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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Coming to Canada - Part 4

(Continues from here)

Once my chances of getting a job at IBM went down the drain, I had to make up my mind: should I find a way to get to Saint John (after all, I knew some people there, even if it was by phone) or should I stay in Toronto and look for job there? I spoke with Gaby and we decided that it was better to stay in Toronto, first because the job market was bigger and secondly because our money was disappearing fast, due to the cost of the hotel and the rental car.

Somebody in Argentina had told me that there were many Job Fairs in this area, where many IT companies were coming, looking for people. I spent most of my days looking for an apartment, a job and places where I could eat for less money. I travelled Toronto from North to South and from East to West, but I couldn't get anybody to rent me an apartment, due to my lack of references. My job search was also going badly: nobody was calling me back or replying my e-mails, and I couldn't get any jobs that would at least bring some monetary relief while I continued looking for my opportunity. I remember applying for positions at places like Zeller's, Burger King, Dominion Supermarket and Tim Hortons. But nobody called me. I started to think that it was because they realized that I wasn't going to last long, but then I realized that that time of the year (November) was probably the most difficult, as many people who work on construction and similar areas during the summer were looking for something to get through the winter. My chances of getting a job were very little, and I began to feel depressed.

November came, and I went looking for a job to a Job fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. After having tried my luck in different booths, I found one that had a posting for which I qualified perfectly; let's say that it fit like a glove. The only problem was that it wasn't a Canadian company, but one based in Boston, Massachusetts. I applied anyway, and gave them my résumé; to my surprise, they wanted to interview me right away. I was even more surprised when they offered me a job right on the spot. I could not believe it: how come I had impressed them that much? I knew that it normally took two or three months for anybody to contact you back after a job interview, so that couldn't be normal. They offered me very good money, and they also assured me that my status in Canada wouldn't be in peril, as they would issue me an H1-B visa; since Boston is only three hours away from the border, I would be able to go to Canada every second or third week to maintain my landed immigrant status. That was a relief, but still we had many doubts; we had gone through all the paperwork and interviews in order to come to live and work in Canada, not USA.

We discussed this with Gaby, and evaluated pros and cons: the area was very expensive, but beautiful, and my job looked very attractive. At the same time, I was worried about putting my status in Canada at risk, but the truth was that our savings were decreasing dramatically. With more doubts than certainties, we decided that I would accept the offer, so I signed my contract on November 22nd. They promised that I would be working by January 2001. Even more, my contract had a clause saying that I would be evaluated for a raise in January 2002, after having worked for a year. I decided to go to Boston in December, to find a place to live; in the meantime, my brother offered me to stay with them until my visa was issued, which I thanked immensely. I called Gaby, and we started to get ready for our reunion; Gaby and the kids would arrive in New York on December 20th. We would spend Christmas and New Year together with my brother and his family, and then we would go to Boston. Was that the end of my Canadian dream?

(Continues here)

(Continúa desde aquí)

Una vez que mi posibilidad de trabajo en IBM Toronto fracasó, me vi en la disyuntiva de buscar la manera de irme a Saint John (donde después de todo conocía alguna gente aunque sea por teléfono) o quedarme en Toronto y buscar trabajo allí. Hablamos con Gaby y decidimos que era mejor buscar en Toronto, por un lado porque debería haber más oferta laboral, y por el otro porque ya mis ahorros estaban bajando de manera considerable, debido al costo del hotel y el automóvil que había alquilado.

Alguien en Argentina me comentó que aquí se hacían muchas ferias de trabajo (job fairs) en las que muchas empresas se juntaban a reclutar gente. Mis días pasaron buscando departamento, trabajo y lugares donde comer barato. Recorrí Toronto de norte a sur y de este a oeste, pero no podía conseguir quien me rentara un departamento debido a que yo no tenía referencias. Mi búsqueda de trabajo también iba mal: nadie me llamaba respondiendo a mis mails, y tampoco podía conseguir algo que me significara una entrada de dinero mientras esperaba por mi oportunidad. Recuerdo que apliqué por trabajos en lugares como Zeller's, Burger King, Supermercados Dominion y Tim Hortons. Pero nadie me respondió. Yo pensé que de alguna manera ellos se daban cuenta de que yo les iba a durar poco y no me llamaban, pero después también me di cuenta de que esa época del año (Noviembre) era tal vez la más difícil, ya que mucha gente que trabaja en la construcción y rubros similares comenzabana a quedarse sin trabajo y buscaban algo para poder 'pasar el invierno'. Mis chances de conseguir algo eran muy pocas y yo ya comenzaba a deprimirme.

