Summer of 2012

Time – infinite moments put together, one after another.
Moments adding up to the continuous flow of life.
The tree of life growing moment by moment, day-by day, season-by-season.
The moments – sweet and sour – some memorable, most of them forgettable.
Summer. The summer of 2012; another season.
Another phase, another period punctuated by the scattered memories.
Summer of 2012, summed up in one word – heat.
Relentless heat; unforgettable!!

Heat, the dry heat.
The endless summer heat-wave.
Long days of summer and the long periods of droughts.
No rains for weeks, a rare tease of light sprinkles in between.
Dry ground. Dry ponds.
Dead grass, thirsty gardens.
Thirsty gardens, cornless cobs, shriveling fruits, withering leaves….
The sun bombarding the earth every moment of day, day after day
The never ending summer of 2012… Continue reading “Summer of 2012”

US Employment forecast by industry: 2010-2020

2010 to 2020: US Jobs and Employment change projections by industry

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the total employment is expected to increase by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020. However, the 20.5 million jobs expected to be added by 2020 will not be evenly distributed across major industry and occupational groups. Changes in consumer demand, improvements in technology, and many other factors will contribute to the continually changing employment structure of the U.S. economy.

The underlying analysis (of BLS employment projections) uses currently available information to focus on long-term structural changes in the economy. This post examines the projected employment change within the industries:

Service-providing industries

The employment shift in the U.S. economy away from goods-producing in favor of service-providing industries is expected to continue. Service-providing industries are anticipated to generate nearly 18 million new jobs. As with goods-producing industries, growth among service-providing industries will vary (Chart 5 below).

Healthcare and social assistance: The healthcare and social assistance industry is projected to create about 28 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. economy. This industry—which includes public and private hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, and individual and family services—is expected to grow by 33 percent, or 5.7 million new jobs. Employment growth will be driven by an aging population and longer life expectancies, as well as new treatments and technologies. Continue reading “US Employment forecast by industry: 2010-2020”

Just a job

“You can easily find an Engineering job in your field in America… 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, no problem….”
….. Back home in India, just like any typical Indian family, everybody was full of advice. 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 used to be very optimistic about his career in USA, so was the rest of his American family – his in-laws.

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.

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….” Continue reading “Just a job”

India through the eyes of my American Classmates

“So how do you like it here, in US?” This is a common icebreaker with new classmates from other countries.
“I love it; it’s fun!” is my general response. After all, I don’t need to complain about my homesickness to everybody.
“I would love to go to India, but am little bit worried about the safety and stuff over there; ….”  Some hesitation about a country far away is quite normal among Americans.
“Stuff like what?” I like to explore what they think about India.
“Well, it is a new place; plus I don’t speak Indian.” Some say this as a joke, while other are clueless to the Indian languages.
And sometimes, the things get slippery after such small talk! That is where the snakes, the elephants and other wild animals jump into the picture. Some questions, asked even with the utmost seriousness, beg for a chuckle, if not a full blown laugh!

I like my American classmates and friends just as much as my desi colleagues, well almost. At least, that’s what I would like to believe and that’s what I try anyways. Many of these firangs are my close friends. We eat together, we study together and we goof-off together. It’s a fun bunch of people I am surrounded by.

I am one of the five Indians in our class. There are students from everywhere – Canada, European countries, Australia, Kenya, Mexico and Korea…to name a few. They all come from a very diverse background, not to forget in all colors – white, brown, black, yellow, pink, dark pink…well, sometimes it is hard to tell the real color with all the makeup on. 🙂 Continue reading “India through the eyes of my American Classmates”

Your pay depends on where you live in USA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Comparisons of pay between metropolitan areas

This should come as a no surprise – your earnings from a job or occupation can vary significantly, even within the same country. Based on a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, your pay depends on where you live and work in America.

The variations are quite noticeable from city to city. For example, the average pay for a civilian workers in the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA metropolitan area was 20 percent above the national average in 2009.

