On the last day of 2022

Time has been flying, in the blink of an eye, we are on the last day of 2022!

The work and life have been busy, but there are not much significant or memorable events emerging throughout this year, until the middle of December.

I took a solo trip to Santa Barbara in order to temporarily escape from a sudden cold front at Minnesota. One of the goals for me to go to central California was to visit couple of places which left marks deep in my heart.

One of them is Santa Maria. It is a small city located at California’s Central Coast region. On September 1997 I tool my first engineering job at Seagate Recording Tape Technology which was then located at Santa Maria.

Filled with excitements and ambitions I was working so hard trying to invent some kinds of technologies to move the company forward. Young and single I worked at company’s lab on almost every weekends.

While feeling myself climbing towards the top of the mountain, the reality poured a bucket of ice-cold water onto my over-heated head and washed me down to the bottom of the valley.

The rumors of potential company-wide layoffs started flying around at the end of 1997, but I didn’t take it seriously and get prepared. I never imaged that such an ill-fate would strike somebody like me, young, smart and well educated.

However it actually did!

When my manager announced that I was among the employees who were impacted by the layoff, I was stunned. It was in the middle of January 1998, by then I had been working for only three and half months.

To make things worse I didn’t have permanent residency (green card) at that time, only with company sponsored H1B visa. This meant that I had to find another position to continuously sponsor my status of H1B within next sixty days otherwise I would be deported by immigration authorities.

I was struggling to put myself together and stand up on my feet. I either couldn’t sleep all night long or had nightmares of being handcuffed by police officers then being forced to leave US.

Once a stranger stopped me at grocery store, asked me “you look sad, are you ok, do you need any help?”. Without saying anything, I ran away with tear streaming down my face. The dreams I had while I first stepped into this country was at that moment shattered.

I felt that I was crawling in a complete darkness without any directions.

In spite of my depression and hopeless, my colleagues still had confidence in me after viewing my hard work prior to let go. They used all of their connections in the industry to help me search any available positions. Their kindness was not in vain. I got an offer from another department at Seagate three weeks later, and I was relocated from California to Minnesota.

During following years I settled down at the twin cities areas, grew in my career, completed MBA at Carlson School of Management and went ahead to become a data scientist.

But above all accomplishments in my career I met with my husband, the love my life, to start a family. We had a beautiful daughter later.

While looking back I became grateful of the experience of being let go, without it all I have right now would not have happened. Most importantly I learned a lesson that everything happens with a reason. We should keep calm and patient when life throws a curveball to us, with a belief every successful person has a painful story and every painful story has a bright ending.

Always accept the pain and get ready for pleasant gain later!

The Seagate facility at Santa Maria was long closed. I still managed to find the place where I worked for three and half months. I took a picture as a souvenir of the trip.

After visiting Santa Maria, I drove to Solvang, which is a village in southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley. It’s known for its Danish-style architecture and many wineries. I went there couple of times while working at Santa Maria. I remember the delicious danish sausages I tasted, but I couldn’t find the store anymore. I bought a box of danish chocolate as a Christmas gift for my daughter.

I can’t believe over twenty years has passed since the last time I came to Solvang. Even though my life has changed a lot since then, the windmill and those charming buildings / stores still look the same.

I will not set any significant new year resolutions, I just wish to take any opportunities and enjoy each day while I can.

Happy New Year to all my readers!

4 thoughts on “On the last day of 2022

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