What not to be afraid of in the USA: advice to new immigrants
The other day, I celebrated 9 years of my life in America - a long way that I had to go from a girl from the Urals who first arrived in the United States on a temporary visa to an American expert in the field of foreign policy. It was a difficult path, with its own mistakes and difficulties, and I by no means claim to be universal.
Moreover, the experience of communicating with a wide variety of immigrants shows that each fate is unique, and even the same country can open up in relation to people from various sides. Something depends on the initial situation of the immigrant, something - on banal luck, a lot - on personal work, but one of the important components of success, which manifests itself in a variety of stories, is the absence of fear. In immigration, it is important not to withdraw into yourself, to try, not to give up, to learn new things and at the same time not to devalue what you already have. Based on the past nine years, I will try to outline not advice, but some general touches that can help those who have recently arrived in the United States.
1. Don't be afraid of bureaucracy and procedures. Many immigrants from the post-Soviet space can be annoyed by the abundance of rules and procedures established not only in relations with the state, but also with the most ordinary, private employer. How to apply, how to write a resume, how to get a job, what criteria you need to meet - for almost every step in this country there are samples, recommendations and examples, following which, although not mandatory, is desirable. Companies also have internal rules that often define not only work, but also business etiquette.
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For “our” people, such a formalization of relations often seems superfluous. There is a feeling that any problem is easiest to solve “informally”, and it is much easier to “agree” than to follow boring and faceless rules. However, for all the bulkiness and coldness of such a system, it can serve as a reliable defense, at least at first.
The fact is that America is a country in which discrimination is prohibited at the legislative level. However, it is not so easy to ensure its absence in practice. Procedures are good in that they are the same for everyone and, as a rule, are quite transparent. The terms of the contract, the business ethics of a particular company, the procedures for hiring and evaluation of its performance set the standards that both Americans and people from any country in the world must follow. Conversely, if you try to circumvent such rules, you may be suspected of trying to cover up any violations. It is equally worthwhile to beware of attempts to establish "informal business relations" by the Americans, since they may hide trick.
2. At the same time do not be afraid of originality. Once upon a time, America was created by rebels and innovators, and even today it has not completely lost this spirit. New ideas are the engine of business, and therefore they are almost always welcome in the US. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that Americans are primarily pragmatists, and it is important for them to show what practical result your proposals bring. Clear business plans here will always be preferable to mere dreams, and before proposing new solutions in any area, it is better to study it thoroughly.
But be that as it may, the ability to think outside the box, as a rule, is welcome in the United States. This applies not only to the ideas of original startups, but even such seemingly banal things as getting a job. Of course, following the procedures and recommendations, as noted above, is an element that should not be neglected. However, nothing prevents you from supplementing it with your own "zest".
For example, you can offer some new approaches and solutions at the interview or share a unique experience that you think may be useful to a new employer. To do this, it is best to carefully study the priorities and goals of the company in which you hope to get a job from the very beginning, and try to ensure that your offers or experience “fall into the stream”. In any case, feel free to talk about your achievements and learn how to present them. Practice shows that sometimes concrete results of work can even outweigh is the absence of a "classic" resume. In addition, the manifestation of initiative in the United States is regarded as a sign of leadership qualities, which is considered an absolute plus.
3. Don't be afraid to admit your mistakes. But do not go to the other extreme and praise yourself too much. Immigrants from the post-Soviet space, as a rule, know the common truth that in America you need to be able to advertise yourself, and excessive modesty is considered a disadvantage. However, there is still quite a difference between healthy self-confidence and sick conceit, even by US standards. One of the important criteria for a person's employment is his ability to be a "team player", which means the ability to admit his mistakes and be tolerant of criticism.
In addition, Americans are well aware that there are no people without flaws, and therefore, if they ask about them, they want to hear not the story of your boundless perfection, but how you deal with problems, and what you see as a development vector for yourself. . It is perfectly acceptable to mention those virtues that are the flip side of your shortcomings.
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4. Don't be afraid to learn. Yes, a good education in the US is quite expensive, which is why many immigrants decide that they cannot afford it. However, Americans are always trying to learn: in the process of work, in online courses, through self-education, in various continuing education schools, and so on. It is considered honorable to study here at any age, and each new certificate received, even for passing a small course, will add to the list of your merits. And most importantly, it will show your desire for development, which is very much appreciated in the USA.
5. And finally: don't be afraid to be yourself. Of course, in the United States, there are rules of political correctness, and lovers of sharp jokes will have to limit their passion for ridicule, especially based on nationality or culture. However, in general, Americans are kind to someone else's individuality. It is not customary here to laugh at unusual hobbies or discuss someone else's personal life. Your peculiarities are likely to be treated with interest and respect here, and openness is encouraged as courage. With all the nuances of the local culture, Americans are for the most part friendly and will be happy with your success.
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