My name is Laura Lacatis and I currently live in Toronto, Canada.
What I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments so far – that has also involved a high risk – was moving from Romania, Europe to Canada on my own several years ago without having a job offer or knowing anyone here. This entailed leaving behind an established career in Sales within a Fortune 500 company and everything that was familiar to me, on a quest to pursue the so-called American Dream. Little I knew back then about the challenges that I’d encounter, as starting over your life and career is anything but easy, especially when the only person you can rely on is yourself.
I still recall some of my friends’ words before leaving: “This is insane, why are you doing this?” or “I’m giving you 6 months or maybe 1 year and then you’ll be back” or “Come to your senses. You’ll never be able to make it all by yourself out there, it’s just too hard”… and I could go on. To me at that time this move didn’t feel like such a big deal, but once I arrived in Canada and mentioned it to people living here, they seemed quite impressed and suggested that I share my story with others, whenever I have the chance.
Truth to be told, most people I know have immigrated either in their youth with their parents, or later on in life with their spouses, or have applied for a job transfer. In any case, there are very few who have decided to jump off the cliff with no safety net, and I must admit that my friends were right on this aspect. However, my perspective in life has changed dramatically when I lost my father at the age of 19 and had to find the resilience to move on, regardless of my circumstances. From my standpoint, the way to go forward in my situation had to be different, I’ve had to gather my strengths and be bold.
When I graduated from University a couple of years later, I’ve realized that with my limited work experience the chances of finding great employment were quite slim. But somehow my instinct told me to look at the possibilities, instead of focusing on the obstacles, so I’ve started to visualize my ideal workplace in as much detail as possible. This, of course, sounded like nonsense to many, but the book that I was reading back then had many successful stories of people practicing autosuggestion and visualization – and after all, I had nothing to lose by testing them.
At the same time, I’ve also took action by researching the most reputable companies that had offices in my country. Once I’ve narrowed them down to just one, a Fortune 500 company, I focused all my energy into making my dream a reality. To everyone’s surprise and despite all odds, my efforts have paid off – and if you wish, you can find the detailed story here.
The reason I chose Sales is because I love working with people and also, I felt that it offered the greatest return on investment – meaning, that if I was willing to do my best to achieve or exceed the assigned targets, the income potential was uncapped. Having a fixed income within the salary range offered by a position (especially at the average salary levels in Romania) was simply not satisfactory to me – and so if I wanted a different outcome, I had to test my potential and get paid for my results, not just my title.
I’m of the opinion that we deliver the best results when we team up with the right people, work toward a common goal, and love what we do. To this day I think it was one of my best decisions, as I’ve received many awards from that company during my tenure there and it has contributed significantly to my personal and professional development.
After several years of working there and being promoted three times, I felt that I’ve reached a plateau and it was time for me to further my career. Meanwhile, I’ve come to realize that professional growth options were quite limited in the regional office I was working at, the only alternative being to relocate to the company’s Head Office, in the capital of the country – which didn’t quite appeal to me.
The Turning Point
At that point I’ve started to analyze my options and after going through multiple interviews at various companies, including one in Vienna (Austria), I’ve realized that none of them was able to match what my organization at that time was offering. As a result, I’ve made the decision to go through a difficult and lengthy immigration process to further pursue my goals in Canada.
The requirements were quite strict and to qualify as an applicant there was a benchmark that needed to be met in terms of education, work experience, languages spoken, medical exam, and last but not least, substantial funds (for the process itself, as well as to provide self-support after landing). In my case as a single applicant it was even tougher, as I had to compensate for the points that were gained by families (for having a spouse and/or children).
Long story short, in addition to already speaking English I’ve also learned French in a record time of 5 months, sold my posessions, passed the interviews and all other requirements – and within 1,5 years I’ve proudly become a Canadian permanent resident.
Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld
And that’s how I’ve started a new chapter in my life. At the same time, I’ve realized that regardless of how much you read about relocating and living in a new country, nothing can prepare you for reality until you experience it on your own. It’s easy to think positive when things go well in all areas of your life; but the real test of faith is when life taps you on the shoulder and throws challenges at you. During those times it’s hard to maintain your optimism – however, being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don’t have to sit on it!
To tell the truth, starting over has placed me on an emotional roller coaster. In fact, during the first couple of years working in entry level jobs there were many times when I thought about giving up altogether and going back, as having to downgrade that much seemed like a very high price to pay. At the same time, my instinct told me to keep going and instead, I motivated myself to overcome the obstacles encountered and allowed them to guide me in the right direction. Fast forward to today, I’m a dual citizen, have learned some valuable life lessons along the way, and gained additional work experience in renowned companies, including the iconic Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
Ultimately, my goal is to step into a role where I could bring value by utilizing my full potential, within a company where employee well-being, visionary thinking, and commitment to excellence are at the core of the business – because I’m constantly looking for ways to challenge myself, learn new skills, and go out of my comfort zone. At the end, what we can or cannot do is up to us; motivation comes from within and it’s a matter of perspective – testing our limits can bring to light strengths (or weaknesses) that we weren’t even aware of having. I’ve come to realize that I wouldn’t be who I am today if not for all the challenges, obstacles, and difficulties encountered so far – and am grateful for them all, as I’ve now learned to appreciate things through contrast instead of just taking them for granted.
Feel free to connect by sending me a message either through social media (top of the page) or by using the form on the Contact page.
Would love to hear from you!
Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. ~ Steve Jobs