I listen to CBC’s The Current radio show as I drive to work in the morning. A few months ago, there was a guest on the show who commented about how for so many immigrants who are skilled professionals, getting into the field they are trained in is very difficult because they have no Canadian experience, and they end up working as taxi drivers or in retail instead. He said that these educated, trained immigrants just need to be given a chance. When I heard that, I immediately thought of William Lee. He offered me my first job in Canada back in the 90’s. He gave me a chance. My family had landed in Canada three months prior and I had been applying for IT jobs the moment we arrived. I didn’t have much work experience and I definitely had no Canadian experience so I was feeling very anxious about my chances of finding a job in IT. But somehow, William decided to offer me the position and that first step set up my work life here in Canada. Without that first person taking a chance on me, who knows what work I would be doing today? William definitely affected my life in a very positive way.
The funny story I will always remember from that time is how I addressed William as Mr. Lee. Everyone else in the team called him William but being my boss, I couldn’t bring myself to call him that. In the Philippines, addressing your boss by their first name is considered very disrespectful! William let me call him Mr. Lee, and enjoyed that time immensely, until I felt “Canadian” enough to call him William.
As I drove to work that morning, I felt that I should let William know of the impact he had on my life. We had lost touch over the years and I took a mental note that I should add this to my to do list. About a month ago, I finally got around to looking for him. I didn’t know if the email I had still worked. I decided to check LinkedIn and Facebook. I found him on Facebook and sent him a message to say hi. A couple of days later, I got a response and we made plans to meet up. I also told him about why I went in search of him and officially thanked him for taking a chance on me.
Ed, Sophia, and I had dim sum with William a week ago. It was so wonderful to see him again, to catch up on each other’s lives, and reminisce about the past, too. The last time we spoke must have been 14 years ago but we just picked up where we left off. He is still the same as I remember him, and I was very glad that Ed and Sophia got to meet him too. I am so happy I made the effort to reach out and reconnect. And I will make sure that it won't take another 14 years for us to get together again!