I am a housewife. I have not worked for 20 years, never in the U.S., most recently in Singapore. I have never worked outside of Singapore.

However, I have a Ph.D. in physics from the Indian Institute of Science (top research university in India) and was gold medalist in my batch in physics in graduate school and have overall excellent academic credentials.

With all of this information given, what do you guys think of my chances of getting a technical job in the U.S. if I start applying right away? Technical job meaning anywhere from elementary school teacher to a position as a faculty member (academia). Thanks in advance for your time and input.

By the way, I am a U.S. citizen.

  • 3
    Hello Anonymous, welcome to The Workplace. Your question shares a lot in common with workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/11568/…. Can you take a look at that question and if none of the answers answer your question, can you edit this one to clarify differences? Hope this helps! :) – jmort253 Oct 13 '13 at 2:08
  • To be a teacher would likely require certifications that you don't have. If your Physics degree is old that could also be an issue as most places would want you to be up to speed on the latest research rather than someone that has to start from scratch. While you could apply, I'd likely think there are various requirements that may be a challenge for you to be honest. – JB King Oct 13 '13 at 4:46
  • Are you a US citizen or married to one? My husband was a British citizen and one of the top in his field, but we had to use a fiancé visa to get him here because it's just so hard to get a work visa. If you are not already authorized to work in the US, I would say your chances are nearly zero. – Amy Blankenship Oct 13 '13 at 14:03
  • I am a US citizen and already authorized to work in the US. – user10857 Oct 13 '13 at 16:11
  • If you are having difficulties overcoming some aspect of the job hunt we can help. But currently this question is not currently well suited for the SE Q&A format. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Oct 14 '13 at 2:51

Your odds of getting a job that would bring you to the US are pretty low. But if you are already in the US, you have a few options.

First, I'd suggest substitute teaching; it doesn't pay great, but technical types are always needed badly, and it would give you an entry point.

Second, internship or entry-level jobs may work out if they're for an organization that will eventually have a paying job up your alley.

Third, you really need to get back to school and refresh your background, if you can possibly afford it. There may even be special scholarships or funding for someone returning to school at this point in life.

The most important thing I'd stress is that you need to show that you are keeping up with the times and are eager to learn. I'm older than you, but I get along with my highly-technical colleagues because instead of thinking "I'm too old to learn all that", I am eager to learn the latest technologies and hone my expertise.

The hard part for you, I suspect, is that what you did academically is irrelevant, as is the last 20 years. It's going to be all about what you can do now, what you can contribute and what you can learn to do well that is relevant to today's world.

Use all your energy to get started on it right away. If you need to go into a new field, well, there are a number of areas of software engineering that are always short of capable people; there are especially areas of web development that involve programming that's in demand. But don't go to a community college for "web design"; that will be useless. Instead, find a way to develop websites, even if you have to do it for free for a while, just to show off skills, and focus on programming -- Java first, PHP, Ruby on Rails, etc. -- see what's in demand.

Thanks to the fear that companies have about discrimination lawsuits, if you can actually do the job, you are likely to land an interview if only as an "alternate" candidate. But you can't do it based on your past; you have to become a "now" person who is useful in 2013.

Short of that, you probably could get a job at McDonald's, or something even less desireable.