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Tips, opportunities and obstacles for work in the US

As has been said repeatedly, the Hispanic population in the US represents the fastest growing minority, and is expected to win influence in political and economic life of the country.

At the same time, among Hispanic second and third generation index entry to higher education rises, according to studies by the Pew Research Center . In addition, experts note changes in migration patterns in Latin northward: instead of a journey of no return, especially in South Florida, California, Texas and New York, it is noted that Latinos invest in businesses and assets roots , but definitely not set in the new country, but kept traveling and sharing his time between the two Americas .

Despite the negative spin that represents death de facto immigration reform in Washington, the trend suggests that the presence of professionals, businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors and Latin American executives grow in the US Because of this, it makes sense to consider the barriers, benefits, opportunities and challenges that a Latino professional can find in their transition to the new scenario.

Culture, communication and perceptions

Although much of the Latino workforce remains scarce resources, undocumented and low educational level, it is also true that Hispanic students are admitted each year in American schools and universities, having access to a high-caliber education worldwide. When you graduate, the options are varied. Some return to their countries, some more assume the risk of embarking and others are recruited by multinational companies.

For those who decide to seek and accept employment in the US environment, with the arrival begins the hardest part. According to Marcela Gomez, director of the American Consulting and Social Service League (ACSSL) , dedicated to advising immigrants on their arrival and transition, “is difficult to overcome attachment to the culture that allowed, family and romantic relationships. However, the fundamental challenge of professional study or work abroad is adapting to a new culture. It’s something that feels not only when inserted in USA Where appropriate it is also experienced to return to the country of origin. Many professionals with stable economic positions, come to suffer for adaptation , sometimes with serious consequences diagnosed in psychology syndromes and disorders because of acculturation “.

In general, much depends on the attitude and personal perspectives, how the individual chooses to interpret the barriers and possible difficulties in their way. For example, it makes a big difference between a person who assumes a setback as a symptom of discrimination against them, and someone taking it simply as indicator to look for new alternatives.

This is the view of Roberto Méndez, Salvadoran set in New Orleans, Louisiana, founder and owner of Corona Taquerías, that in the last twenty years has grown to become familiar restaurant business. When Mendez recounts obstacles have been submitted in his career, warns that never felt discriminated directly, “especially since I do not have that kind of sensitivity, I’d rather spend your side and get the next opportunity.”

Martha Galindo, Mexican origin, CEO and president of the firm Galindo Advertising coincides with Mendez in a look that transcends those dynamics of intercultural friction. For her, being part of a minority in the US, come from another country, another culture and learn to speak another language, was “always a plus . I enjoyed a solid education, a postgraduate degree in the United States, I am bicultural and bilingual, and have always been eager to learn everything, which is an advantage in a fertile ground “.

But wherever individuals from various cultures converge, no chance for misunderstandings of communication codes or values.

For example, to Regina Portillo, in charge of operations Talent SkillBridge.co , startup focused on facilitating connections between companies and senior professionals, “the most difficult aspect to interact and communicate effectively internally in various equipment has to do with the different assumptions that each has. My experience is that Latinos and Latinas in general assume that teams will have a collective focus on welfare or general results achieved. While essentially within Caucasians teams members hold a more individual approach. In addition, Latinos are more indirect in their way of communicating, more cautious and are careful not to sound pompous, while Caucasians teams expressed in a more direct communication , which can be effective in building network in a dynamic environment as the New York. Where I have more perceived SkillBridge this is where innovation can not cause delay or affect more than one type of indirect communication, subject to interpretation “.

At the same time, there are patterns or prevailing stereotypes “characterize” individuals of origin or Latino roots, both men and women. When professionals join corporate environments in US companies, or when inserted into multicultural teams can generate situations of misunderstanding or misconceptions. This can be accentuated if one considers that the same Hispanic population is composed of people from various countries in Latin America, each with its own identity characteristics, very sharp.

“As a Latina, a fundamental barrier that I sense is the discomfort that others imply that they do not recognize me, or because they fail I fit in his preconceived stereotype. In fact, during interviews many times my Latino is a surprise. I am Mexican, but my appearance does not match the stereotype . Although I grew up in a home where people speak Spanish, no one can detect any accent when speaking English. Once my source is mentioned, my interlocutors do not know how to value. It’s harder for them to form expectations about how will my behavior or performance at work, “said Portillo.

But macro, Galindo think the perception about Hispanic professionals evolves , although there are gradations and differences depending on previous experience and contacts that team members have had with people from other cultures. “The most urban Americans and youth are more exposed to contact and knowledge of other people. The cities and some companies with international presence are concerned to form committees and multicultural diversity, which perform activities and festivities that have new faces in public. Those faces generate another dialogue. This brings a greater acceptance of the existence of other ethnic groups and their contributions are valued. The media do not do enough yet, but there is positive about change. ”

While adapting to new cultures exchange occurs at a slower pace, the professional always has the option to work with your own image and build your own individual identity, independent of nationalities and backgrounds.

That is the strategy Portillo, “the three companies where I worked in New York, none of my colleagues had previously worked with someone from Hispanic origin. In my program at Columbia University, I am the only Latina from about one hundred students. Therefore, I created an individual identity for me, based on my behavior, performance and work ethic. That makes me not identified as such or that of America, but as Regina, team member and friend. ”


In general, one of the main concerns and sources of stress you feel a Latino professional who intends to work in the US or found employment and is about to start the migration process, it is precisely the number of procedures performed and details to contemplate. In this regard, professional services like Marcela Gomez have been created specifically to assist with these procedures.

Students who are already enrolled in US schools, Gómez recommended to devote volunteer hours in labor practices with companies of interest. “So have the opportunity not only to better understand the working environment and business in the US but networking professionals are generated, already have people who can serve as references, and ultimately may be the same company decides to sponsor a work visa in the country. ”

For those looking for options to get the country out of a more exploratory way initially, Gómez advised investigate the J1 visa , which allows cultural exchanges and learning to foreigners.

Meanwhile, Galindo concludes with a tip that can serve all those who plan inserted in the US labor context, ” Be humble and assertive. They have a lot to give and a mountain to learn that not give the books. US Ascent tracks are not marked by the titles, nor the origin of families . The court is open. Select your tracks, shape their dreams, flexible and reach their goals. “

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