It all began with WWII. During the war, my father was assigned the role of a flamethrower and refused to burn living human beings, regardless if they were Nazis, Jews, Americans or anyone. Being a conscious objector during the war, the Swiss government gave him two choices. Either he could go to jail or he had to leave the country. So, my father went to Canada and then later to America where he is still living today. That’s where I come into the picture.
In 2001, I was working in America and wrote an email to my spouse, who was living in Hong Kong and waiting for approval to join me in America, that there were no job openings in America but that Swiss companies were hiring. Accidently, my employer saw the email and I was fired the next day as well as being kicked out of two financial services (my retirement funds were taxed and cashed without my approval), causing my wife’s immigration application to be resubmitted all over again. It was during the Dot-Com crisis and my chances of finding a job in the US were non-existant.
Laid-off technology experts, such as computer programmers, found a glutted job market. University degree programs for computer-related careers saw a noticeable drop in new students. Anecdotes of unemployed programmers going back to school to become accountants or lawyers were common.
At the time, I was working on getting a college degree and sent my resume to over a hundred companies which mostly didn’t respond. Nevertheless, I was able to find a new job locally within a few weeks and was invited to Switzerland for an interview.
So, I flew to Switzerland and was hired by two large international firms at the same time within a few weeks, both offering double the pay and with better benefits. I had to choose. Months later, my spouse joined me there.
11 years later, I learned that Swiss banks were rejecting little people simply because they had US citizenship and as a result of US policy. Since I already had experience of getting kicked out of banks and since I had no reason or motive to work in America, it was clear that the US citizenship had to go.
Living in the US, I did various jobs for many companies and didn’t always have a bad experience. Life in America is not always as grand as it may be believed to be and I often struggled to make a living there. Once I worked on an onion field, earning about $1/hour. Then I delivered papers for about $2/per hour with lots of shoulder pain from the heavy load when helping out other routes. Later, I washed dishes for about $3.5/hour and quit since they refused to give me a 10 cent pay raise, even though I was the fasted and most efficient dish washer they ever had. Prior to that, I was promoted to busboy and then demoted again the same day since my cute Mexican coworker lied about me since I didn’t look Mexican. The customers absolutely loved me and gave me many tips that day. Another time, I was fired from a library because I once made a single 10 cents copy. Ironically, I was hired the next day across the street as a paper copier! In the Army, I worked hard and was rewarded with a punishment to set an example for others, since my ride was late, I got a traffic ticket and my former Mexican roomate who stole my things lied about me in defense of his crimes. Afterwards, I was promoted 3 times in only 6 months but my military spirit had died. Overall, I find that the American job market is often trigger-happy, overreacting to strongly to non-issues. In Switzerland, on the contrary, I’m trusted, my skills and motivation are respected and appreciated and my minor human errors are forgiven.
My advice to anyone thinking about working in America is to think again. It is not for everyone.