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“Everybody was telling me you’ve got to start from the bottom”

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Trinidadian professional jumpstarts U.S. career with Upwardly Global

In 2022, Mandy arrived in the U.S. with very few career expectations, but kept hearing one thing repeatedly: She would have to start at the bottom.

This reality not only disheartened her, but it also wouldn’t pay the bills. When she and her 6-year-old daughter relocated from the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago to be with her husband in New York City, Mandy knew her family would require much more from her.

“When I got married and decided to fully transition and move, I was so scared in terms of finding a job because everybody was telling me you’ve got to start from the bottom and come back up,” she remembers. “I was finding it really hard to accomplish so much — work for over 15 years — and know my worth, and then come to the ‘land of opportunities,’ as they would say, and start back at the bottom.”

In Trinidad, Mandy had earned an associate’s and bachelor’s degree in health and safety. She then spent over 15 years as a Health and Safety Specialist in the oil and gas sector, often traveling between Trinidad and the U.S. for work. During that time, Mandy met her now husband in the U.S., and she gave birth to their daughter in 2018.

Facing roadblocks to jumpstarting her career in the U.S.

During her first year in the U.S., Mandy grappled with feeling like she made the wrong decision to uproot her life and career. Although her family was finally living under one roof, her job search took a major toll.

“I wasn’t sleeping — just running on fumes. I was really stressed physically, mentally, everything,” she says. “For some jobs, I did three or four interviews, thinking, ‘Okay, you’re coming close today,’ and then being ghosted. I wouldn’t hear anything. That was really a stressful period.”

After applying for over 50 jobs, Mandy “stumbled” upon Upwardly Global through an online search in 2023. Immediately after matching with her career coach and professional mentor, her story changed completely.

An opportunity to restart her career at her skill level

“When I found Upwardly Global during my search, I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t necessarily have to start at the bottom,” she says. “[My mentor] broke down what kinds of salaries to look for, what kinds of companies to look for. I felt like I had a roadmap.”

With resume, cover letter, and interview training as well as personalized mentorship, Mandy learned how to broadcast her expertise in the U.S. style. However, as she progressed in her job search, her main worry shifted to finding affordable and accessible childcare for her young daughter.

“This was my big fear,” she says. “There was a job I wanted to take, but it didn’t fit with my schedule or my daughter’s schedule. With childcare and everything, I needed to make sure I picked the right job.”

Finding the perfect job with Upwardly Global

Soon afterwards, in July of 2023, she found the perfect opportunity — a role as an Environmental Health Safety Specialist at NewYork-Presbyterian

“I am so grateful to have landed a job in my field — a great salary, great perks,” she says. “They’re family-oriented — they don’t make you work late. I mean, I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Nearly a year later, Mandy is now a star employee. She’s currently in talks about a promotion that would elevate her to the exact same level she achieved in Trinidad and Tobago.

“So far, it’s been a pretty good balance with my daughter’s childcare and with my job,” she says. While she hopes to continue advancing her career, her story is looking up. “Honestly, I’m sleeping better now. I’m so grateful to be in the place I am now.”

Want to find meaningful work with Upwardly Global and help immigrants and refugees restart their careers in the U.S.? Find all of our current job openings here.

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