This National Compensation Survey (NCS) study includes 77 different metropolitan areas. The chart below is a pictorial view of the pay relation for some of the cities across USA. In this survey, the term ‘pay’ includes all the wages, salaries, commissions, and production bonuses. Continue reading “Your pay depends on where you live in USA”

The Freedom – Happy Independence Day America

Freedom is a natural desire of any creature. Freedom is an emotion; it is a natural expression of a living thing to be unrestrained, to make its own path, to choose its own destiny. Animals or human – freedom is an expected lifestyle; anything short of freedom is a compromise that no one wants to make.

On 4th of July in 1776, America became a free nation, a free country. On this day today, on 4th of July, America celebrates the Independence Day. The day is a reminder of the sacrifices made and lives lost by so many brave souls. The day is a celebration of a nation’s glory and bravery that led to the independence from British Empire. Americans from all walks of life – of all colors – mark this holiday with parades, picnics, backyard barbecues and fireworks all over the country.

Freedom is a feeling beyond words. However, over the centuries, many have articulated this feeling beautifully. The following quotes highlight the emotion of freedom and its importance for any nation and for every living creature.

“Life without liberty is like a body without spirit.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

“Freedom is never dear at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?”
~ Mohandas Gandhi

“Free at last; free at last; thank God Almighty we are free at last.” ~ Martin Luther King

“The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.” ~Thomas Campbell Continue reading “The Freedom – Happy Independence Day America”

USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians II

This is a follow-up post on the previous article USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians.

You can always find an excuse for not responding to the census. But remember, the count is important to your own community. Don’t complain later, if/when your own community is short-handed on funding for a project that you always wanted, or your district lines are redrawn because of the population shift. A complete and accurate count of your community brings in larger chunk of government funds when allocations are calculated for public services.

Census is not new; it has been happening every ten years since 1790. The Census has a very far reaching impact on our statistics as a country and also for different races. For example, Census stats play a key role in genealogy research as well. Without the Census records you (or your grand-grand kids in the future) may not be able to trace your family roots. I know this may sound like a stretch, but are creating an official family history by participating. Continue reading “USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians II”

USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians

The Constitution of America requires that the U.S. Census count every resident in the United States, every 10 years.

Starting in March 2010, census forms are being delivered to every residence in the United States and Puerto Rico. Once you receive your form, you are supposed to answer the 10 short questions and then mail the form back in the postage-paid envelope that is included in the package. If you don’t mail the form back, you will likely receive a visit from a census taker, who will ask you the same questions from the form and will fill the form for you.

The questions are mainly related to the number of family members in the household, type of residence and. telephone number. Name, date of birth and race of each person is also part of the questionnaire. The information you provide is confidential and for the purpose of obtaining population statistics mainly. According to the Census, “Your answers cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.” Continue reading “USA Census 2010: Make yourself count as Asian Indians”

New immigrants’ guide to the United States of America

There are a variety of sites, advertisements and even misleading information about the resources available to a new immigrant in the United States of America. Some of them promise your skies and stars, while others cut and paste from the official website of USA Homeland Security.

Whenever in doubt, always go to the source of the information. The purpose of this article is not to spoon-feed you the guidelines and rules, but share the source of such information.

There is a comprehensive guide issued by the U.S. Government as an official publication. The guide is titled ‘Welcome to the United States: A Guide for New Immigrants, Washington, DC, Revised Edition’ and the information come straight from the horse’s mouth: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, .

This guide is a welcome document for new immigrants or for those who plan to migrate to USA in the near future. “Adjusting to your new life in the United States of America will take time. This guide contains basic information that will help you settle in the United States and find what you and your family need for everyday life. It also summarizes important information about your legal status and about agencies and organizations that provide documents or essential services you may need.” Continue reading “New immigrants’ guide to the United States of America”

Abroad, You never feel at Home

Yes, it happened; it was bound to happen. I ran out of ideas.
I ran out of ideas to write about. Not that my previous ideas were too special or too brilliant. Even the brilliant idea from last night – writing about a new-comer’s experiences – was very ordinary.

She is new student I recently ran into – my new idea. From her experiences in America, I was hoping to get some new material for my blog.

