This is a blog post I have looked forward to writing for some time. According to the US Government, I am now classified as a Lawful Permanent Resident of the United States, rather then the much more unfriendly title of Non Immigrant Alien. 5 years after moving to the US, I now have a green card. I think most understand the basic concept of a green card, in part thanks to the delightful rom-com "Green Card", featuring Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell. I will however lay out some background on the green card, the implications of having a green card and how I obtained one from an E-3 visa without transferring to a H-1B visa or resorting to a sham marriage to an American citizen where hilarity ensued. In my case, I was able to obtain my green card in less than 12 months from the start of the process.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
I recently completed a major culling of Facebook friends. Chances are you already know this, because there is a high likelihood you are reading this blog due to me posting about it on Facebook. I went from 851 friends to 319. So what possessed me to say goodbye to 532 of my nearest and dearest Facebook friends and what was my criteria for culling?
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
As part of a major restructure at my previous employer in Australia, I found myself with an American boss who was brought in from outside the company (no it wasn't Trump). In his initial session with the team, he ran us through a PowerPoint presentation to introduce himself and give us some guidance on how he wanted to operate. About 15 minutes in to the meeting, he pulled up a slide titled, "things that will get you fired". I vividly remember the uncomfortable looks on the faces of my colleagues in reaction to this slide. After the session, everyone was saying how shocked they were with the bluntness of this message. Having lived and worked in the US, I can now completely relate to and even in some way appreciate where my boss was coming from.
The idea of a job for life is widely recognized as an outdated concept, so that certainly wasn't the source of our discomfort. Being employed at a big Australian corporation, I was certainly used to seeing people leave of their own volition or getting made redundant. However in my seven years there, I do not remember any examples of people getting fired. A firing implies that due to some gross negligence or non performance, you were told to seek opportunities for excellence elsewhere, usually in an abrupt fashion. Irrespective of your status as union v non union, there are government imposed rules and regulations in Australia that protect employees, along with internal company policies on the process for exiting an employee for performance reasons or making their position redundant. For a redundancy the payouts were usually quite generous. In fact the corporate intranet even had a spreadsheet you could download to calculate your estimated redundancy payout. So in reality it might have been quite hard for our new boss to "fire" us, but we were still taken aback by his comments given we felt relatively safe in our jobs.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Back in the 80s, I remember one of my Uncles telling me how he thought it would be an awesome idea to have a store with a few blenders that made nothing but fresh fruit smoothies. I thought it was a stupid idea, but I was probably only 7-8 years old, so what would I know? Therefore my Uncle invented Jamba Juice (or Boost Juice in Australia). Except of course he didn't really, because although he had the idea he never acted upon it. Now this might have been for any number of reasons, but most likely the reality of trying to support a family meant that he did not feel he had the opportunity to engage in a risky proposition like starting his own business.
So this has got me to thinking a lot lately about the role of the entrepreneurs and startups in the economy and the associated general perceptions. There is no doubt that society has a large amount of admiration for entrepreneurs. Particularly in technology, founders are a highly visible part of a company and held in high esteem. Jobs, Gates, Brin, Page and Zuckerberg are household names. The ability to build a multi-billion dollar business in a short period of time from nothing but thin air is no doubt impressive.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
I have been at the Four Seasons Palo Alto this week for a company sales conference. It's a very nice hotel right in the heart of Silicon Valley, near a few small companies that do stuff with the Internet or something. Walking into the hotel this morning, I did a double take when I saw this sign in front of one of the conference/banquet rooms. For non Australians, New South Wales (NSW) is the most populous state in Australia, with 7.2m people, and Sydney is the state's capital (pop. 4m).
I was genuinely excited to see this sign. Days after my four year anniversary of arriving in America, I still get a kick out of little reminders from home. To me this sign was like Vegemite on toast. I have no idea of the agenda or the invite list, other than to wonder how my invite got lost in the mail. My impression would be the NSW Government are looking to build relationships in Silicon Valley. That they they recognize the importance of a vibrant technology sector to the ongoing growth of the Australian economy. That they believe NSW can be a center of excellence for high tech and what better way to learn than to come to Silicon Valley and learn from the best. That they can provide guidance and a pathway for Aussie entrepreneurs and companies to operate in the most competitive market in the world, which can only lead to good things for NSW. Any Aussie will proudly tell you about Australia's ability to punch well above its weight globally in any field, given it is a country the size of the continental US with a population the size of Southern California. It was pride that made me think this little piece of paper was significant enough to bother taking a photo with my iPhone.