Promediando Noviembre, hubo un Job Fair en el Metro Toronto Convention Centre y por supuesto, fui en búsqueda de trabajo. Después de probar suerte en distintos stands, encontré uno en el que ofrecían un trabajo para el que calificaba perfectamente, digamos que me caía como anillo al dedo. El único inconveniente era que la empresa no estaba en Canadá, sino en Boston, Massachusetts. De todas maneras, me presenté y entregué mi resumé; para mi sorpresa, me quisieron entrevistar ahí mismo. Mucho más sorprendido quedé cuando me ofrecieron trabajo ahí mismo. No podía creerlo: tanto los había impresionado? Yo sabía por lo general tardaban hasta dos o tres meses en responder luego de las entrevistas, así que eso no podía ser muy común. Me ofrecieron muy buen dinero, y me dijeron que por mi status en Canadá no me preocupara, porque ellos me tramitarían la visa H1-B y como Boston está a tres horas de la frontera, yo podría cruzar cada dos o tres semanas para mantener mi status de landed immigrant. Eso me tranquilizó un poco, pero igual tenía muchas dudas; yo había hecho los trámites y había venido para vivir y trabajar en Canadá, no en Estados Unidos.

Hablé largo y tendido con Gaby y evaluamos pros y contras: la zona de Boston era cara, pero muy linda, y mi trabajo muy atractivo. Al mismo tiempo, me preocupaba poner en riesgo mi status en Canadá, pero lo cierto era que nuestros ahorros estaban bajando muchísimo. Con más dudas que certezas, decidimos aceptar la oferta y firmé mi contrato el 22 de Noviembre. Ellos me prometieron que para principios de 2001 yo ya estaría trabajando. Es más, en mi contrato especificaban que iba a ser evaluado para un aumento de sueldo en Enero de 2002, al cumplir un año en la compañía. Decidí ir a Boston a buscar un lugar para vivir en Diciembre; mientras tanto, mi hermano me ofreció quedarme en su casa hasta que saliera mi visa, lo que agradecí infinitamente. Llamé a Gaby, y ya comenzamos a prepararnos para nuestra reunión; Gaby y los chicos vendrían a New York el 20 de Diciembre. Pasaríamos las fiestas con mi hermano, y luego nos iríamos a Boston. Se terminaba mi sueño canadiense?

(Continúa aquí)

6 comments:

  1. Yo quiero hacer la película de los Almada.

    Richard Gere hace de Gabriel, Jennifer Aniston de Gabriela, y para los chicos agarramos al de mi pobre angelito, el de Harry Potter y un par más. Dirección de Franklin Caicedo y Pino Solanas. Guión de Nicolás del Boca (como para que la gente llore bien).

    La estrenamos en el Paris de Necochea.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jua! Más que Richard Gere, yo elegiría a Jorge Lanata para que hiciera de mí, no viste que somos iguales?

    Ahora, si Jennifer Aniston va a hacer de Gaby, entonces voy a verme forzado a actuar haciendo de mí mismo en la película.

    Perdón, se me cae la baba.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Macjo, asi no vamos a vender nada!

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  4. This is so exciting.
    Your life is like something out of a movie..
    I think that sometimes we (Canadians) forget how good we have it so many different ways. Reading your story reminds me again of how wonderful Canada really is.
    I'm so glad that you ended up here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Me too, Biddie, me too...

    Guille said in a comment about Post #3 that this looked like those comedies of errors, but the difference is that it all happened, and we were having very little fun.

    Not only Canadians don't realize how great of a country this is, I think that sometimes we immigrants idealize this whole process. People seem to believe that you come to Canada, and Stephen Harper and Tie Domi will be waiting for you at Pearson, one holding the key of your new house, and the other one with a job contract and a pen. The truth is that this is a brutal process most of the times, and that's why I get so mad when people back home say things like "Oh, you must be shovelling money in now; you really did it well, eh?".

    Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really difficult.

    Let me guess, the dot.com crash was about to happen.

    All IT professionals were about to hit the iceberg (me included).

    When I arrived to Canada in 2002 there were very few jobs for us.

    Regards
    Arturo
    ¿Cómo es CANADA?

    ReplyDelete

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