“So how do you like in America?” I asked eagerly, hoping for a long story.
“Ah, it’s not all that bad, just about the same as I expected,” Dismissively, she said in a monotone.
“So, what is it that you don’t like it here, or dislike the most,” I rephrased the question, hoping to get something more.
“It is not much different; about the same as I expected,”

She was not helping out.
I paused. It cannot be; it is a new country, a new place across the ocean.
“How about the language?” I pressed on.
“No, I speak English at home in Bangalore. I can speak many languages, but English is what we use the most.”
“Wow”, I did not know what else to say. In reality, I was more disappointed than surprised. Continue reading “Abroad, You never feel at Home”

Asian Women lead the US work force ranks

The highlights of Asian women in work force in USA

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a division of U.S. Department of Labor has published some very interesting facts on women in work force in USA. In a report titled ‘Women in the Labor Force’ (2009 Edition) a wide range of employment statistics are highlighted. This particular write-up, to match the interests of the main readers/visitors of the site, is focused on the statistics related to Asian women in USA.

Note that there are no separate official statistics available for only Indian-American women in this  detailed survey. So, Asian women’s category is the closest gauge in this case.

The highlights of women in work force in USA: With main focus on Asian women, here are some of the highlights. Continue reading “Asian Women lead the US work force ranks”

Online American visa application for Indians

US rolls out new online American visa application for Indians

USA has just introduced an online non-immigrant application for Indian nationals. This is to meet the increased demand for American Visas in India. The same online process is being rolled out in others countries as well, but with different launch dates.

The American Embassy released a statement outlining the initiative. As one can expect, the main purpose is to improve and speed-up the process as number of visa applications being filed continues to grow exponentially.

Starting January 19, 2010, the American Embassy and its consulates in India will introduce a new DS-160 form, which will be available online. Starting February 1, for all non-immigrant visa appointments, applicants will need to fill out an online form. The DS-160 Online, Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application, replaces current non-immigrant application form DS-156, and certain other related forms. Continue reading “Online American visa application for Indians”

Indian Beliefs or Perceptions of American and European Culture

India Abroad: Indian misconceptions or perceptions of the overseas culture

The Indian misconceptions or perceptions of the the cultures abroad are closely related to our way of thinking. It is human nature, we always try to understand everything in terms of our own culture. Everything we see, everything we observe, we see it through the lenses of our own experiences. When we look at the American or the European culture, most of the time, we are just comparing it with our Indian culture, our own beliefs. Our beliefs play a major role in how we see rest of the world.

Many of you may consider this as a redundant piece of information – nothing new. Yes, you are right. It is nothing new, but it is something – we still have these misunderstandings or notions that we should remind ourselves of; it is something that may help us with self awareness and as a result, may reduce our stereotype about foreign cultures.
So take this with a grain of salt. Some of these misconceptions may sound absurd, or may sound very true – depending on your personal outlook, depending on what you believe.

Here are some of the beliefs and notions that Indians have about the Western – American or European or Australian – culture.

Not Very Religious: It is very hard to compare one religion to another. For example, in some religions you are expected to pray multiple times a day while in some others, a daily prayer might do. The fact is every religion dictates its own rituals, its own guidelines. The religion is a very predominant part of the western society. the younger generation may be a bit less religious and more spititual. If you pass by any Church in America on a Sunday morning, they are jam-packed; you won’t find a place to park.

Drug Use and Similar Vices: Where do we start, may be with some Bollywood movies depicting or comparing western culture with desi culture. :)! We may be exaggerating a bit when we say that smoking and drug use is much more common in the Western countries. If you walk down the street of any major US city, you won’t find many smokers in public, just as an example. People are more health conscious now-a-days. The drug use is probably comparable to India. You are not going to find ganja smoking hippies (as shown in some Indian movies) on a corner of every American or European city streets. That was 70s, and the movie was ‘Purab or Paschim’! Continue reading “Indian Beliefs or Perceptions of American and European Culture”

25 Highest Paying Jobs and Occupations in America

25 Jobs and Occupations with the highest annual wages in America

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) program called ‘The Occupational Employment Statistics’ produces employment and wage estimates for national and state level occupations. Based on the latest data available, following are the highest paying jobs and occupations in America, along with the the median annual wages and a brief description of the occupation as provided by the US BLS.

