Caspian Sea

I. Where are you from? a. Iran b. Tehran c. Tehranpars County II. What things do you remember from your childhood? d. A lot of moves from one apartment to another e. Discrimination at school due to my religion f. My father’s bankruptcy g. Youngest child of three boys III. What are some of your favorite memories? h. Summer next to Caspian Sea i. Playing Ping-Pong with my friends after school IV. What were you like as a teenager? j. Lived in three different countries. Iran, Turkey, and USA k. Trying to settle in one place to be able to execute my plans l. Planning, Planning, and Planning V. What jobs have you had in your life? m. Cashier at a Chevron gas station n. English Teacher in a refugee camp for United Nations. o. Logistics Supervisor for Apria Healthcare p. Assistant manager for Domino’s Pizza VI. What are your greatest achievements so far? q. Bought a house when I was 21 years old r. Two promotions in a year at Apria Healthcare s. Keeping up with school while working fulltime VII. What are your personal, professional, and academic goals? t. Work in executive level in Apria Healthcare u. Continue my education to Masters and PHD in Business v. Being able to have an educated and successful family

A Lifetime Planning for a Successful Future What do you want to be in the future? How big do you want your house to be? What kind of car? Do you want to even stay in Iran or live in another country? These were the questions I asked myself as a kid as I was growing up. Youngest of three boys, I was born in a Baha’i family in an Islamic country, Iran. Observing my parents going through the daily obstacles of life made me a person who always planned for future. Looking at the last 23 years of my life, I can break it down to three different important periods.

My experiences in Iran, Turkey, and U.S. with all the pleasant and unpleasant memories helped developing into the person I am today. I was born in Tehranpars in an educated family. My father is an electronics engineer graduated from Tehran’s Azad University before the revolution in 1979 and my mother is a hair stylist and she was graduated and then instructed at Ziba Beauty Institute in Tehran. Being a minority in an Islamic country, I really had to watch the way I behaved and spoke as child. The first few years of school wasn’t that difficult being that Baha’i kid in an Islamic school, however, it started to change in eighth grade.

At that point I was dealing with fanatic Muslim kids who believed Islam is the only religion in the world and if you are not one, then there is a problem. Due to our financial situation, we had to move to another apartment every six months to a year and that came with changing school every time we moved. It was difficult but I made through the high school but deep inside me there was always a voice telling me I have to do something. It was telling that I have to make a big step and do something with my life.

I knew I had to do something as Kirby mentions “The development of an identity requires opportunity for exploration and is ultimately born out of a strong sense of self and self-confidence.”(Kirby, 2011, Pg. 108) Right around the end of high school, as I was thinking about what I want to do with my life, I only saw two options ahead of me. First option was to stay in Iran and just work in shop for the rest of my life because I couldn’t continue my education in Iran as a Baha’i.

I could ignore my beliefs and just say I’m Muslim, but that’s a lie and I couldn’t even consider it. What I decided to do, which was my second option, was to move to Turkey and claim myself as refugee to United Nations. At the age of 17, I chose to leave my country and more importantly, my family, behind and started my journey in Turkey. I knew that I was going to miss the summer days next Caspian Sea and family camping every now and then, but I had to do something to make a future for myself. I lived in Turkey close to two years and I learned many different things there.

I learned more about their culture, food, language. After six months, I could actually speak broken Turkish which eased managing my life a little bit. Using my English background and the years I went to private English institute in Tehran, I was able to get a job at UN as an English teacher for refugees in Turkey. I was able to teach basic daily conversation to refugees who were waiting to obtain the visa to move to United States. Besides work, I played in many pool tournaments and I was able to become first in 3 of those tournaments.

Finally after three interviews with US embassy, I was able obtain my visa to come to United States. I was 19 and ready to make something out of my life. It was an achievement just to get to this point at my age. As soon as I arrived in Los Angeles, I knew there is no more time to sit back and do nothing. I had to start executing everything I ever planned that last few years. I had to live with my uncle for a while, but after a few days I started looking for a job. I was putting applications anywhere I could from warehouse jobs to cashier position at gas stations. Finally, Chevron was the place for me to start my first job in the US.

Since I didn’t have a car I bought a bike from Walmart and rode my bike about 18 miles round trip every day. I had to ride my bike in cold and hot, early morning and late night, but overall it was fun because I knew there was something bright waiting for me in a near future. Few months later, I was promoted to a Lead Cashier and with the extra money, I bought my first car, a 1992 Toyota Camry.

After working about a year and half for Chevron and another promotion to an Assistant Manager, it was time for another important change in my life. I was able to find one of my friends, Daisy, in Facebook that I haven’t seen for more than seven years. She was changed and totally unrecognizable. She lived in Phoenix, Arizona so it wasn’t really far from Los Angeles. We started visiting each other every other weekend. She would come to LA for different concerts and we had lots of fun.

After a few months our relationship moved into something bigger. Considering the life expenses in LA and my goal to continue education, I moved to Arizona to be closer to her and also achieve my other goals easier. I had to work for Domino’s Pizza for a while as an Assistant Manager before I could find the job I have now. Daisy’s brother worked for Apria Healthcare at the time and he asked if I like to get into a healthcare job. I took the chance and started my career in Apria. Within 8 months, I was offered a lead position over the pharmacy network.

Meanwhile, I started taking classes at Glendale Community College fulltime. Working fulltime along with being a fulltime student wasn’t the easiest thing to do at the time but it had to be done. After 18 months, I was able to save enough money to buy a house for myself which I believe it was one of my biggest achievements at the age of 21. Advancement didn’t stop there. After seven months, I was offered another promotion in Apria to work as a Logistics Department Supervisor and a few months after, I transferred my classes to Ashford University.

Looking at my past, I believe I made every effort to keep my life on track and I was successful. In my late childhood years, I was able to make an image of myself and determine where I want to be in life. Identifying my goals and executing them over time is what made me who I am today as Witt and Mossler put in their Adult Development and Life Assessment “In this stage, teenagers try to discover who they really are, their self-identity, including their sexual identity, and what they want to do in life.” (Witt & Mossler, 2010, Pg. 56)

References Witt, G. A & Mossler, R. A (2010). Adult Development and Life Assessment. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Kirby, A. A., Edwards, L. L., & Sugden, D. D. (2011). Emerging Adulthood and Developmental Co-ordination Disorder. Journal Of Adult Development, 18(3), 107-113. doi:10.1007/s10804-011-9123-1