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New arrivals and their career approaches!

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    New arrivals and their career approaches!

    Folks, here another topic I was thinking about before going to sleep last night.

    The newly arrived professionals from Pakistan try to integrate into the society with their own different approaches. I've noticed some typical ones and just would like to shed my two cents on one of them.

    There is a type that come into U.S. and in order to quickly start amassing wealth, get into cab business, coveneience stores or other non-white collar professions. Now, this is not to say that these professions are bad. The point here is that, attracted by the prospective wealth offered by these professions-which require almost no start-up period or training- that they abandon their original professions and become so heavily involed that their desire to pursue their original prefession takes the back seat forever!!

    I've seen doctors, engineers and others highly prefessional individual who are driving cabs, working at 7-eleven or working for desis. Some end up doing their own gig, makinf far more than what they might have made while working in their profession.

    The reasons for this stagnation in their career might be the family responsiblites, where one might have immigrated with a huge family and thus must support them while searching for a job in their profession. Another reason might might be legalization issue, where a person might not have the permission to work, thus they must languish within this profeesion. Others might be the fact they they feel they can make more money by driving a cab then by working at as 9-5 job for only 25K.

    Whatever the reasons maybe, a good number of new arrivals get so heavily involved in odd jobs that with every passing day, they deviate further and further from their original profession.

    This post in no way belittles the professions mentioned above. Pls. don't ass-ume that I am against what a number of new arrivals resort to when they arrive in this country. Heck... whatever floats your boat!!!These are merely some observations I have noticed and felt I should share with the good folks here.


    "heck whatever floats your boat" heeheh I liked that ending, especially when you are talking about Fresh of de boat group.

    In my opinion there are numerous reasons for this to happen and I really cant say which is the most common one.

    1) Number of the people have no real interest in the profession but got into it in Pakistan since it was a well paying job, and now they can make a comfortable living and have all those things considered so important i.e. house, cars etc etc. Their commitment was not to the profession but to the money, and if one could get it by an easier method, why work hard & deal with a boss and peers.

    2) "Some" people coming here with degrees from Pakistan can not compete. This is not to say Pakistani institutions of higher education are not producing quality graduates. However the ability of people to get into institutions by bribes and nepotism breeds a new kind of graduate who is rather low in talent, ability and intelligence department. This does not mean ALL Pakistani graduates are incompetent, quite the contrary, but some of these graduates and professionals just dont have what it takes, whether its functional knowledge or work ethic or ability to integrate in the industry.

    3) Sometimes people who have arrived here have real family obligations for which they want to do as much and as fast as possible and thus sacrificing their careers. This applies to cabbies I have run into in NYC and Philly who do not have the time to climb up the corporate ladder and fulfill their career aspirations and advance their income gradually but are happy with a decent amount which allows them a decent living and enables them to provide much needed assistance to family members back in Pakistan.

    4) It can be personal choice, owning your own business allows a certain flexibility and freedom that is very desirable. You get the benefits of your hardwork directly and are not dependent on some managers or VPs admission that you have made a valuable contribution indeed and should be rewarded.

    I have noticed one trend though, and you can correct me if I am wrong. The younger group of the recent immigrants is less apt to follow this path than the earlier group. Comments?
    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


      Its true that majority of pakistani pursue a career which we have traditionally labeled as highly qualified or highly respected. "Doctor banna hain ya engineer... ya phir wakeel" If you pursue a career in some other field, say photography, journalism or any other industry, you hear " ap photographer ban rahey hain.." I mean if u;r not pursuing either of the three most coveted fields, you're just an average person. I myself pursued Engineering since I knew if i had chosen finance or nursing or teaching, my folks would have been disappointed in me. So, we're highly influenced by our society abut choosing careers, which is alittle different from here, where we're influenced by either industry or our own interests.

      IT's true that quite a number of pakis who come here haven;t got a slightest clue about their respective indutry. They most probably bought their way into their profession, and thus lack the ability and stamina to integrate into the business world accordingly. (Pls. see my posting on "Desi mangers" forum).

      On the other hand, the most deprived sector of the community usually is the most talented one. These are the poeple who have to work hard and prove their superiors about their potentials. Sadly, most of these talented individuas don;t have the means to come to U.S. If they did, they probably would have bought their way into their professions, and thus be in the same category is mentioned above.

      Family obligations are true. Heck, you wanna feed your child or you wanna feed your ego?

      Younger generation of pakis are going into a diverse group of fields. I know I wanted to be either a cop or a fire fighter. (these guys make good money, not to mention the early retirement package where you can retire when u;r 40. Then you can have your own gig) The newer generation, since being exposed to the standards of living in the west, don't give as much significance to the above mentioned professions as their parents once did. As a result, I see cops in NYPD who are desi, I see desis in MTA, DOB, DOT and other industustries which they might not have pursued had they been in Pakistan.



        Did you check my reply regarding Icq. If not please do so in the jokes section.


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          so very true both ghalib and fraudia ..

          i think the primary reason is the fact that our desi degrees are not excepted in NA with very a few exceptions
          others may be that the professional life in the west is heck a lot faster than that in pak so many choose the simpler professions to stick to their routines!



            Guys, you all made very good points. I would add by saying that even the professional experience earned in Pakistan is not weighed equally as compared to the one gained by living in US. So for engineers, for example, if they apply for a job here solely based on Pakistani education and experience, the face greater competition and less desirability to the management of a particular company or industry because the employer will tend to recruit the candidate who will have an American education and working experience.

