Check out the latest in our #PGProfiles series, and meet the one and only Farook Khan! Need some inspiration? Want some wisdom? Farook is your man! He is a superstar and a key player in our Legal and Compliance team's success. Get ready for an adventure around the world and probably some of the best life advice you've had all week.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am the last - #11 in the family of seven sisters and four brothers. Strange coincidence, the only other #11 child in a family that I have met in my life is Bobby Herrera, the president of Populus Group. He mentioned he is #11 of the family of 13 in the Basecamp I happened to be in where he was present.
I hail from the grand old city called Hyderabad in Southern India. I was 18 when I left home and migrated to Montreal, Canada, where French was the spoken language of the majority. It was a pleasant surprise, the Canadian French are wonderful people. I had zero/zilch linguistic abilities in French but it was fun and a challenge learning French and sometimes, the only way out was sign language using my hands. It worked well for me. I still dabble in French when I am in Montreal.
Experiencing real snow for the first time in my life was another adventure in Montreal. I quickly learned the dangers of the great north and exposure to Minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. My first introduction to snow and cold was a frostbite on my left ear in a snowstorm within the first two months of arrival. A lesson for life. Now in winter, without fail, I always wear a toque, which is what a wool hat is called in Canada.
Life started in Montreal with work in my brother's restaurant. I did it all—waiter, bartender, chef, and busboy. Got my first real job in the corporate world in the accounting department of a Petroleum company as a Price Clerk, preparing manual invoices for petroleum deliveries to gas stations. Gradual exposure to technology in the corporate world lead me years later into a role implementing financial accounting systems. Consulting in accounting systems got me to move to the U.S. I then grew into managing technology teams at an IT company on large outsourcing engagements across geographies and that company brought me to Michigan in 1999.
How did you come to work at PG?
It was a very unique experience of landing a job offer. There is a saying, “When things have to happen, they happen.” It was November 2016, I came to pick up my wife, Bismah, who also works at PG. I happened to strike up a conversation with one of the Immigration Specialists that worked on the Legal and Compliance team. He asked me about my background, which included working with various foreign nationals in technology across geographies for consulting organizations. His next sentence was, “We may have a job for you.” The next thing I knew, I had an interview with the Immigration Counsel and the Immigration Operations Supervisor. Populus Group needed someone with a wide range of experience in managing IT individuals.
I was hired to support our STEM OPT (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics - Optional Practical Training) workforce of foreign national students with their USCIS work authorizations that are deployed by PG. Here I am, six years later working my ideal job with PG that I thoroughly enjoy.
What team do you work on, and how would you describe your job to a bunch of 5-year-olds?
I work with the Legal and Compliance team! And I would say, I help people that work in my company (PG) with things they studied at school. I make sure they are learning things that will help them later with a better job when they grow up. I check their report cards and sign them so that their school knows that I have been watching over them doing great things at work.
What's the best advice you'd give someone who just started their career?
- Trust – Build it, protect it, and never let it break. The most important piece of life’s puzzle, and the most difficult to rebuild once broken.
- Responsibility – One must take responsibility for all one's actions right or wrong. Neglect responsibility and there will be a question mark on your ability.
- Commitment – Have an attitude of whatever it takes. There is no easy road to fulfilling your dreams. Don’t spin your wheels trying an easy way out.
- Being Grateful – Be grateful for what you have and even for what you lose. Perhaps the loss is of benefit to you that you don’t know or are unable to perceive. Value what you have and do not take it for granted. All earthly belongings will not satisfy you if you do not relish what you have for the moment. The past is gone and the future is yet to be discovered.
What was the job you earned your 1st paycheck?
I worked as a busboy, picking up dishes in the very classy Hotel Queen Elizabeth, in Montreal Canada.
What 3 items would you take with you to a deserted island?
- A fishing net
- A box of matches—the seafood needs to be cooked!
- Something to sleep on
If you could get a new skill in 10 minutes, what would it be?
I would choose to learn magic! 🎩🐇
What's your secret talent that no one knows about?
I play the harmonica!
Recommend a book you recently read.
Muhammad the World Changer – A biography of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam (Peace be Upon Him). His personal life from orphan to a political leader. Author: Mohamad Jebara
If you were a sauce, which would you be and why?
I would actually create my own! It would be FK’S Hot Sauce—add zest to every morsel.