Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Chapters from an Immigrant's life, Part XVI. Career Path

In 1997, I finished my Bsc degree in chemical engineering and decided that this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. It took me a while to land a job, and I started at $10/hr working part time. Eventually, I got the full time position. My first job was as a research assistant at a big company. I was eager to learn more and more trying to impress my manager as well as expand my knowledge. I jumped from a lab to another, and that helped me greatly. In 2000, there was the first layoff that hit the company and they laid off many engineers and scientists. I survived this wave due to the fact that I was versatile enough to fit in any position or field, so it did pay back.

I had a colleague who believed in me, and I needed someone to do so. I needed the support, any way I can get it. He persuaded me to start publishing. My first publication was actually a midterm paper in one of my elective classes that the college of arts decided to place it in the library, after having me edit it further, specifically, in the English language and grammar. I had (and am still having) rough time with control on the English language. But my first real publication was in 1999, and was my masters thesis. It was presented in a conference called “PICMET” that took place in Oregon, USA. It was about a japaneese operation management technique that I thought could be implemented in the chemical industry. I had rough time presenting it, for it was my first time in front of audience who had lots of question about such new technique to the chemical industry. It went alright although I looked sweating and scared of the crowd. It was like a nightmare that went by real quickly.

Then in 2000, I published another technical paper in a conference in Florida, and followed that with two more in the following 2 years, in NY and in Houston. The work is published in the ANTEC conference proceedings. I also had the honor to participate in writing a chapter in a chemical handbook. I stopped for a couple of years before publishing my last paper in Chicago in 2005. That was just before the second wave of layoffs hit the company. This time I was told that I was out of a job. I took that the wrong way for now I am not alone. I have a family with me. This was in 8/24/2005. So I walked back to my disk knowing that I have till 11/1/2005 to finish up my work and clear my office. On 8/26/05, another manager in another department in the company came rushing to my office asking if I accepted any other jobs yet. I said I didn’t even start looking. That’s when he told me not to look. 2 hours later, he walked in with an HR person and offered me a job in the same office I am in and in the same field I am in. The offer was the same salary and benefits, but I was honestly hurt why my company would do that to me. I declined and he quickly raised the offer significantly. That’s when I decided to take it on the spot. To this day, my wife doesn’t know I was laid off for 2 days. Didn’t want to bother her with such problem. Or maybe my pride or ego prevented me from telling her.

I was still hurt inside me. Early January, I decided to post my resume on Monsters.com. I got offers from companies for interviews but declined because I wanted to get a better job. One company called me and asked me to just and interview, still didn’t like the location (it was in Pittsburgh). Late January, I got a call from a big customers of my current employer who wanted to meet me. I paused for 10 seconds and said sure. I know the company, and I know how strong it is. I also wanted to get out of my current work for I had no trust in them no more. They did indicate to me that they cleared it with their legal department that they can talk to me, for they had an agreement not to pursue employees of the current employer, some kind of a deal part of a package between the two companies. So they flew me to Indianapolis for the first interview. I could tell that they liked me because there was no interview. It was a lunch gathering with some engineers. On my way home, my manager told me in the airport that he already made the decision and that he feels strong about me, but nothing firm yet. I told my wife that things are going ok.

This is going to be embarrassing to tell. They gave me few papers to fill and send to them. I actually forgot about the papers. My wife was eager to know why these guys didn’t call me again. 2 weeks later, I got the same call from the HR in indianapolise asking about the papers. I laughed but decided to lie. I told her that I’m sending it in mail this evening. I went home rushing and filled the papers and sent it to them. I knew that it’s a done deal. A week goes by and I get another call from the HR wanting to fly me again for a lunch with some guy who is coming from wales, England and a guy from headquarters in KY. So I flew there to have lunch with these guys, and it was fun. My manager tells me to talk to HR about what I would like to see in the offer, but I told him that this awkward. There is no offer on the table and usually, a company makes the offer and the candidate counters back. Anyway, I told the HR person what I would like to see in the offer.

3 days later, I got the offer over the phone, and it was more than I specified to her. I asked for a week to think about it, and I did. I accepted the offer as is, but asked for an extension stay for 5 months in a hotel while I sell my house and buy the new one. I was given that on the spot. I then went to my manager in the current work, and told him that I’m leaving. He wasn’t too happy for he wanted me have asked him before accepting the offer. I didn’t want to play the bargin game and I also wanted out from ohio.

4/2/2006, I moved to an Indianapolis hotel, and started my new career path. It was a Monday. On Thursday of the same week, I was told by my manager to travel to one of our plants for they are in need of some help, and I did. The plant was happy and sent great feed back to my manager. That opened up the door on other plants to seek me to go to them, and I did. I started making great friends, and enemies who were threatened by my progress. I was worried more about my family that I left behind, and fly to every 2 weeks to spend a day or two with them.

From 4/2 to 8/1, I lived in a hotel room bonded by 4 walls. That’s when I started reflecting more on my present and future. I was always thinking about my family. No matter what I did, their memories were always in my mind. I was counting the days till I meet with them again and get life back on track. Finally, it happened and they moved in Indianapolis on 8/1/05 in a furnished apartment with me. We then closed the deal on the house 2 weeks later, and moved in our new home.

Although I love my new career, and the things I am accomplishing, but this job requires travel constantly. From the time I bought my home, till today (10/31/06), I spent more nights traveling than being with my family. I have to do this to establish my presence in the current job. I guess we all have to make sacrifice for the best for our families. Beside, I enjoy traveling for I get to meet nice looking waitresses on the road, not that I would do anything, but I just love them college girls who work hard in restaurants to make a living and go to college. It reminded me with myself back in the days, although I am pretty sure I am a boy not a girl. Heck, I even know them by names and their life stories.

If I look back 10 years ago, I would have never imagined myself being where I am now. Never would even thought about where I am now. But I guess hope and luck has been good with me recently. No..not luck, but destiny. I love my new career, and I love the challenges. I also love the fact that my life turned around totally the opposite, and that was good for me. Maybe I wish I have done that earlier, but what the heck, life is good now, so why bother with when that decisive moment in my life occurred.


Haytham said...

Good luck man and wish you all the best.

Life is hope so if you lost your hope you will lose your life!

You really reminded me when I first graduated from University, and started to look for a job 8 years ago, when I felt that I will never get the chance to become a senior level person, but when I worked hard and proved that I really have something others maybe don’t have, I almost got what I thought it was a dream, now I’m trying to move on and accept a new challenge and enshalah alaah will help me achieve what I really want.

Good luck and all the best

Anonymous said...

congrats. man I think you even deserve more than that, hard work pays after all.

Summer said...

Amjad, and you live happily ever after now?? i am sure you do!
it takes a lot of sacrifice to build your career...it will pay off later in life. we went through the same thing as a family, my husband would travel (Internationally) all week long and comes home on the weekend for nine years straight..it was ok since i was very busy with our three little kids back then, but now he is ahead in his career and thankfully he is doing very well. Now i get to travel with him when he does, and i blog all day long!! it takes a lot of hard work to get where you want to be. best of luck..
does this mean that we will never read more real life stories from you?? come one..you got me hooked to reading your blog..yalla waiting for more.

Bo3Bo3 said...

LOOOL the remaining stories are embarrassing to tell, but heck, I ain't got nothing to lose, so yes, I'm not done with chapters yet. :-)

No_Angel said...

LOL Bloody Indy and the hick midwest !
am glad to hear that you like that place !
(coming from a person that high tailed from there as soon as he could :) )

and thnx for all the stories they have been very nostalgic to me !