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


Why I Decided to Move Overseas

That look I get when I tell people I quit my job and moved to the USA with no plans or job  prospects.  That look is why I created a short scripted description to explain why I did it (even though I don’t really know myself) but people look at me and think I’m crazy, the last thing I want in a new country.  So this is what I tell people:  Well I have no commitments, an American passport, family and it is an awesome career opportunity, so why not!

For most people, especially in rural USA where I am staying with my family, that sort of thing is unheard of, so unfortunately they still think I’m crazy.  But that is one of the main reasons of why I wanted to move overseas, to experience another culture!  The USA is known to be similar to Australia, but really it is completely different (I will explain differences in another post).  I think experiencing another culture helps you realize how good you actually have it at home.  So when I do eventually decide to go home I will appreciate it so much more.  Some of the other reasons:

  • I don’t know what I am doing with my life. Now and when I was living in Melbourne.  I call it my quarter life crisis.  The time after you go from High School to College to Graduating to working and wondering okay whats next? Suddenly an end date disappears, something that existed all your life until graduating from university.  My life was going to work, hanging out with friends (which I do miss), having another messy night out, waiting for the same social events to come up every year, eating the same avocado on toast brunch, and traveling home to my parents to escape the city life once in a while.  Don’t get me wrong I loved my life in Melbourne I had everything I ever wanted, well I thought I did! But thats it, the same thing year after year, nothing was changing.  So I made a change.  Something that isn’t easy for everyone.  Plus I can always go home, I can’t always move overseas!
  • I have an American Passport.  I would be stupid not to use it, especially since it is extremely hard to get a working visa in the USA.
  • Family.  Another big reason.  Having grown up without my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other extended family around and missing out on family events my whole life, I wanted to experience what it feels like to have them by my side without just a 4 week holiday with a time frame and then not seeing them for another 2+ years.
  • Career Opportunity.  For me my career was a fluke.  Like a lot of people I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I just put a random assortment of  courses on my preferences.  Good news, I got accepted into University! Health Information Management, don’t know what that is? well neither did I.  Turns out it is one of the most progressive careers you can be in right now.  If you didn’t know, with all the technology around, majority of hospitals in Australia are still on paper! Seriously, iPhone 10 is out with facial recognition and patients are still being examined on a piece of paper.  Point is, in the USA majority of their hospitals are electronic, but they are only at the start of their journey, there is still lots of work around organising and using the health data correctly, which is what a Health Information Manager does.  So instead of living in the past of what paper is, I wanted to take that step forward and work directly with the future of Health Care.  The opportunities are endless!

So turns out my short scripted description is spot on, but I think moving overseas for anyone even if you don’t have one reason but to make a change in your life, you should do it!  I’m only at the beginning, but in the past 5 months I have learnt more about myself then I have in whole life.  If you have the urge to just do it, then do it. Live life, thats what its there for.

21458134_10159536256290529_4378782344421834159_oOne of the reasons why I love Chicago ^