Note that a highest paying job does not mean that it is in the highest demand.

1. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons (More than $166,400): Perform surgery on mouth, jaws, and related head and neck structure to execute difficult and multiple extractions of teeth, to remove tumors and other abnormal growths, to correct abnormal jaw relations by mandibular or maxillary revision, to prepare mouth for insertion of dental prosthesis, or to treat fractured jaws.

2. Orthodontists(More than $166,400): Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

3. Prosthodontists (More than $166,400) Construct oral prostheses to replace missing teeth and other oral structures to correct natural and acquired deformation of mouth and jaws, to restore and maintain oral function, such as chewing and speaking, and to improve appearance.

4. Physicians and surgeons (More than $166,400) : All physicians and surgeons not listed separately. This is general category for the physicians/doctors and surgeons, practice medicine and perform surgeries.

6. Chief executives ($158,560): Determine and formulate policies and provide the overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within the guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.

6. Dentists, general ($142,870): Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth. Continue reading “25 Highest Paying Jobs and Occupations in America”

Happy Winter Season! Hibernate and Celebrate!!

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
~ From “Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

The Mother Nature always has a way to show its artistic touch. The colorful autumn is followed by a white blanket of snow and the cold freeze of winter season that covers better part of the northern globe.

December 21 marks the official first day of winter season in America, when the day is the shortest and the night the longest. But the actual winter arrives much sooner. Look at the snow covered streets and the trees, ask the school crossing-guards in the early mornings, or watch the Canadian geese and European robins migrating to warmer territories,… Yes, the winter comes long before the calendar declares it so.

Snow Storms and Bone-chilling Cold
The better part of North America and Europe is painted white with fresh snow of December. The leafless trees, the rooftops, the roads, the frozen ponds..…everything is beatified with an accent of white touch. A calm, serene and frozen outdoor paying a respect to the supreme power of mother nature.

In the cold days of winter, the old and wise may prefer to take shelter from the fierce weather and hibernate indoors. However, the freezing temperatures and frost bites of the wintry chill are not enough to discourage the young ones who are busy with their own games. Making snowmen, sledding in the backyards, or starting a snowball fight with the next-door neighbors…… all part of the daily rituals of winter days.

As the temperatures dip, the wrath of cold is felt everywhere. A few minutes of direct exposure to the freezing outdoor can get you in some serious danger and health risk. A better part of America and Canada is often engulfed by snow-storms. Heavy snowfalls are a part of the norm, inches of accumulation every time. The treacherous weather creates havoc all over – the blizzards, the white-outs, the slippery roods, the snow covered walkways…..A taste of winter.

Well, you got the idea! Winter is not a friendly season when it comes to the outdoor life!!

Christmas and New Year Parties
Thanks god, all is not lost! The Christmas holidays and the celebrations are the heart-warming attraction of the winter. The music, the feasts, the gifts, the display of Christmas decorations including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe……. The Christmas festival is a welcome break from the freezing outdoors. The kids patiently wait for the Santa Claus to deliver their gifts and toys. Most of the schools and businesses close for Christmas holidays. Those who love shopping and gift giving, the winter is the best season. Starting with the Thanksgiving, the stores and shopping malls offer some of the best discounts and the best deals of the year. The Christmas is followed by the new-year’s festivities, where the nightlong parties are the norms. After all, winter is not all that bad if you look closer!

Winter Blues
Many poets and writers have symbolized the winter season as a ‘downer’ – when hope is scarce to find, when depression becomes contagious. In fact, many of you may recall, in ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’, it is always winter and never Christmas; C.S. Lewis used winter to suggest the absence of hope in that classic. So, it is not so uncommon to face the symptoms of ‘winter blues’ – the gloomy and depressed mood blamed on the harsh cold weather. Continue reading “Happy Winter Season! Hibernate and Celebrate!!”