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Donut day: My experience with jobs in USA

box of donuts
Photo courtesy of Phil King

Each country has different work environments and rules.

A refugee describes his experience with jobs in USA.

At home, when my father and I wake, we start the day by spending nearly one hour saying good morning for the day to all of our friends and our family and our neighbors and our friends’ friends and our neighbors’ neighbors (this is what you in America call our tribe). My father and I drink buna – this is coffee – if we have enough money.

My wife makes shahie – this is tea – for everybody.

We each eat canjeero – this is pancake – and if it is the time of the year for goat, maybe goat stew. Only then, after this long time, do we go to work.

In my family for work, we mostly kept our animals, sheep and goats and camels and cows. Some of our family members came to the USA first and they would also send us transmittance back home. But all of this is to say that when we went to work we did not go somewhere to some office building to work. Maybe sometimes we would send some sheep away now mostly to Saudia Arabia which is a country which is much richer than Somalia.

I did not know what to expect from jobs in USA.

Now I come to the United States, and I get a job at an office building with several stories but for so many months I used the stairs because there were so many women in the elevator.

When I wake up in the morning, I leave the apartment which I am staying with my brothers – these are not my blood brothers who are now in the refugee camp these are my brothers I call brothers because we care to on another – and then because I speak English I go to work at an office building while my brothers mostly work at different jobs.

I get to the work and I go around to say hello to everyone who is working and one day my manager she is a woman, she tells to me “Please Mr. Ibrahim, please you must start working and stop disturbing everyone who is working.” She tells me, “Please Mr. Ibrahim, please come in early, you are the last one to arrive and now you are bothering everyone.”

So at first, I do not understand because I think she is not kind and it seems the other people are not kind.

And nobody stops to eat the lunch either. So I think maybe I cannot work at the work. Then after a few weeks of the working, somebody tells me, “It is donut day and does I want one?” So I go to join them in the “break room” and everyone is drinking the coffee and eating the donuts. So now I know this is the time for greeting everyone.

Now sometimes I am the first one done talking and I go back to my desk to finish my work before even the others and my manager asks to me, “Ibrahim, are you coming for donut day?” But I tell her, “I already had one, now I am focused to my working.”

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.