It’s been four weeks to the tee – my last day of work.
I told myself that I would write this entry sooner. I even drafted bits of it here and there, but none of it ever seemed to stick. The intent of sitting down and writing this – an explanation of sorts – was very much there; I just wasn’t. You see, as much as the truth existed, I wasn’t quite ready to face it, and to a certain degree, I’m still not.
You hear the stories about those that make it in America, or the people that are “making it work,” but then you are quick to realize that they are all exceptions, especially when you want to work in a creative field. Somehow, there’s a loophole that has existed for them to be here or simply pure darn luck.
So what happened?
This year, the H-1B visa went into lottery mode for the first time in five years with a whopping 124 000 applicants. Out of all those applicants,about 40 000 others stood to lose with me (65 000 are granted to the general, 20 000 are granted to those with advanced degrees [e.g. MA, MS, MBA, PhD], and more are granted to citizens of Chile and Singapore).
The officials call it a lottery, but it seems to be more of a game of Russian roulette. The proverbial empty chambers signified that you were safe, with a newly minted H-1B status in tow in lieu of joke pop-out flag; however, it is the filled chambers that symbolize so much more – especially if you’re currently working in the States – your life is being blown apart. There was no empty click for me. When something of that magnitude hits you so closely, you don’t feel the immediate impact; the residual pain lodges itself within as you simply shift gears into a survival mode of sorts, stumbling around in shock.
The immediate thoughts rush to mind, “I lost my job. I don’t have plans anymore. I am living a ticking time bomb.”
Then you wonder about everyone else. Did they make it? Yes, they all did – everyone but you.
But maybe it isn’t so bad when you take your eye off the microscope and look at it in plain view. One of my colleagues who was also in the lottery has a husband and two kids, which makes you wonder what would happen if she didn’t win? I have much wider range of choices, especially at my age, so I suppose and believe that it was better her than me who “won.” After all, I don’t think James Joyce intended his words in Finnegan’s Wake to be applicable to more than one person, “fall if you will, but rise you must.”
Of everything that I am learning, the most important lesson isn’t the amount of immigration law that I can recite backwards and forwards, but rather, the simplicity and hardship of resilience.
As a footnote, from the immigration front, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an increase in available H-1Bs from 65 000 to 110 000 for next year.
Image credit: Flickr (user: The Reboot)