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Shamus

DV-2019

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My timeline was the same as yours, with my interview completed in June 2005 We arrived in Los Angeles in November 2005 went to Social Security the next day after arrival only to find that it would take 3-- 4 Weeks to get our SSN numbers. That was a shock as you needed an SSN number for everything.  So we stayed in the USA for a week and then went back home to Cape Town for 3.5 months. I enjoyed the summer weather, and this time Landed in Boston MA where I got my job with the TSA very quickly as My SSN number had been issued while I was away. While in Cape Town I could then go online and upload my resume on all the sites possible, and that's how I got a recruiter to contact me. I also used a contact address in the USA so my resume looked more American. While I was out here in my first week in November I bought a cell phone so I had a US phone number. As I had no credit score I could only get a pay as you go phone, but it worked out ok.

You will just need to have a lot of patience and not let anything get you down, as there will be many times that you will feel like packing up and heading back home. At one stage we had booked tickets back home again but decided to stay it was also then that I got my first well paying job in Washington DC which included a sign-on bonus of $10,000 and a furnished apartment for four months fully paid for by my new company.    

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On 7/31/2019 at 2:52 PM, Kallas said:

Going slowly [at]FranetteM... I'm doing as much networking as I can at the moment. Seems companies are reluctant to consider applications further, given that I'm currently in a different country. I guess it's going to help if I go through a recruiting agency, since they could then have this conversation with the potential employer. My plan B is to take the leap, resign from my current job and fly over to go for interviews etc... But I'd like to avoid this as far as possible.

Good luck Kallas! I saw some advertisements for jobs where it specifically say you need to apply directly with the company and not go through a recruiter. It seems like it works quite differently in the States (as SJ272 mentioned) than here in SA. I think it probably has to do with the low unemployment rate...

Does anyone have advice for me please? My husband is currently the breadwinner, but I'm eager to get back my financial independence (long story, but I basically lost my previous well paid job as a Business Analyst, because of whistleblowing my boss (he was found guilty by forensic auditors, but got away with a final written warning)). I have a lot of experience and qualifications to do with the Financial Services Industry, but would prefer not to work in that environment again. Although I would if I had to. So since then I have started my own business in the Tourism Industry, but at the moment not marketing it, as it is not worthwile from where I'm currently staying. The business is still in operation though. I also took up studying as a Life and Relationship Coach and am waiting for the results of my exam.

My ultimate goal is to have a few income streams, generating a decent income in total. So, I have a few options when we move to the States:

 I can keep my business here in SA and try and market it in the USA - like customised tours for people visiting Cape Town (i.e. Tour Packages including airport transfers, accommodation, Cape Point Tours, Wine Tours, etc.) and/or

I can start my own Coaching business in the USA (which I want to do anyway eventually), but how easy/difficult is it to get your own company going over there? It is quite difficult in SA, especially with finance and marketing. It seems like all the big guys are raking in the clients (even when I think they completely overcharge for their services) and it is virtually impossible to get a business loan here.

My other option is to try and find 'corporate' employment as a coach - I have seen quite a few positions that I would be interested in on Indeed and some of these are even remote positions and/or contract positions which would probably be ideal. I'm also not adverse to working at the local take-out if it helps to pay the bills.

Edited by FranetteM

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Just to answer a part of your post.

I very seldom see a Travel Agency business here unlike SA where there are multiple Travel agents in shopping centers. Most people do online travel arrangements from flights to accommodation. The cruise line business is very big here. Americans prefer not to have to pay Travel agents commission.

Regarding finding work as a corporate employment coach. You may have a snag trying to be a trainer with a heavy South African Accent. Not saying you have one but it could be a stumbling block. Americans get confused when we speak and interpret what has been said in the wrong way. In the office environment what I found works is to speak much slower. 

You know where there is a lot of money to be maid about $15,000 a month is to be a Caregiver.  I know one that works 24/7 earning $180,000.00 a year looking after a lady with Parkinson's disease.. All she does is ensuring RX is taken every 6 hours and takes the old lady shopping and to restaurants hairdressers etc. Most of the time she is just sitting watching TV.  The old lady is worth about $10 million and has a large house that she will never sell.     

  

Edited by oscar

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10 hours ago, Kallas said:

Thanks [at]SJ272 and [at]oscar for your valuable inputs. Another timing challenge is that we have to be in the States before the first week in December (expiry of our visas). So if I don't come right with a job from this side, I'll inevitably have to go across, and then it may be worth the while that I then stay there and continue the job hunt. If the SSN is also a hurdle in getting a job, this means I'd anyways first hand to land in the US to "activate" our immigrant visas. Will keep the group posted in case anyone finds it useful.

