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Thursday, February 07, 2008

my "American Dream"

Today was a bitter sweet day while it wasn't my last day at the doctors office it was kind of my official goodbye. I got my goodbye card signed by everyone in the office and my poem. My manager is really good with poetry and writes a poem when someone leave. Here is mine.

I had a hard time not to cry when she had me read it out loud. Then when I got back to my desk I had a huge present sitting upon top. A bag - one like all the monitors have it was the goodbye present from my manager and a sweet card. I am glad that my new boss gave me the okay that I can help out until the Doc is settled so its not an abrupt change. Not sure if I could handle that since the office had been my home for 7 years.

I would have never thought that this would be where my life was heading kind of funny how a small decisions impacts your entire life.

When I came over in the summer of 1999 - I had a student work visa and J. had proposed to me so we were planning on getting married after he finished tech school in Wichita Falls TX. I came over a month before he was finished and worked in a English Pub in Old Town Orlando. The owners didn't like Germans so I was used as dish washer while they were at the place - but as soon as they left they the bartenders had me come out of the kitchen and wait tables. In August I took a flight to TX where J. picked me up. We had planned on getting married Friday after his graduation but since I was not allowed on base unless we were married we moved it to that Monday. The wedding is another story - after his graduation we left for Illinois from where we left via car for Virginia where his orders landed us here in Newport News in a dingy apartment less than 2 miles from my current house. After we got settled I opened the phone book and saw that there was a German Restaurant and decided to call and see if they need a German waitress. I worked there throughout the years while also working at Busch Gardens and even as a bill collector for SEARS.
One night in November 2000 I had this couple that ended up being one of my last tables. We were talking and while telling them how I ended up in the US and so forth it turned out he was a doctor that worked mainly in the field of HIV and infectious disease and had founded the AIDS foundation here. It was interesting as I had grown up in the AIDS foundation my mom had founded back in Germany and ran it up until I left to come here. At the end of their dinner this guy offered me a job to work for him as research coordinator. I thought he was nuts - I mean come on who is going to offer a waitress they just met a job as research coordinator??????

I didn't call him for 3 months. But eventually I got tired of the bill collector gig and people yelling at me and cursing me for doing my job and I called. Turns out timing was everything as one of their coordinators just handed in her 2 week notice. My manager wasn't all convinced that I could do the job and the two other coordinators made sure that I knew I wasn't as good as they were as I did not have a college degree - but long story short I was the one that prevailed.

Turned out I was good at being a coordinator I did well with the patients and the people the Pharma companies sent to monitor us. I met a lot of people through out the last 7 years and when I finally finished my degree one of those people sent my resume to her HR department recommending to hire me. Two of the three people at the interview that followed were people I had worked with over the years too - that and my work record got me my new job.

So here I am getting ready to start the next step in a career I never even knew existed and all because I chatted with one of the tables I served dinner to. From dishwasher to Clinical Research Site Manager for Pfizer - not bad for 9 years in a new culture/country.


Kingcover said...

It's funny the way that life happens to us some times. Nice to know that us Europeans can make it in America ;-)
Good luck with your new job! :-D

Dino aka Katy said...

KC - thanks. You know the saying "life happens while you are making other plans" that's kind of what happened here.

Beth said...

not bad at all!!!!!

I know it's sorta sad to leave, but look what you're heading to....good luck!

Lesley said...

I wish you all the best with your new job. You have worked very hard and deserve it!

Dino aka Katy said...

Beth - yeah I know

Lesley - thanks

The Phosgene Kid said...

Looks as though you'll have to change your "about me" from "trying to make it" to "made it."

Bubs said...

What an excellent story! You are a classic American immigrant success story!

The Phosgene Kid said...

Goodbyes are sad. Doesn't look as though they'll forget you anytime soon.