to fall back on. Just pause for a second. Let that sink in.
I was 25 years old in a new country, at a new university, with my close friends back home. This was a sobering reality.
To help me in my transition, my friends had given me all these VHS tapes of Everybody Loves Raymond and Friends to learn everything I needed to know about America. I laugh at it now, but I truly had very few resources. I had that money in my back pocket, and very little else.
I used this. Since there was nothing to fall back on, I could only go forward. I took this reality of having few resources as my drive to seize opportunity. Being an immigrant with little resources became the driving force in my life, particularly my career.
I Took an Undergraduate's Job
As I was about to graduate with my master's degree from Alabama, I heard about an opportunity with the consulting firm Deloitte. They were only willing to pay a certain amount, so they were focusing their attention on undergraduates.
They were very surprised when I applied. They told me what they could pay, and I made it known I was more interested in the opportunity than the pay. Whatever they could pay I would be happy with. I was the only graduate they hired.
The experiences I had with Deloitte far outweighed the monetary issues. Deloitte is a top-four consulting firm. When I took the job, I knew that having Deloitte on my résumé would create opportunity for me in the long run.
Using the motivation that I had developed as an immigrant, I was willing to sacrifice in the short term, to gain experience and opportunity to propel me into my career.
After Deloitte, My Career Soared
A couple years after working with Deloitte, I took a position with a startup. A few years after that, I took an opportunity with Pardot, which was acquired by Salesforce.com in a billion-dollar deal. My experiences at Deloitte were crucial in my career growth. Do you think anyone ever stopped and asked me if I took a graduate or undergraduate position at Deloitte?
Immigrant = No Entitlement
As an immigrant, I had no sense of entitlement. That provided me with the foresight to take my position at Deloitte when others turned it down because of the pay.
Entitlement is killing us. It's taking our vision away from what we should be focused on: what we're doing. Instead, it makes us look at what we feel we "should" have.
I see it all the time. A smart professional who is working hard in a local office thinks they should be the area manager or VP. They want the money and the title.
Stop focusing on titles. Don't worry so much about the money in the short term. Focus on the work that you'll be doing and the experiences an opportunity provides.
Titles and roles are only keeping you back. Responsibilities and what you get to work on should be what moves you forward. Think more about, "What's going to help me and my career?" Don't talk yourself out of amazing opportunities over short-sightedness.
Ultimately, your title doesn't matter. Your experience will. Deloitte is a top-four consulting firm and it's on my résumé. No one cares what my title was.
To Finish Up
Being an immigrant has shaped me as a person. From the outset, I was on my own, with nothing to fall back on. This notion created a motivation and a philosophy: only move forward. This became an ultimate factor in my career success.
Entitlement? It had no place in my life. I was too focused on taking every opportunity for the long-term value they provided as well as the experiences they afforded.
Being an immigrant is who I am, and it's the reason I am where I am today.