Tri State Counseling – A New York State of Mind
Moved as a family sponsored immigrant with sufficient education and skills, I realized are not enough in the US. Having worked in minimum wages @ $ 5.83 an hour was a slap in my ego in 1988 but did it as a way to survive in Community News at No 60, Waltham Street, Waltham MA 02154 – a customer service unit of Boston Globe and working in odd hours and all holidays including Labor Day to Thanks Giving to Christmas to Independence. Work is never ending, I thought but my survival skills helped me stay with at least food/shelter post 1987 depression in Massachusetts. There were several barriers including education, racial and other barriers that I did not know existed in US as I came to look for my dreams to be a reality.
Being a trained Clinical Social Worker in Bangalore 1978 with graduate degree followed by MBA/M Tech in Industrial Management from Indian Institute of Science 1979 and a LLB degree were too much for the level jobs available. With reluctance, I removed all my degrees from my CV and started putting just High School diploma in my applications. Got a part time job in October 14, 1988 to be precise in Boston Globe Customer Service. Vowed to work myself, worked many hours per week just to survive and in the meantime, did 43 improvements to Customer Service Screen. One day the Manager called me and told that I cannot put up my improvements to the Senior Management except through him, if I need to hold, my hours in Boston Globe at Community New News. I agreed willingly as I had no intention of growing in the field but worked diligently in the nearly 2 year work. Worked to get my Masters in Human Services Management from Brandeis University, where minorities were ignored and castigated literally. Graduated in May 1990 and left Massachusetts for my life in New York. During the 2 years, applied for my CSW Certification at NYS, consolidating my education stand and took license exam. Passed license exam in 1990 though it was given after 12 years completing MSW in India in 1978, As I was too good in studies, or at that time, I had a penchant for exams, boards etc. but do remember helped by a kind soul Norman Cohen, then Executive Secretary of New York Board of Social Workers in Albany. He strengthened my spirits, advised to file an appeal as CSW had a technical condition to license foreign graduates in Social Work after 2 years of job experience even though they passed the license examination.
I had no money for license exam as I had to save little at a time and pay for exam. Absolutely no money for preparation classes. Libraries were my friends and determination was my Guru (Guide) I have tried to edit the sad and depressing stories of being rejected for Internship at NYS department of Labor as I had more qualifications than the Deputy Director of Labor in 1990 and refused a job though I topped list as among the Serial No. 6 out of 23 candidates who were slated for final interview/positions. Refused to file a claim under Equal Opportunity Employment Act as I did not want to beg for job under an act. I decided, I will fight alone the battle, if need be but not surrender.
Joined on basis of MSW at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx NY, a hospital that had multiple services and became good in what I was able to do in Social Work in Medical and Psychiatric field. For 5 years I worked as non-stop train in motion in 1995-1995. Learnt a lot, helped many and established as Mobile Crisis Team Supervisor for Lincoln Hospital. Learnt a lot of skills at Lincoln Hospital and also started a part time job at Community Counseling and Mediation under Mr. Brooks. He was sympathetic to my story but cannot help my financial status by giving higher rate than the rest of therapist. Worked part-time for 12 years from 1994 and in other places to earn money, skills, techniques and further education.
Joined OMH in 1995 and worked in chronic inpatient Psychiatric Center in Brooklyn, NY which was a final training ground in Mental Health. As always, good and bad memories followed me faithfully as good and bad luck. In the meantime, continued my education for MS in Education for School Administration and Supervision from Queens College with GPA 3.88 out of 4. Learnt under great educators like Dr. Seiferth and worked in Department of Education NYC for 4 years 1999-2004.
Health was always my major concern and intermittent failure of health became serious in 2003 leading to Heart Surgery in 2003 at age 46. It was a final warning for me but a startup of my private practice. Tossed idea to start or not to start and had various objections from home and friends. Finally, I mustered my strength to start Tri State Counseling in November 2006. Started from scratch as a business man in my own capacity. I had licenses for Principal of a school at all levels and as an administrator for all types of jobs. Slowly started putting them in a folder and forget. Had my professional malpractice from American Professional Agency since 1994, Hiscox since 2014 and today, I am established myself as a standing of a small business owner with revenues from $ 200,000 to $ 300,000. At age 60, when I look the roads I crossed, I have mixed feeling, perhaps a sense of belonging in American life, which always encouraged me to fight odds,
I am happy to have learned that
(a) I can do something
(b) I cannot do everything and
(c) I can do few things well between a and b.
What did I learn? Where I am going?? (Quo Wadis?? (in French)
Zest for life checks pace of death
There is no substitute for hard work