Sometimes its who you know, not what you know

I have been in the USA for eight months now and I have finally started to settle in, well kind of.  I have a job, an income, an apartment in a cute Chicago neighborhood and a few new friends, but it is still hard being away from home.  It’s something that I ALWAYS have on my mind.  I have to remember it is a mind game, something I prepared for (see my post on How I Prepared to Move Overseas).  Despite that, I am loving the change it has bought to my life.  I am doing things that I enjoy, taking my life day by day and paying attention to the little things, as they say, I am stopping to smell the roses.  It is February, the dead of winter and I am surviving, waiting out for spring which I heard does come!

I wanted to tell you how I got to this point.  I moved over to the USA with no job, no plans and all of my savings.  About 5 months in I had traveled around the USA and Canada, hung out with family and enjoyed the summer, but I was starting to freak out a little.  I was running out money very quickly.  I applied for a few jobs, but for some reason I didn’t take it seriously (I blame it on my quarter life crisis).  Luckily, I had a place to stay and food to eat courtesy of my grandparents!  Fall had begun and the weeks were flying by, I started to wonder what I should do with my life.  There is only so long you can stand living your days watching day time tv, sleeping in till 11am, and looking forward to the weekly trip to town to buy beer and mrs mikes chips (a Freeport, IL favorite) with my grandpa.  At this point I was looking for farm hand jobs or waitressing (surely the aussie accent would bring in the tips) just to get out of the house.  But seriously, I was starting to think it might be easier to go back to Australia.

Before I moved, I knew that I had a couple of genuine contacts that I could reach out to.  People that I know that would look after me if they could.  Almost four years ago I did my final year placement for my Health Information Management degree in Chicago.  I had been in contact with my supervisor over the years, always updating her on my progress. I told her I was moving to Chicago and was looking for a job, never had I imagined she would have a job available.  Turns out I was literally in the right place at the right time, because a position became available and I was the perfect candidate.  I didn’t have the job yet.  The company’s annual convention was only a couple of weeks away in LA.  I was very low on funds but I decided to take the risk and buy the $600 convention ticket, plus travel expenses and go! I was able to volunteer, network and get my name known within the profession.  I got back from LA and waited, was the risk worth it? Finally, I received a job offer in Chicago and within my field of Health Information Management.  My plan to move to the USA, to travel, spend valuable time with family and find a Health Information Management job was a success, but I was cutting it very fine!

There are three life lessons I learnt from this.  Number 1: networking is the key to the world, until you get out there and see the world, you will realize how small it actually is.  Lucky for me I love to network so this came easy for me.  Number 2: take risks! You never know where life is going to take you, so you might as well test it out and found out what it has in store for you.  Number 3:  make your dreams happen, do you have an idea? Well go out there do it!  The only reason I moved to the USA with no job and no plan was because I knew it would work out.  Secretly I did have everything worked out in my head.  I knew exactly what I wanted but didn’t try to force things, instead I lived in the moment, enjoyed my time day by day and let the opportunity come to me.  This is something that doesn’t come easy for everyone but if you let it happen, work hard, stay positive and believe in yourself, you can accomplish anything, including your dreams.

IMG_3253^ Life in a winter wonderland


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