JOB EXPECTATIONS BY JESSICA ZHANG (FREMONT, CA)
Photo by Nathan Jiang (New York City, NY)
The looming decision of which college to attend and major to pursue has prompted me to reflect on my formative years to find the underlying passion that will drive my future career choices. However, reminiscing about those innocuously carefree times has reminded me of one central and commonly repeated question. Adults all around me often ask, to some varying degree:
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN MEDICINE, ENGINEERING, LAW OR BUSINESS?
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Growing up, these were the only options ever presented to me, and I felt inclined to select one of the four and imagine my life as if I were one of my role models in these industries. These jobs weren’t presented simply because of a practical aspect, in terms of college-level education or pecuniary prospects. Rather, they were presented because every single prominent adult I conversed with on a familiar level worked in one of these professions. The society I grew up in respected these, and only these, career choices. To understand why my community of expatriates from Asia seeking educational and job opportunities consisted densely of these workers, there needs to be more historical context.
Employers also had to prove that hiring and sponsoring that immigrant wouldn’t take a job or chance away from a possible American and that those specific skills could only be fulfilled by recruiting talent from abroad.
In the long process of immigration to the United States, one can apply in four major ways: through a relative sponsor, with an employment offer, as a refugee, or by lottery. he most easily accessible way for people from Asia, where having familial connections isn’t the norm, is to apply for a highly technical job in those aforementioned professions.
Fields that had a shortage of college grads with the necessary skills, like computer science, sought workers from outside the United States. The dot-com boom, a period of heavy investment into Internet companies from 1995 to 2000, of Silicon Valley brought a massive influx of computer scientists and engineers from Asia.