Yesterday I read about a column in newspaper about the experiences of girls who move away from home to a different city, state or country in pursuit of their career. This gave a thought of sharing my experiences over here.
Right since my childhood I travelled a lot all over India and even outside India, but that was always a few days vacation and always with family so in a kind of protected atmosphere.
I still remember the day when I travelled alone by bus to my college. My college was just few bus stops away from my home but I felt so tense in that journey of few minutes, I started feeling worried the moment I got into the bus will I be able to know my stop, what if I get down at wrong stop how will I find the way back. Even after getting down from the bus and while walking towards the college I felt confused am I taking the correct road somehow finally made my way to college in time. Slowly with time this fear vanished and I developed a confidence of travelling anywhere in my city.
Time passed by and I completed my education through different institutes at different location but in my city, wherever I travelled always at the end of the day I got to return home. I got all my jobs always in my city only so never had to move away from family. I did not accept any job offers outside my city thinking if I can get a job in my city then why should I move out and make my life difficult. Money was and never will be my priority in life and even now I feel that money cannot give you job satisfaction.
In spite of being in IT the thought of travelling onsite never came to my mind,I was happy and satisfied with the way my life was going on. Things changed a few years back when I joined a new company and was placed in a project with US client. For initial few months I was happy and contented doing my job from offshore and wanted to grow at offshore only more in terms of responsibility and position. Slowly as I watched my colleagues travel to onsite and hearing their experiences the desire to go onsite started growing in me.
Then the time came for H1 visa filling so finally in two minds I went to my manager to ask for my visa filling. I got a strict “No” for answer we do not have any requirement on this project we cannot file your visa.My desire for onsite was also not very strong and did not mind that much, left it thinking I will create my position over here only I don’t need onsite. Little did we both know what future had in store. After a few days performance evaluation time came in and in spite of bringing lot many improvements in quality of the application I handled I was rated just average by the same person who had said no to my visa and reason given was you did your job nothing more than that. This was very hurting and that moment I decided that I will create so strong position in this team that this person will take back his words one day.
Few months passed by and I managed my team from offshore fortunately got a very helping and good at heart onsite counterpart, he was big support to me. Days passed and suddenly my onsite counterpart resigned. That day the same people who had once said no to me for onsite came to me saying that we will file your visa are you ready? I agreed but the visa filling and final stamping was going to take about an year. In the meantime I continued to work from offshore and managed to smoothly handle the project from offshore with all new team members. Not only did I manage to create a very good impression on management but even won the complete trust of client. This year’s performance appraisal was different I was rated in the top high performing category by the same person who had rated with me average last year, he even went ahead to say that you deserved far more than this. Finally with my hard work and dedication I made this person take back his comments in categorising me as average.
Days kept on passing and my H1 visa did not come in lottery and I left the thought of travelling onsite and continued my work from offshore. Due to demand from client, management approached me for L1 visa. Same people who had once said no to me for visa now started following up for the same.This is how life turns….
Finally my visa got stamped and was about to travel to onsite, if this was a story it should have ended here saying that I reached onsite and continued my work happily over there but life is not a story.😥😥
One day before my travel I was diagnosed with serious illness and had to cancel my trip. Days passed and I recovered from my illness and resumed my work back at offshore. Completed my work successfully and took a difficult decision of moving out of my comfort zone to different project.
This time I got a opportunity to travel to US for my project, even though the stay was planned for short term, I was happy because I just wanted to take that experience. Moment I stepped in US I realized this, that life here is not as rosy as it seems from a distance it is a life changing experience which is going to make me strong.
Initially I checked into Hotel for few days but the first difficult question was to find accommodation that too within one week time span. Fortunately someone who I had contacted through an ad on internet while in India and left the hope of getting any reply contacted me back. This was big surprise I quickly went to see the house and liked it and finalised that I will be shifting on weekend. I was relieved that finally I got a place to stay with public transport available to travel to office.
But I was going to get big blow next day it was my birthday, I was already feeling lonely as this was my first experience being away from home. To add to this in the night after I reached my hotel I got a call that maybe I cannot rent this place to you as this could be reserved for students only, need to check with property manager.I felt running away home the next day😥
Next day I started searching again for a new accommodation, I again got a call saying property manager has confirmed so no such restrictions you shift in tomorrow. This time I was worried what if something comes up after I shift in where will I go then what if this turns out to be spam, but I had no option but to shift in and take the risk. Fortunately my roommate turned out to be a nice person who helped me lot in settling in USA.
Next difficulty was travelling to office by public transport which is not a good option in USA, roads are deserted with no one to ask for directions, you have to find your own way using GPS. Initially even going to SSN office at walkable distance from my office seemed scary to me, now however over a period of time I have developed the confidence to travel anywhere in Miami same way as I used to do in Mumbai.
I was never used to do any household work like cooking, cleaning, buying groceries etc. Being a vegetarian I had limited options to eat outside in US, so no other option than to cook my own food.Initial days I found that very difficult but slowly got used, learnt different options from my roommate. In India I got grocery store next door here the nearest Indian store was more than a mile,so I had to plan well in advance for whatever items I need and then buy it.This taught me a lesson that managing household work in not easy job,salute to all those who do it daily.
All these small things which are part of daily routine changed me into a different person, taught me lot many lessons and changed me from a shy and reserved person to a more confident person. There are somethings which can be learnt only through experience and you have to muster the courage to step out of your cocoon, bitter experiences will be there but it will be great learning also. Take all the chances in life failure does not hurt as much as the regret of not trying.
This is my journey so far and lastly I want to thank everyone who were part of this journey, you all helped shape me into the person I am today. I end this story with a hope that journey ahead would be even more interesting than this.
I had read these lines somewhere and feel life should be this way
“Far better is to dare mighty things and be checkered by failure, Than to rank with those poor souls who live gray twilight that knows neither defeat nor victory”