Most people think you’ve already made it when you move to New York City. “New YAWK!” they would exclaim when I returned home to North Carolina for the first time since my move. “Don’t you just looove it?” people would coo before offering up their own favorite part of the city, which usually included a department store trip or a Broadway show or some “cute little restaurant” in Soho. “Best city in the world!” I’d nod with gritted teeth. I didn’t just love it. And I wasn’t going to Soho for anything, ever. Because in 2008, my New York City revolved around a miserable job, an isolated apartment on the Upper East Side (that might as well have been in New Jersey) and a $5 a day spending cap for food. Which is totally doable, as long as you like ramen noodles and hot dogs.
I graduated college in 2007 with little-to-nothing figured out about my life. Aside from waiting tables, my only work experience was a short gig as an intern for a local indie record label my sophomore year. My bosses there were dudely dudes who wore jeans and holey shirts and cursed like truckers and listened to CDs on hi-fi speakers all day long. SWEET, I thought. Best job ever. Where do I sign up to do this for real? I spent my post-grad summer working on the Warped Tour with a non-profit that was based out of Colorado, and walked away feeling totally convinced that the music biz was for me. The Warped Tour was like summer camp for grown-ups. The industry itself was not.
The non-profit couldn’t afford to make me full-time, but I ended up spending a year in Denver anyways with two emotionally unstable roommates and a job in fine dining. It was admittedly, not awesome, save for a few really solid friends that kept me afloat during some super dark times — like when I left the looney bin and lived out of my car for a week while I was looking for a place of my own. “True Life: Everything I Own Is In This Xterra.” Dark times, my friends. If you’re wondering where this is all going and how I ended up in New York, I swear I’m getting there. Besides, this is the long-story-short version anyways.
Long-story-short, while I was goofing off in Denver, I met a guy that lived outside Manhattan and we dated long-distance for about 4 months before I decided to move back home, save up some money and start my “adult” life in the Big Apple. Nothing had really clicked for me in Colorado, so I figured it was time to get my rear in gear and pursue the music biz for real.
Flash forward to ramen and hot dogs. Let’s call this chapter of my life, “When It Rains, It Pours.” Here are some things nobody told me about moving to New York:
#1. The Upper East Side is not Gossip Girl: I lived with a friend from college on East 83rd between York and East End, which is basically IN the East River. It took me 20 minutes to walk to the nearest subway and another 30 to get to my office in Chelsea. There were lots of strollers and old people. Fancy parties and pretty dresses for me to wear? Not so much.
#2: Being able to wear jeans to work does not a fun job make: Within two weeks of arriving in the city, I scored an admin job at a music booking agency. (On Craigslist. I found my job on Craigslist, which should have been a red flag, but HELLO! I had a salary for the first time in my life.) I typically worked 10-hour days, dealt mostly with the minutia of artist contracts and Staples orders and got yelled at a lot.
#3: NEVER TRUST BOYS: Just kidding. But I did go through a horrific break-up with my long-distance dude four months into my new life, and what no one bothered to tell me was that New York, especially during the winter, can be a very lonely place.
Sponsored by: Dove - Download the self-esteem tools here.