A week ago my mom asked if I would help her Hmong friend create his resume because she really wanted to get him a job at her workplace. I had never met this friend but they had previously worked together for over 10 years. She said he was a really hard worker but his resume didn’t display any evidence of that. In fact, when I looked at it, it had only four full sentences on it – one which included a misspelling of his own email address. Knowing his English wasn’t particularly proficient I had to spend a lot of time asking detailed questions about his job history and his responsibilities in each role because neither he nor my mom could easily communicate those things. When I completed, what I felt was, a satisfactory resume I sent it to my mom’s boss.
Today I was elated when my mom told me her friend not only got the job but also got a 15% salary increase from what he was currently making. She said her boss wasn’t sold on hiring him during the interview process because he had a hard time explaining his professional experience. However, when they asked him for an updated resume and saw the one I had put together they were blown away by his tenacious work history and hired him on the spot. She also told me he wanted to thank me personally for all of my help. And while I was moved by his appreciation, I couldn’t help but feel unworthy of it. After all, I might have found the words that accurately described him due to my resourcefulness, but I didn’t impart anything in his work ethic that didn’t already exist. He was a dedicated worker who had years of team leadership and problem solving skills – I just figured out how to communicate that on paper.
I cannot tell you the countless times I’ve done things like this for my own parents. I’ve had to read, write, and interpret everyday things for them since I was in grade school just so they could acclimate to society. I’ve helped them write and re-write their resumes, written letters to their employers requesting raises they so evidently deserved, and even helped my mom study for months when she was practicing to take her U.S. Citizenship test. The list goes on and on. And while these things can sometimes be overwhelming, that’s what being the child of an immigrant is – it’s added responsibility. It’s added responsibility to your family, to your community, and to your moral compass.
The well-being of my community is instilled in my ethos because bridging the gap of culture barriers and witnessing the meliorism of a once impoverished people brings me immeasurable joy. So to the children of immigrants who know and understand what it is to thrive on the successes of immigrant families, even the ones who are not our own, and lament over their hardships – may you change this world’s heart.