“-Marina, Im done, Marina Im done-” shout the kids at the top of their lungs, expecting their nanny to run to them and to take their dirty plates away.
Marina Karpushina, 35, tells them to put the dishes into the sink themselves, they dump it in with all the trash and leftovers. “Thats what they do to me every day, they have no respect to me as a person, and it seems that they are lacking something in their upbringing, which I try to fulfill in them.”
Karpushina is one of many recent immigrants in their 30s-50s residing in New York City, who are ready to change not only the occupation they have been taking all their lives, but also the country, the language and the future for themselves and their children. The only difference is that some people are lucky to move to the USA and are happy to try a new job (because they have means say to start a new business or to launch new career), while some immigrants are forced to change their jobs in order to survive and to provide their kids with the future they would have never gotten back home.
Neither Marinas family, nor her PhD helped her with her future. Yet. At least thats what she thinks. “After getting my PhD I worked in the laboratory checking the quality of apples, I would always be handed a new task to resolve, I always had loads of work, but it was not paid well and I felt that was not exactly what I wanted to do.” It was mostly my parents who influenced my choice of being a scientist, they saw me as a smart and good researcher, but I was never sure about this choice, so now I escaped.” And she escaped to the U.S.; she followed the American dream and now is working as a live-in nanny. She does not like what she does, but, the truth is bitter: the weekly salary she got in Russia being a scientist with a PhD is five (!) times less than the weekly salary in the U.S., while when applying to a job of a nanny you dont really need any PhD. Note that the cost of living or food cost in the two countries is approximately the same. The same pattern is seen with other countries as well. And that is what makes many immigrants come to the states, start all over, sometimes break themselves by going to a cheap labor jobs realizing that they sometimes have not only Bachelors or Masters degree, but also PhD, which if was gotten here, would have made them prosperous in the nick of time. This is the most popular Case Scenario.
Seems hard to believe in, but some people change their occupation and come to the USA simply out of curiosity, so as Olga Rabkin, 47, did. She used to work with finances in Russia, later when she moved here with her family, she felt she was ready to do the next step, to change the occupation she was never into, so after she took her son to the school of Tae-Kwando, she realized that she wants to give it a try, which she did and now this elegant and refined lady with a black belt teaches kids combat techniques of self-defense in the biggest Tae Kwando school of New York. Olga is saying that kicking and hitting is not forever and sooner or later she will have to change her work again, so she went to the school of nursery, where the most of the subjects she has to take from the scratch. The Latin saying goes: Per aspera ad astra, (a rough road leads to the stars), even if this rough road was chosen by Olga intentionally, it will always lead to the stars, as it did with Tae Kwando, and it will be the same with nursery, since Olga is very serious about her study- she came to an interview with a book in order not to lose her precious time and read before one of the exams in her nursing school.
Yelena Pyvovar seeks vacancies for immigrants and specializes mostly in home care. Her clients are immigrants from third-world countries seeking for any job. “Most of them,” she says, “are in their 40s-50s. They dont know English, and sometimes it is extremely hard for me to explain them that I want their signature, moreover, some of them come from such poor countries that they do not even know how to read or write in any language. All of them are in need of any job, so they are ready to take the worst vacancies to get an extra dollar, and they do not care if they have to change their occupation. Last week they broke the reception window- that was how much they wanted to get the crappiest job.”
Michael Romanuk was an English teacher in Samara, Russia. After winning a Green Card and coming to the US, he was forced to pick up a cab driver job. “Everybody needs money, and for me it was not easy to get even this job. There is a new atmosphere, new environment. I am happy I knew the language before I got here, if I did not, it might take me another couple of years before I could find any job.”
Along with the decision of changing the residency comes the inevitability of changing the occupation. Some people are happy to try themselves in a new area and have means to do so, and some are simply forced to pick up any job in order to get a piece of bread, and the question is: is the bright future for our kids worth us breaking ourselves?