It normally takes about a week and a half for SS cards to arrive these days, they send them much faster than the green cards because you need them not only for jobs (that’s only when you start a job btw - you never give it to anyone before), but also driver licenses, and some banks for opening accounts. So, also know that December itself does tend to be slow, many places are quite dead the last two weeks of December with winter breaks, Xmas etc.  I’d say...land, plan to spend a month or two exploring and getting all your admin done, while looking for jobs and interviewing. 

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6 hours ago, FranetteM said:

Good luck Kallas! I saw some advertisements for jobs where it specifically say you need to apply directly with the company and not go through a recruiter. It seems like it works quite differently in the States (as SJ272 mentioned) than here in SA. I think it probably has to do with the low unemployment rate...

Does anyone have advice for me please? My husband is currently the breadwinner, but I'm eager to get back my financial independence (long story, but I basically lost my previous well paid job as a Business Analyst, because of whistleblowing my boss (he was found guilty by forensic auditors, but got away with a final written warning)). I have a lot of experience and qualifications to do with the Financial Services Industry, but would prefer not to work in that environment again. Although I would if I had to. So since then I have started my own business in the Tourism Industry, but at the moment not marketing it, as it is not worthwile from where I'm currently staying. The business is still in operation though. I also took up studying as a Life and Relationship Coach and am waiting for the results of my exam.

My ultimate goal is to have a few income streams, generating a decent income in total. So, I have a few options when we move to the States:

 I can keep my business here in SA and try and market it in the USA - like customised tours for people visiting Cape Town (i.e. Tour Packages including airport transfers, accommodation, Cape Point Tours, Wine Tours, etc.) and/or

I can start my own Coaching business in the USA (which I want to do anyway eventually), but how easy/difficult is it to get your own company going over there? It is quite difficult in SA, especially with finance and marketing. It seems like all the big guys are raking in the clients (even when I think they completely overcharge for their services) and it is virtually impossible to get a business loan here.

My other option is to try and find 'corporate' employment as a coach - I have seen quite a few positions that I would be interested in on Indeed and some of these are even remote positions and/or contract positions which would probably be ideal. I'm also not adverse to working at the local take-out if it helps to pay the bills.

We do get flyers for companies that tailor make tours to both S.A. and other African countries, so the good news is there seems to be a market for that, the bad news is that there is already competition ...your target market is the wealthier population, like Oscar said you can’t compete if it’s a service people can do easily online. But custom tours are different to just booking airfare and hotel.

I would definitely explore the corporate coaching options if I were you. One thing to be wary of with contract positions, is that they generally have no benefits. Make sure at least one of you has a job that provides healthcare insurance, because it gets stupid expensive if you’re doing it individually.  Also bear in mind that working for yourself you pay the self employment tax, basically the social security and Medicare contributions, it can work out to quite a chunk - 15% and that’s over and above normal tax. https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/self-employment-tax-social-security-and-medicare-taxes 

I think you’d also network much more and easier working in a company, and that’s better long term for your work imo.

Edited by SJ272

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Let me give an example why many companies say no recruiters: I had 4 different ones contact me about the same position - which I’d already seen advertised and decided against applying. It seems to me a lot of these guys are not retained by companies by like in SA, they just search the listings and then trawl LinkedIn hoping to get lucky, it also means they are not particularly invested in either the candidate or the company. So I’d limit it to the big recruiting companies like Oscar linked to, but bear in mind also a lot of companies just do the searches themselves. None of the companies my husband has worked at - 3 very big ones, two of which are international - use recruiters at all.

Edited by SJ272

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Agree also some companies even the large ones loathe paying recruiters the big commissions for recruiting new hires.  Many companies are on the internet and they do list positions, so you can upload your resume and hope for an interview. I suggest you only do that once you are living in the USA. 

Employers also tend to call the companies you worked for in the past five years so provide the correct phone numbers of the companies HR department and of your managers in SA that will put a good word in for you. 

Edited by oscar

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I think like with travel agents, the Internet has taken the place of a lot of recruiting  business. Millions of candidates are on LinkedIn, zip recruiter, etc that HR departments can zero in on exactly what they’re looking for, whereas recruiters often do a “spray and pray” approach of tossing everything in hoping something works, or like the ones I mentioned above who send unsolicited resumes to companies advertising publicly.

We used a recruiter at the company I worked for back in SA and I still don’t know why, they never did anything we couldn’t have done for ourselves imo. And almost all the senior hires were never advertised but interviewed through networking, of course the market in SA is much, much smaller so that’s easier.

