My latest article in TIMES OF INDIA, posted today (17th August 2015) in their new sub-section- New to Canada-
Welcome back! We were discussing your journey to the promised land of Canada and the first article was about a NEW HOPE- The ‘Pros’ of coming to Canada.
However as the ever famous Star war series, this second article brings the ascendance of the dark forces or ‘Cons’ so that if and when you see the third article and beyond, you would have either fastened your seat belts and be ready for the journey ahead or would have decided to sit back and watch the action, from the comforts of your individual heavens, back home.
Let’s get on with the ‘cons’ right away-
1. Getting grounded- Let’s first focus on your professional background. Forget the past and how millions have suffered here. Canada has learnt and is kinder now. So it makes a list of certain professions where there is a scarcity of opportunities and if you possess matching skill sets, you get through faster as an ‘Express skilled immigrant” and your chances of success are far better than thousands and thousands of people before you. What you definitely need to know is that it still is not a cakewalk and jobs would not be waiting for you. Your outside experience would in most cases be not accounted for and even your qualifications will not be enough and you would have to do additional courses and/or pass different tests before you can work in your field of choice. Consider that you are restarting your life in your field of choice from scratch and keep a positive attitude as you are still lucky for you are the chosen one.
However if you are not coming under the express skilled category and are not an agricultural machine operator, computer programmer, electrician, plumber, nurse or the likes and God forbid if you are a manager, engineer, doctor, architect, than welcome to the “Socialist” world of Canada where everyone is equal. Yes you read it right! Canada is socialist to the core in this. Everyone is treated as ONE BIG ZERO. Mark my words. You must forget your ego, your intellect, your experience, education and all the social status that you have reached by now. Canada needs ENGLISH SPEAKING LABOURERS and that’s what you will become.
You will have to pick up odd jobs which are fondly called- SURVIVAL JOBS. Unfortunately for many this becomes a lifelong identity. Doctors, engineers and the likes are dime a dozen here working as security guards, cashiers, truck drivers,… Imagine the worst and Canada will oblige! Immigration advisors and government bodies will talk of great support network. All that is mostly garbage and lip service- Display attractions to entice you so that you merrily walk in and accept slavery of your choice. For a man whose money runs out fast and who has a family to feed and the carrot of family’ future to look forward to, everything is acceptable. Need examples. Look at me, an IIT Bombay engineer with twenty six years of rich experience running companies worldwide, just returning from China as the business head of a textile multinational, who is anxiously waiting to know the result of the Walmart Sales Associate interview, a job which pays close to minimum wages. That after spending six years in Canada and running successful businesses here and being selected as amongst the top 75 immigrant to Canada just a few years back. For the past seven months, after selling my businesses, I have tried to get a decent job but with no luck. In Canada or even from outside when I was working in China. Not even a single interview call for anything than the minimum wages fare. Guess what, whenever you start in the Canadian corporate world, you are worthless. ZERO. PERIOD. But don’t worry, you will accept fast, as I have and as most other have. Dreams are used to dying as fast as the Canadian summer and then reality sets in and brings the cold, long, Canadian winter for most of us.
So get ready to pick up what you can lay your hands on, leave your ego behind and join the vast fraternity of under employed workers who roam the streets of your promised land.
2. Less opportunities and industries- Let’s face it! You are used to the double digit growth both in revenue and salaries in India. Erase that clean from your head when you arrive here. There are very few industries and fewer jobs. The economy is practically shrinking and yet Canada is not inclusive and does not recognize outside talent. With limited opportunities, even the tiny population seems large enough and part time work becomes a norm, even for blue collar jobs. What’s more, during winters, the business is almost dead and earning your daily bread becomes more difficult, especially if you are stuck up in odd jobs or in the unorganized sector.
3. Racism- Oh yes! Canada is racist. Without doubt. You will not hear of it loud but in whispers as people love the mirages that they create. But get the third drink down in a party and the anguish will come out of desi lips. Racism is one of the largest unseen devil in the room. You will see it everywhere. When you will not be called for interviews cause you do not have a Christian Canadian name or when if called, you will walk in and walk out faster or when if selected, you will find that these are the jobs which are of the lowest rung or even when you get a decent job, you will get paid lesser than your White counterpart in the name of some concocted reason or the other. You will notice it in the extra sweetness people will show while their eyes which are a giveaway will add another dimension to the phrase, ‘If looks could kill’! You will hear it loud when you are referred to as a ‘Paki’, ‘Brownie’ by the odd man on street, or when you would be regularly advised to go back from where you came or when in election fever, politicians will call you ‘foreigners’, a word which actually should be irrelevant in this land of immigrants, …. I could go on and on! And God forbid, if you have a Muslim name and a beard to match. Allah!
But don’t worry. You are used to it. After all you yourself have been racist all your life. You have always marvelled at the ‘White’ skin, have treated ‘Black’ with disdain, have not had the best of inter-religious relations or even inter caste relations, have called North Eastern, ‘Chinkis’, ‘loose characters’ and what not! Oh yes, you have practiced it well before! Just this, your ‘karma’ is getting back to you in this life itself. Welcome to Canada and live it from the other side now! And yes, unfortunately skin color does not change and though life would be far better for your children with their ‘Canadian’ accent and life style, yet they will also have to face many after effects in their life.
4. Culture shock- This is a tough one! A man can live with a hurt ego, with less money and no social status, but would definitely like to be ‘respected’ at home. While the Indian community desperately tries to cling on to its values and ethos, cracks are visible and becoming more prominent as the families adapt to the Canadian society. I’d rather not elaborate on this. Yet be mentally prepared to not just face a different world, but accept and adapt to it. If not for yourself, than for your children’s sake.
5. Two to tango- With higher cost of living than India and lower ‘real’ wages, it would be extremely difficult for a single person in a family to make both ends meet, especially in the first few years. So prepare yourself for action, both inside and outside the home so that the pressure is mutually shared.
6. “Empire strikes back”- Last but not the least, yes, you are returning back to the Empire and the monarchy. While taking the oath as a citizen of Canada, you officially become a crown subject and take an oath of allegiance to the monarchy. Once again! For some, it may be a tough first step towards citizenship but be prepared to accept that if you want Canada to accept you.
Now, let’s sit back and decide.
YOUR HIGHNESS, has patiently sat with me and pondered over both the pros and cons of coming to Canada!
If you value your id, your ego, your professional self and the sacrifice that Canada demands is far high a price for you to pay- Then stay back where you are as that is well and truly the land of opportunity in the world of today!
But if you are fascinated with the ‘pros’, are now fully aware of the ‘cons’ and feel that you would be able to shed your grand halo, then go ahead. Remember-You will NOT consider that YOU are the lucky one for whom the things will be different than the millions that followed you but now WILL accept the fact that this WILL happen to you and you will face it and yet, work hard with determination and continue whether you succeed or accept whatever comes your way. Agreed! Great! Welcome to Canada!
In the next few articles, I would discuss the ways of adapting to Canada when you arrive and yes, various career and business options!
Till then, enjoy your enlightened state, flap your wings and go right back to the dreams of your promised land- Canada!