114 How a job in the US came my way…
Three blogs rolled into one….
On my 30th birthday in 2010 I put up an emotional filled Facebook post that said I had enjoyed the 30 years and that whatever lay in store in the future was all a bonus. 2011 was a watershed year for me. While at a personal level there was a big blow early in the year, on the work front things began to take a dramatic turn for the better. Social networks play a major role in connecting people and it works wonders if you use it and not abuse it.
Two Public Relations firms were in talks with me to offer me a role in consulting sometime in March 2011. One was a new set up which was run by the former CEO of the company where I started my career and the other was Edelman India. I was open to change after June since I would complete two years at the company I was working with then.
Since Edelman was on the shortlist of the next place to work, I began following key Edelman executives globally on Twitter. I had noticed the President of Edelman Chicago active on Twitter and realized the gentleman was in his early fifties from his LinkedIn profile, which was something to regard. Chicago is a city I had come to admire after having visited it twice in 2010.
I had neither dreamt nor wished then, that I would work in this beautiful city. But I had begun to feel since 2008 that some international work exposure would be good since acquiring a foreign degree was very expensive – a crazy trade off, isn’t it? I was slated to be in Chicago in April 2011 and I had couple of hours of free time each of the three days I was going to spend there.
So on a Sunday afternoon (April 17th to be precise) I visited the Edelman website, found the email address of the President of Edelman Chicago and sent an introductory mail mentioning three things – (a) My tentative job offer from Edelman India (b) My interest to start off with Edelman Chicago and (c) That I do not want to relocate to the US permanently or takeaway a job that an American might very well deserve. I was stunned to see a response in four minutes flat and a meeting fixed for the following Tuesday evening. Unbelievable – that someone so senior took the trouble to respond to a stranger on a Sunday afternoon.
Not for nothing it is the Number 1 PR firm in the world. The 20 minute meeting went off smoothly and a few mails exchanged over the fortnight that ensued. The arrangement seemed to fit exactly with what they wanted to explore – Hire a bunch of PR professionals from emerging markets, train them in international PR practices and send them back to their home offices. It made absolute sense for all parties involved.
There was complete silence for almost three months barring couple of calls with HR in Chicago. I informed the MD of Edelman India of my adventurous interaction with Edelman’s Chicago President and he was amazed too. Towards the end of August I had given up hope and was thinking of either evaluating the Edelman India position or the other job offer I had OR continue with the job I was in, but relocate to Gurgaon because the management of the company I was with was based there and it made sense to work in the same office where the bosses sat than in a different location.
Then on August 24th I get a call from HR in Chicago saying they have a job offer for me, that I should join in 5 weeks and that the H1B visa application process would commence immediately. This was a shocker and very exciting news. The rest is History.
I was told by couple of people that I could be the first from India to be directly hired by a global PR firm in one of their US offices. There are instances of people getting transferred or finding a job while already in the US usually soon after graduating from an American University. My case was different – this was vindicated both, at the US consulate during my visa interview and at the immigration counter, when I landed at O’Hare International Airport on October 29th.