 

Edited by SJ272
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Thank you [at]oscar and [at]SJ272 for your valuable input. It gives me a lot to think about.

So, regarding benefits - if my husband is employed with benefits, does it mean that I can latch onto that for medical (like in SA)?

Yes, Oscar, I get your point regarding the accent. I didn't think of that before, but I can imagine how that may be a problem. I'm actually practicing my American English, also need to be aware of the different words that can make a huge difference, for example we went to Hershey Park with American friends and I was saying how long the "Q's" were and just got blank stares 😂 Only realised later that they talk about a "line" and not a "Q". Can't anticipate everything though, will have to learn as we go along.

Regarding the tours - my idea is not to open a travel agency per se. Like SJS272 said - it's more about getting a group of people travelling together that doesn't want to bother with self drive. For example, I used to have clients from Canada that visited SA once a year and they would book my tour bus upfront for about a week. So I'll do all the driving. Airport transfers, daily excursions wherever they wanted to go, Dinner transfers, Tours, etc. Yes, they were wealthy, but what people don't realize, is that if you're a group and you split the costs, it is not so expensive per person and better to hire a bus with a driver than to rent 2 or 3 cars and then they have to drive on the 'wrong' side of the road as well. Also, the way it works is that the clients don't pay me any commission - I negotiate better rates with my network partners. The clients don't pay extra than what they would have if they have booked online. In many cases, I can actually reduce the cost for them and they get the benefit of having a tailor made tour. The 'challenge' here for me was that wealthy clients actually don't really care about the cost (especially if they earn $), and trying to convince people that they can actually save money doing it this way without it being a scam is really tricky to market.

 

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Good Morning Franette !  its Summer fun Friday so I'm feeling great ( During the summer months we only work half days on Friday  8-12) this only applies to the months of July and August. Summer Fun Days are not offered by many companies, but its catching on as more companies transition to casual Fridays. You also don't get much vacation time here so any bit of extra time is a huge gift.

If your husband gets a job with benefits you certainly can be added to his health insurance together with any siblings. It works both ways if you were to be the sole income earner your husband and siblings could go on your insurance.

I'm sure you could eventually become a trainer but give it a few years to learn the local lingo. We need to find out who Charlize Theron's voice coach was. She perfected it but does slip occasionally. and get some lessons. When I speak to family in SA They say what's with the phony language. Interestingly people in the office have commented when I go back to SA on vacation and get back in the office after three weeks, they say I sound more South African again, something that I did not notice. What I do notice when I get back I always tend to get into the wrong side of the car.

When writing letters I suggest you add Grammarly to your computer it helps with writing in American. 

 

Edited by oscar
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^ I think summer Friday’s are catching on more and more. At my husband’s previous company, they had them all the way from Memorial Day to Labor Day! It’s also a lot more accepted to do work from home here, at least in the Bay Area. Many companies officially have wfh Fridays. 

Friend of mine lectures at a local university (came here on a work visa to do so, so jumped right in) and also had a bit of a learning curve with words. I don’t think it’s that critical that you need to wait a few years, but getting a voice coach actually is a good idea if you want to do something like that. 

The other thing is to pronounce your Rs - like in water, forty, over etc where saffers tend to pronounce as though it’s silent/h! Otherwise you may get blank stares! Also, at a supermarket, they won’t know what you mean if you say trolley - it’s a cart!  Lots of these little ones to learn. You can usually figure out what other people mean, but they can’t always figure out what you mean!

Edited by SJ272
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I have found that people really enjoy a different accent - and in all of my work environments, there has been not just acceptance of it, but appreciation.  Diversity is highly valued in most US workforces - companies have a big focus on it.  I once presented to a group along with some of my colleauges (who famously gave me an English>American dictionary as a joke gift), and said something like 'nought to 100' instead of 'zero to 100' - and I saw my colleagues crack up.  I later asked them whether I should focus on using the US lingo - and they all said 'NO' - they all understood what I meant, and it was refreshing to hear things differently.

That said, I have changed much of my vocab (post has become mail, queue has become line, lift has become elevator and so on) just because that is what you hear all around.  Subtle changes to accent too - as SJ272 says, with the 'Rs'.  Don't however, try and cultivate an American accent - it will come off as phony - and is totally unnecessary.  

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When I tell my secretary at lunchtime that I'm:" going out to the shops"... she cracks up and finds it hysterical.

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27 minutes ago, oscar said:

When I tell my secretary at lunchtime that I'm:" going out to the shops"... she cracks up and finds it hysterical.

And don’t tell your workmates you’ll meet them in the “canteen”...it’s the cafeteria. The canteen is what you drink from ;)

 

 

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