He checked his Gmail account again. There were a few more responses to his online resume submissions, basically acknowledging the receipt of the job applications and a promise that ‘your resume is on file for future openings’. He has been getting these meaningless replies for the last one year, since he arrived in USA.
Back home in India, everyone had told him that it was very easy to get an engineering job in America. “You can make lots of money in a few years”, His future father-in-law told him at the time of his engagement 3 years ago. A year after that, he was married to Anu.
He had big dream; after all, nobody dreams small. Once in US, he was greeted by his wife and her family and they welcome him into their home. His old classmates, now living within driving distance, came to visit him.
He was treated like a guest for many months. However, he soon realized, you cannot be a guest for too long. He had to figure out the next step – the job. With all the expenses and cost of living, he needed a job soon. His parents and siblings back home were already calling to check on him; to see when he might send them some money like every other NRI does.
He was very optimistic about his career in USA, so was the rest of his American family – his in-laws. Just like any typical Indian family, everybody was full of advice:
“You can easily find an Engineering job in your field.. no problem for a smart guy like you…”
“There is no shortage of work for Indian Engineers…this is just the fact…”
“You will find something – something good, very soon….”
After a few months, the tone of the advice changed:
“You just need to try a bit harder, maybe try something in lower pay scale to gain some experience…”
“Find a way to get your foot in the door…”
“My cousin started as a technician; now he is the director of engineering…but they are not hiring…”
“You cannot give up…We never give up…”
“You will find something – may be not that good but something… something good….”
The time went by; ‘something good’ was still illusive after a full year of job hunt. Anu was very understanding all along. She had told him that it would not be easy, but he never thought it would be a slow torture like that.
Then the pessimism kicked in… the justification from every side, from everyone:
“Economy is bad…it is not your fault”
“There are no good jobs in this economy…”
“May be you can try something part time…”
“Have you thought about trying something different?…”
“You can work at McDonald’s for now….”
“just start with something, it is ‘just a job’ after all!….”
Yes, there was no shortage of advice and guidance…….
He looked though the daily mail on the kitchen table. There were a few bills, a flyer and some junk mail from the cable companies and mortgage brokers. The digital clock on the oven read 5:50PM. He has to leave the house before seven, so that he can be at the airport before 8 o’clock. Even though it is only 25 miles of a drive, the rush hour traffic jams are everywhere around this time. He used to get irritated and even agitated by the traffic, but not so much anymore.
He had not eaten anything all day. He had some cereal for breakfast in the morning and some coffee in the afternoon, but that’s about it. He scanned the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat before he leaves. In the fridge, he found some leftover pizza from the previous night. He took out a slice and heated it in the microwave for 30 seconds.
He heard the front door open; Anu walked in as he was about to eat his quick fix dinner.
“You are home early today!” He said with a welcoming smile.
“The traffic wasn’t that bad on the highway”, she said, “How was your day?”
He paused, “Nothing special.”
“Looking good in the black suit and tie!” She said, kicking off her shoes and putting down her black purse in the living room. With a predictable routine, she slumped in the sofa and let out a huge sigh!
“Honey, can you put some water in the microwave for me?” She asked without turning her head.
He filled a tea cup with water and put it in the microwave to heat for two minutes. He came back to the kitchen table to finish off his pizza slice while she turned on the TV.
“You are eating dinner already?” She made an observation.
“Yeah, I did not eat anything all day…”
She did not say anything…
“and, I have to go soon!” He added.
The microwave started to beep after the two minutes timer expired.
“Anything in the mail?” She asked, walking over to the microwave to tend to her instant tea.
“Don’t know; I did not get a chance to go through it!”
He picked up his wallet from the side counter, along with his cell phone and the car keys.
“I think I should head out!” He said, walking towards the door slowly.
“Are you sure?” She said while mixing the sugar and milk in her tea.
“Yeah…”, he said, “ See you in the morning”
“I will probably be gone when you come back!”
Putting on his dress shoes, he did not reply.
“Okay then! Drive safely!” She shouted out loud as she took a sip of the tea.
He opened the front door and walked out to the driveway.
Sitting in the driver seat, he started his cab and checked the taxi-meter to make sure that it was working properly. Next, he checked for the credit card scanning machine.
And then, he reversed out of the driveway and he drove off to the airport for his night shift as a cab driver.
Related Stories and Articles:
- A father’s Pride
- The Tea Time
- 911 – The Emergency Call
- The night before Babbu’s wedding
- Her first job in America
- Unmourned death of a mother tongue
- The way I used to be
- Abroad, you never feel at home
- A lesson in American History