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Working With Your Fellow Countrymen
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
It is supposed to be easy to work with someone you can associate with. When I mean associate it is to understand the language, customs, needs and even culture. When you come from the same country or speak the same language you are supposed to empathize with each other. Not so, with many of the instances of coworkers, business partners, students, employers or even associates. Many examples from the readers point to a vast different attitude amongst our own folks who can help each other.
Indians are not the only community that looks for help from their own countrymen. It is an age-old practice to seek help from your own community, as it is simply easy to associate with your own. The well to do in any community specially the immigrants typically is the ones who the new entrants look for help from. When someone from India is looking for help in the USA they typically look for another well to do Indian person who is known in the community or another Indian owned or managed company to help. Students look for support from employers to help them learn, get experience and establish with their new careers. Prospective employees look for other Indians to help them with finding positions that pay and help earn a living. People who are looking to invest money or become businesspersons look for other successful businessmen to partner with or associate with to invest their hard earned money to become more successful. All said the faith in your own community is always greater as the person who is trying to get a job, invest in a business, work for a living or simply find opportunity is hoping to just do that by associating with people of the same origin. Their faith is that people of same origins will understand and empathize with their needs better than others in a newly found home such as USA.
I am aware of lots of instances including one as I write this column of an employer simply making anger as an excuse to not paying wages that he agreed to pay to a girl. Despite assurances from friends and colleagues that this guy was going to pay, he still hasn’t. I feel irritated that nothing can be done yet about this callous behavior, but I am sure the readers will collectively start being smarter in handling idiotic employers who are trying to manipulate the folks who really need help.
Students making transition
India sends numerous students to the USA and many of them plan to complete their education and find work in the USA and eventually make a life of their own in the USA. It is obvious that they become targets for exploitation, as they do not have the experience not the financial wherewithal. Indian students unlike their American counterparts do not have the independence of working while young and making decisions on their own due to the community structure of India, which further complicates their outlook to the general society and work. Once they finish schooling, students typically require a work permit to find employment, which helps them to get practical training to prepare for a long career. While on a work permit they can change their status to a full fledged work visa by transferring their visa to a employer who can help with their long term status. While trying to do this is when they face complications to their advancement. As students look for permanent employment, they look for companies or employers from their native countries, who in turn are looking for cheap or inexpensive resources. Employers are happy to transfer visas but after transferring the visas they have trouble paying, trouble training the students, and eventually finding long-term employment opportunities. This disappointing process is that of a gradual transition from education to training to employment typically turns into a charade of broken promises, with employees being unable to fulfill their initial promises to the new graduates, who in turn become helpless in making a career out of contracts they sign.
New employees and transfer of visas
One other normal practice with new workers into USA is transferring their H 1 visa or work visa. As only a certain number of visas as issues each year in this category, these new employees in the USA are great attraction for employers who might have the need for resources. Typically an employer can transfer the work visa with little expense. Employees once in the USA try to find their friends or relatives or people they know to find a place to work, while also looking for quick opportunities. As the term of their visa is limited a certain number of years, employees are always angling for a way for permanent status that can be sponsored by the employer. The part that is becoming a common practice is how wages are paid when the workers may not have contracts. Staying in apartments and on meager to no wages if a standard practice. An employer not following the immigration-mandated rules of pay and benefits is normal. No one seems to care and a few employers seem to even remotely follow the rules. Despite the numerous rules and regulations employees on the bench live in sub standard living conditions and hanging around the offices of their employers looking for work and wages. Many of these valuable resources that came to the USA to develop software end up working in gas stations or convenient stores. Although ironic these meager wages seem to be holding the highly skilled workers together while they can find employment that they left their homes and traveled to the USA. Also another common practice is that of dependent spouses working for cash while they are supposed to be dependent and not work. The whole series of practices have been flourishing in the past few years as the number of people willing to be exploited and number of employers willing to exploit have exponentially increased. Now it is rare that companies don’t exploit their employees, and employees try and move as many times as possible to find better wages and people who are dependent work even though they know it is not legal. Every opportunity for the countrymen to follow the rules and regulations are blatantly ignored so that everyone involved can try to benefit, but in reality no one is benefiting because of bending rules, and from what I can see no one is making any progress they hope make with their employment or financial objectives.
Trying to be an entrepreneur with your own people
It is another avocation of people who want to be the next rich Indian by associating with the few who are already is. It is a common practice to be thinking of being one of the rich persons of the community, the ones who give big donations are typically the ones who made wealth outside of normal USA standards, and the rest of the community want to follow their lead. Many instances that the practice of trying partner with an already wealthy community member don’t turn out too good, as the one with wealth typically looks the one without as free resource or don’t want to create a competitor.
Perspective of working with your fellow countrymen
USA is the land of opportunity and remains to be a great one for continuing opportunity and capitalism. No wonder the exploitation continues among our own folks. It is not uncommon practice in any given society to take advantage of the available resources, but not as it seem in the current environment. Not all the blame should go to the employers or rich folks. They simply are there to keep healthy financials and not charity.
The opportunity to learn, train, educate and grow with the job is an all American process to which much of the new immigrant community members are new to appreciate. People should spend time in developing skills, and learning and processing the discipline of progressive careers. They should not rush into the temporary opportunities in believing that employers have some magic to make things happen. They should be careful in evaluating the opportunities presented to them. In all times if it sounds too good to be true it is not going to be true.
Employers who hire people that they can not afford, well to do businessmen who have time for wood be entrepreneurs and people of same origins all have obligations to remember that they too got started one day, and the promise of America still holds true if hard work is the only measurement.
Unfortunately we seem to be looking at finding quick ways to exploit, while we all get exploited in the process. Difficult decisions such as going back to India are left out of the equation, as people don’t seem to mind pumping gas in the USA or selling donuts, rather than developing software in India. All exploitation happens because of the ones who are being exploited continue to allow the un-American process. Believing that GOD will take care of exploitation is not a good idea and starting to look at every opportunity with critical decision-making will make life more serious and committed. Following rules of law will help to make an easy process of advancement. Hard work and following rules will help make the American opportunity real, and will help to sleep well in the night. Let us try and I am sure it will work to be realistic while looking for real opportunity. Lastly don’t ever get exploited, as if you know you are being exploited and continue to be exploited you have no chance of becoming what you aspire to be.
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