Editor’s Note: The following story, as related to Frank Gibson, is part of a continuing series of stories related to the effects of the new federal immigration policy, as seen from the perspective of people who will be affected by those changes.
All I want is for someone to give me a chance. I’m not applying for specialized jobs, or supervisory or management jobs. I’m just applying for basic positions, even entry-level spots, where I can show what I am capable of and, hopefully, move up from there. Waitress, clerk, receptionist, store helper, pre-school teacher or teacher aide, childcare, cashier, or housekeeper-I can clean and dust with the best.
It’s not that I don’t have experience. I graduated from Mariana High School and worked for PSS as a teacher’s aide for nine years, took a couple of years off, and worked with them again for another seven years. I was Teacher Aide of the Year one year and Overall Teacher Aide the next. I loved working with kids-and would love to do it again.
I went to the U.S. mainland and worked for Walmart as a sales associate for about a year. So I do have experience-perhaps not the exact experience asked for in every job I apply for-but, let’s be real, Walmart didn’t require me to have 3-5 years of floor-sales experience before they hired me!
I’m a fast learner. Train me for a week. Most people think that I’m reasonably bright and I’m certain that I can pick up most jobs quickly. I work hard, I’m reliable, I can get to work on time, I enjoy working with people, and I’m a team player. I know how to operate a computer, can use most Microsoft software programs, type, make copies, answer the telephone, send faxes and lots of other things that most jobs require-even if I’ve never held that particular job before. Give me a chance-once I’ve been able to prove myself, you’ll never want to let me go.
Oh, yes, I’ve seen the requirements in the ads-I hate to think of how many ads that I’ve read-or heard. If you believe the ads, there is not a single job in the Commonwealth that can be filled without 1-2 or even up to 10 years of experience and all sorts of extraordinary requirements that you couldn’t possibly have without having worked for years in the job. No wonder our kids leave home for the military or laze around doing nothing. There aren’t any jobs for them to start with here at home!
And this is my home. When I was back in the States, my family asked me, “Why do you want to go back to Saipan. There’s nothing there for you.” I came back because this is my home. I missed being here. Nowhere else feels the same to me as my home. Still, I got back in August and I’ve been looking for a job since then. It seems as if my home doesn’t feel as happy to see me here as I felt about being back.
Do I blame this on the nonresident workers? No, not at all. They aren’t the cause of this. I’m not sure who is, but I know it’s not them. They’re just like me, trying to work and take care of their families. A lot of my friends are from elsewhere. We get along fine-we respect each other. I’ve worked alongside other nationalities, both here and in the States, and I would be happy to do it again. Yes, I know that if I get hired, someone else might lose their job. It’s not what I want, and I would be sorry for them, but I didn’t make the laws that we all have to live by. That’s not my doing, anymore than it’s their fault that I don’t have a job. I am losing friends and I will miss them.
I’ve been trying hard to get a job since I got back. I’ve registered with the Department of Labor and they are trying. I bug them all of the time-every day-and refer to myself as “their worst nightmare.” But they are trying and have been getting my application out. I can’t even guess at how many I’ve dropped off. I think I’ve applied at all of the hotels and most of the stores, Joeten, Herman’s Bakery, and many others. Everywhere I go, I ask if they have any openings. I went to both job fairs and filled out lots of applications. I never heard back from most companies. In all of this time I’ve only had a couple of interviews. I applied at one hotel before their ad, so I wasn’t considered and, Ooops, then I was too late to apply for the ad. I applied for other hotels after the job fair, and I understand they have already interviewed, but I wasn’t called. I did interview earlier with the Hyatt, and I thank them, and I had to carry plates and utensils and set a table. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking and I could hear the plates and things rattling. The funny thing is, the next day I was helping to set up and was carrying platters of food at the Jesus Kristo Tuna festival-but, of course, that wasn’t the Hyatt.
It’s all very frustrating-sometimes I break down and cry because I don’t know what is going to happen to me. Then I get over it and tell myself that tomorrow is another day and something good will happen. I’m actually an optimist and try to always look on the bright side. I’m on food stamps for the first time in my life, and while I’m grateful for it, I want to get off so someone with a greater need can benefit from it. Like I said, I want to believe that Alfred, Manny, Radbert, and the others at Labor will be successful in helping me find a job. I do appreciate their efforts and thank them for it-and for putting up with my calls.
Let’s face reality, though. Things are getting tough. I have to support myself. I don’t want to have to depend on anyone else to do that for me. Why am I not getting interviews? I don’t really know. I guess it’s because I don’t fulfill all of the ad requirements. I’m competent. I’m outgoing and energetic. I’m presentable: neat, clean, and polite. I enjoy working with and helping people. I’m not shy or afraid to talk with others. Some say I talk too much.
So-my final words? This is my home. I’m here for the long haul. Try me-you’ll like me. Give Alfred a call at CNMI Labor-he definitely knows who I am.
All I want is for someone to give me a chance.