When I arrived in the US, I had really high hopes for my professional career, as I did not like what I was doing back in Belgium and I thought living in a foreign country would be an excellent springboard. But little did I know that I would have to wait for three months before getting my work permit…
Anyways, I decided to look for a job as soon as I had sent my employment authorization request, more with the idea to “study the market” during the first month than really applying for a job. Holding a Master’s degree in Translation, I was actually quite lucky to have relocated in the very epicenter of the movie industry. I was thus expecting a lot for this career change, hoping to reorient it to my first passion. If the job offers are not numerous in that field, the competition is not that tough, since the native speakers of a specific foreign language capable of performing high-quality translations are quite scarce in Los Angeles. So, I looked for jobs mainly on LinkedIn and Glassdoor, and it only took me maybe 4 or 5 applications before getting an answer from one of the companies. It started with a phone interview where, oddly enough, one of the first questions was already about my salary expectations. The job was located in Culver City, i.e. a 3-hour daily commute, so I had decided that I would not go under a certain hourly rate no matter what (and anyways, it was my first job interview so I thought I might as well give it a try and see how much I was worth). In the end, though my profile corresponded at 100% to what they were looking for, they decided to not go any further with me. A few days after I received my work permit (maybe one month later), the same company contacted me back through LinkedIn for the same position. It was not the same recruiter and I told him straight away what my salary expectations were. His answer was: “Okay, I think we can meet that.” The job interview consisted again of a phone call, then they invited me for a test at the company’s office, which I passed. A couple of weeks later, I was starting my professional life in California and stayed there for almost 2 years.
I was actually working as a contractor for one of the Fortune 10 companies, in the entertainment industry, and my job consisted of proofreading/translating subtitles of series and documentaries. Even if it looks like a dream job – at least to me –, the working conditions were not really good (an open space with almost 100 people chatting all day long, obsolete subtitling software, extremely strict company policies, etc.). Still, I liked the job I was doing, so I was just looking sporadically to new job offers. My second work permit renewal sped up the things and, as I had to wait for more than 5 months to get it – 2.5 of which I was not allowed to work anymore –, I lost my job after 1 month of forced “furlough” (to sum up, they closed the project I was working on and the other position that was available was not that hard to fill up).
When it occurred, I obviously went through a phase where I just wanted to leave this country and felt really miserable. My husband kept on telling me that I should not lose hope, that everything was going to be alright and, if not, we would find a solution. I started to look more actively for a job and a couple of weeks later, I had my first job interview. To cut things short, when the recruiters explained me the position, it did not correspond at all to the online description. Their questions were the kind of classic interview questions that try to trap you and I left with a bitter feeling.
The same week, I saw a job description really appealing to me but, when I was done preparing my cover letter, it had disappeared from the company’s website. I thus called the company the next working day and they gave me the contact details of the reference person, to which I reached out immediately by email. A couple of hours later, I received a phone call asking me when I was ready for an interview, which happened the next day. The people I met were not recruiters, but the future bosses I was going to work for. They were thrilled by my background and amazed by the original layout of my resume. The day after, they called me to confirm that they could meet my salary expectations and asked me to start as soon as I could. I am not a full-time translator anymore, but translation duties still amount to 50% of my workload, and I am again working for a huge entertainment company, which makes your childhood dreams come true in the shape of themed parks. The job is in Glendale, so it’s a very convenient commute, and I have been working since then among a nice, humane and creative team 😊