Relocation to another country requires that we rebuild our lives from zero. Zero is akin to a blank slate. Everything new that we are to write on it must conform to local standards and norms. But, can experienced international professionals restart from zero, only because their experience is not recognized in the new setting? Relocation comes with a cost and an immense responsibility. You need to acknowledge this not as a reflection of your worth but an opportunity to experiment and explore.
What Canada has given me, education-wise
I have over six years of full-time experience as a professional writer of media communication in India. I hold two educational credentials from Canada and one from India. Canada has given me many opportunities to expand my skills, and the chance to test myself in unexpected territories and professions.
While I explored new professions, I found it difficult to enter my intended field of work. Not only is it guarded by tight requirements; it is also difficult to build trust with most employers since I am not a native English speaker. While I don’t come with any ‘formal training’ as required in my field, I do have the experience to back my skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, that’s not recognized here.
Finding a job in Canada after graduation
The odds in my job search are mind-boggling. Despite being exposed to local culture and systems, my search for it has lurked amid petty reasoning and rationale. According to the editor of a famous publishing house I met, both my profession and experience are ‘niche’ and hard to attain out here. Add to it the common assumption of employers that my lack of Canadian work experience renders me inept for the role.
At times, repeated callousness of and lacklustre response from many employers cost me some good opportunities. Plus, the outlook of many to procure free work on the pretext of offering exposure has hit me hard. Initially I had refused, but eventually, have had to succumb to this idea to get any further.
Building my own personal brand
Lost in this chicken or egg professional rut, I decided to move my focus from ‘finding’ a full-time job to ‘building’ myself on my terms as an experienced local professional. Of the many tight requirements to enter my field, I’ve managed to meet a few, such as build a portfolio and get published locally.
After revamping my blog both content-wise and aesthetically, I presented to employers my personal space that is alive and vocal. I approached organizations’ editors/senior staff members as well with my work. After a constant chase, I found myself some space.
Currently, I contribute articles to a few local and international websites where I’m able to reach a million readers. Being a freelancer gives the freedom to experiment with a variety of assignments, which otherwise may be difficult to gain at a committed work setting. Freelancing also always keeps one on the toes to remain marketable and visible. When I am not writing for someone else, I write for me. That is my way to stay connected with my passion.
The not-so-rosy part
That was the rosy part. Building oneself as a brand is no cake-walk, and to be able to get into the market one must be generous with ideas and words, and be willing to chase. Many editors take a dozen emails before responding with, ‘I will keep you on my list’.
Demotivation and doubt linger and can be taxing on someone without any solid footing. There is little remuneration for my assignments, and the only reason for me to contribute articles is to expand my portfolio. Nothing gratifies a professional writer as much as to see their work find its own place in the world. While I contribute to a few online publications and have been able to build a Canadian portfolio; my words have yet to earn me my bread.
I am on my way to build a local portfolio that can outweigh my non-Canadian writing experience. My area of work touches upon local culture from a perspective that’s certainly not local. That I believe is an advantage.
Where I’m at now
I now have over a dozen articles published in Canada. A leading English language daily recently offered me a chance to write for them.
Had I given up initially after a lacklustre response from several employers, I would have not only demotivated myself, my experience and skills would have become obsolete too.
Like many workers relocating to a new country, I too had decided to move to Canada to re-establish myself as a more versatile professional. It was natural then to expect that my work experience would land me at a decent, if not an equal footing in a new country. That never unfolded the way I thought, in fact, I’ve struggled much more as an experienced professional than as a fresher.
But, this experience has compelled me to think different and free. The one way I know of continuing on the road I’ve taken is to sometimes give in to the odds because some will teach us to take a new road to our goal.