The American Dream is Not for Everybodyby Valeria Fanelli
When Elizabeth Hendren moved to Chicago from Birmingham, she was very excited to start a new life with her husband and though she would have soon found a job to continue the career she started in England.
Hendren, 29, moved to the U.S. in 2007, a year after she married Andy Hendren.
“After I got married I wanted to stay with my job in England, so we waited until I got my green card and then I moved,” she said.
Hendren is a blond young woman with a British accent and a romantic look on her eyes that shine every time she mentions her husband.
She could have moved to the U.S. after she got married, but that would have meant leaving her job and the career she already started in England.
When she finally moved to the U.S. she was not able to find a job in her field and had to take other kinds of jobs that were not related to her studies.
In England, she earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and before she moved to the U.S. she worked as a police officer with victims of crime and in a women’s shelter.
“Other than voluntary work [in the U.S.] I haven’t been able to find any paid work in domestic violence,” Hendren said. “That’s probably has been my biggest challenge. I moved here and I already had my career started in England and I earned good money. I thought I have moved here and easily found something. It just did not work in that way.”
Hendren has been in Chicago for more than four years and changed job several times. She worked in retail, administrative jobs, and in offices. She feels lucky because her husband can support her, but she would have liked to continue here the career she started in England.
“I was going in the right direction in England and then I was moving to America to live the dream and that’s not what it is. There’s no American dream other than the fact that I am happily married,” she said.
Her voice sounded sadly disappointed while she was talking about the frustration of not finding a job, but her tone became gradually happier when she started talking about her life in the U.S. with her husband.
Hendren said she is thankful that she does not need a highly paid salary to make a living because her husband supports her, but at the same time she suffers because she cannot find the job she studied for.
All the jobs she was able to find in her field were underpaid or voluntary.
“The field I want to work on is based on grants and charities. [Companies] do not have the money. They are not just hiring anybody,” she said.
Hendren said she would like to get a master degree but she is afraid that after spending a lot of money for her education, she would not be able to find a decent job anyways.
She said she loves the city of Chicago and tries to enjoy all the opportunities that the windy city has to offer. She also said she misses her family and the life she had in England, but she doesn’t regret she moved here.
“I miss home terribly, I miss the familiarity of home,” she said. “I miss being able to ask for something in a restaurant and people being able to understand what I asked for, even though I speak English as a first language.”
Hendren said she will continue looking for a job and hope one day she will be able to continue the career she started in England.