            Another barier is language and communication skills. Generally speaking, the educated and professional people who are new in US don't have the equivalent communication skills compared to those who are already living here for some years or born here. My personal experience is that communication skills are considered an important factor in many industries when scrutinizing prospective employees for a job in US. With all these barriers, one finds it more difficult to compete with existing masses of job candidates to persue there professional careers here.

            A third, but a more paradoxical factor is the comparative less professionalism in Pakistani newcomer community. With all the barriers outlined above, instead of 'upgrading' or 'updating' their skill-sets, the newcomers try to find easier ways. I still believe that one can work on gas stations or drive a cab and still attend school on part time basis to sharpen ones skills to the desired level (Hey, I did it myself, but of course, it is not possible for every one of the newcomer since they have to support their families and situation vary from one to the other individual but still there is a good number of people who can accompolish it). But they just don't go for it. They are not professional enough to persue their careers in the fields that they have acquired the degrees in. They only go for the money. When we say career, it is NOT ONLY about money, it involves many other things. It involves ones work environment (I am pretty sure most of the people who have, say, electric engineering degree but are driving cabs here won't actually enjoy driving a cab more than working on a job which gives them opportunity to excercise the knowledge they have obtainend in earning their degrees), satisfaction out of the kind of work they are doing, challenge and creativity, and so on. I think many of such newcomers who do not have extreme impending financial responsibilities are just a little lazy or have lack of ambitions to go for a career. So they just go only for money.

            [This message has been edited by a_monad (edited April 09, 1999).]


              Ghalib, Mr. Fraudia, I would like to add one more factor. "Lack of Community Support" for young man and women. More often, we laugh at them, look at them as if we have seen a... and Shy away from them because they are "fresh of the boat" Many of these good people are very proud people so they won't ask for help rather they will do whatever it takes to get it going and that often translate into getting hourly jobs. Their survivor instinct take over and that start a vicious cycle. If we were to welcome them then may be they will be more motivated in maintaining their profession. Then again there are other's who's only interests converting $$$ into Rupees. Oh well!!




                Good point....I looked this one over. This is so true and I even think it supercedes what I mentioned in the firt post. If you can muster enough support from the community, then these new comers wouldn;t face the challeneges alone.

                Lets just promise ourselves here that we would support such endeavors.

                [This message has been edited by ghalib (edited April 10, 1999).]


                  Ghalib, Mr. Fraudia, MahaRaja, a_monad and Dilwale:
                  All of you have made good points here and I do not find any one to disagree.
                  I would like to add one more thing that we come here with little preparation. When these people get Visa in Pakistan, most of them do not even care to get the information where they are going and what they are going to do there.
                  In my view if these people contact some one in USA or where ever they are going to know about the job situation, job requirements and information about their degree or diploma.
                  Every engineer or Doctor or any one from any other professional should write to the "University Grant Commission Islamabad to varify about the status and acceptibility of his/her degree in the country where he/she is going.
                  Then these fresh people should contact the Embassy of that country to collect the information. Come here prepared, you will face less problem

                  Second thing, I agree with Ghalib and Dilwale about the noncooperation from the previously established people.

                  There are a few reasons for that.
                  Some people forget their originality very soon and they do not like to mix with their roots.

                  New commers try to avoid the desis becasue they think desis create problems.

                  The situation could be resolved as Dilwale and Ghalib mentioned in their posts that lets promise to oursleves that we would support our new comers as much as we could.


                    Dilwale I agree with you on that. The general lack of support is pretty bad. Its extremely hard to network in the desi community to get help in career matters. It is different for two groups; People who have grown up here or lived here with families can get help from the "uncle/aunty type of folks. People who have moved here for education can usually do better networking with their own peers, desi or non desi, and also through internships, professors and alumni... yet I have not seen much support from the older desi crowd..

                    Some interesting observations. One of my friends who had finished his undergrad in Elec engg and was pursuing his masters was introduced to some guys brother from NYC. This clown was working for the Nynex or whatever the NY telecom company.. so my buddy faisal is talking to this guy and the "advice" he gets amounts to "Aap EE chorr karr Computer science mein degree lay lain" job asaany say mil jaye gi. I mean all this guy had to do was take his info share it with someone or just let him know what was going on with the company. I just found the whole conversation rather screwy.
                    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                      I authorised you ghalib

                      MIRZA YASIR

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                        Thankx mirza bhai...i got the notice. See you soon


                        On the contrary.... I think he was giving a very good advice to your freind. The people I network with now, gimme the same advice and I, in turn, pass it on to any prospective soul who values my opinion. The boom in computers has created so many opputunties that EE can never even come close. I don;t know any EE majors that I went to school with who are working as EE. They're all in computers, networking, NT etc. etc.

                        My advice to your freind would be the same: "don;t waste time doing masters in EE. A masters in EE won;t help you look any better to your prospective employer. Instead, jump into computers, preferably into networking or telecommunications. And get ready to cross six-figures in about a year!!"

                        Now, something more about this thread. msaqibj pointed something very interestng out. Even the new comers would like to avoid dealing with their own communities. They've had bad experiences with their own kind before and would rather trust a stranger than somebody from their own native land. I've heard of NYC cabbies ripping their own pakis off at the airport, which obvioulsy is new comers' first exposure to america.

                        Nevertheless, I like to be an optimist. I still believe poeple are good at heart and especially pakis. I've had experiences with some extraodinary pakis who have guided me all through the years I have been in amreeka. And the best way to return thsi favor is to help someone else out, who is trying t merge into this system. Hopefully, he'll pass it on to someone.