Deli Lady

I have been going to the same grocery store for the past several years. Their bread is second to none in in a 5+ mile radius.

I usually go shopping on Sundays and see the same salespeople every week. I pretty much know most of their names and chat briefly when I run into them.

The lady whom I often see at the deli is from the FSU. She is pretty happy and makes sure there’s the requisite ton of ham and hard salami nicely sliced before I arrive. She tells me about her son’s woes, who is in a premed program at a smaller school, but for some reason for two years already couldn’t enroll in a required class (something is fishy there, but who knows).

Today I find she used to be a medical doctor, 18 years. In order to be one in the US she would have to take exams and go through residency again, for which she says she would probably be placed outside of the city because she’s old. She says she actually doesn’t mind the deli job, that maybe 18 years of doing one thing is enough, and that she gets to chat with customers and think about which sandwiches she would make today and that it’s pretty nice.

Kudos to her.

I for one am a total immigrant whiner for ever complaining about my lot in life, with the awesome job that I didn’t have to retrain for. They trusted me I knew what the diplomas said I did,  I could just come to the US and continue building upon my education. I now have a nice life that enables me to buy large amounts of deli meat to feed my numerous carnivorous children, while being served by a lovely medically trained  lady whose education wasn’t quite as transferable, but who managers to stay positive and cheerful on top of everything.


  1. This is why I get nuts when people make comments about people just need to get an education if they want higher paying jobs. A lot of jobs come with a cost that many can’t afford. My dad is a floor manager for a manufacturing company, and many of the people who work for him come from various places in Asia. Some of them are incredibly well educated where they come from, but their degrees weren’t transferable. It happens quite a lot.

  2. Wow. Definitely puts things in perspective. Yes the “get more education to get better paying job” is enraging—many people can’t survive the loss of income it would take to go to school, not to mention actually paying for that school. AND the fact that there are many people with bachelors and masters degrees not able to get jobs in their fields, and taking on lower paying jobs to make ends meet.

  3. My sister in law has a Masters and eight years of practice in the US as a physical therapist, but to transfer her practice to another state she’s had to spend the last three years finishing a second BS degree to meet minimum practice requirements (her first degree is from her home country) and now she has to take the TOEFL again to prove she can speak English. It’s pretty insulting, and seems to be a theme in health care.

  4. I wouldn’t mind doing something low-key like run a small restaurant.

    Sometimes I wonder how ethical it is for us academics to be spending taxpayer money on esoteric academic quests when there are something like 2 billion people living without adequate food, water or shelter.

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