by staying the course
I recently found out that I had been approved for a new visa to live and work in the United Kingdom. This new visa, just like the
last one is good for two and a half years. When I look back at my time living in the UK, it has been a lifetime. I don’t mean that to
sound negatively but rather that I have experienced so much in such a short time. I have experiences that others, whether in the
UK or the USA will never experience in their lifetime.
I will never forget my first visit to England. Except for travelling to Canada as a child, I had never left the United States. And this
journey wasn’t to a close country. Oh no, I spent over 16 hours in airports and roughly ten hours in flight. I travelled east, over
six times zones and a little pond, known as the Atlantic Ocean.
That first time I walked on English soil I fell in love with the country. Though I was far from home, I felt totally at peace and more
at home than ever before. It would take six more visits before my dream became a reality and I became a resident of the United
Kingdom. After all my journeys, it wasn’t till my first year of actually living here that I realized the full impact of my move.
Two holidays played a major role in my life that year. The first one was New Year’s Day. It was the day that I actually arrived in
England. Roughly a week later than expected because of snow storms, I walked off that plane with two suitcases and very little
else. I was greeted by my wife and we went to our home. That’s right, not her home, where I was a visitor. No, now it was our
Within a month I had a job, working in despatch at a major bread bakery. Every minute of that job I hated but I went because not
only did I need the money but I needed the security of employment for our future prospects from me to remain in this country. It
was hard work, where no one really knew my name. Instead, I was the American who could load a truck in an hour or could get
delivery ready for fifty stores in eight hours. It was all about numbers and nothing else. Shut up and work. Faster! Faster! On
top of that it was agency work. If you have never heard of an agency, than I consider you blessed. Agency work is modern day
The worst part of my first year here, also ended up being the best event of the year. It would be Halloween week when I found
out that I had cancer. It’s hard to believe that such a horrible event could be a blessing in disguise. It was because of cancer
that I would become to weak and sick to work at the bakery. For nearly three months I did the treatments the oncologist
prescribed for me and upon completion I began the process of recovery.
Amazingly, with the Grace of God, I started looking for a new job six weeks after my last radiation treatment. And it was my first
job interview that I was hired. The job would be dealing with security issues. Which also was a blessing received by working with
You see when you work for an agency you only know your hours week by week. So one week you could work 56 hours and the
next week work 8 hours. One week I received no hours and it was then that I decided that I needed to improve my worth on the
UK job market. That skill would involve security.
In England, to work security you must have a license. To get a license you must attend classes, pass tests and get certified.
After certification, you get a background check, then and only then can you get a job in the security field.
So, two of my worst experiences since moving to England – agency work and cancer – also gave me two great gifts – security
certification and steady employment. At the time, I never believed that anything good could come from the demoralizing work of
agency or the damaging consequences of cancer, but I was wrong on both accounts. There is always a silver lining on the
darkest clouds if we look for it.