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Are You Ready for New York?

I moved to New York City over three years ago. I'd lived in DC and Philadelphia before, but it took me many months to navigate the city. It took me two months to figure out that cabs with a light on in the middle were empty, a year to learn about alternate street parking for cars (for friends who drive into the city), and one midnight trip on the subway to learn that different stops on the same street can land you in very different neighborhoods. (If you're visiting or new in town, check out hopstop.com for great directions and time estimates for travel)

Living and working in Manhattan can be complicated. As I'm based here, I offer my NYC Job Seekers Meetup for newcomers and veterans of the Manhattan employment market. I also recommend Vicki Salemi's book Big Career in the Big City: Land a Job and Get a Life in New York for emerging professionals seeking their first gig in Gotham.

A former recruiter at KPMG, Vicki recently gave a fabulous talk to my MeetUp group. I asked if she'd share the following quiz with you--for those of you deciding whether to move to New York or not...

What’s Your NYC-ability?

That’s right. I’m talkin’ your Manhattan mojo and moxie. The fire in your belly that simply says it’s NYC or bust, baby! Are you truly ready to become a Gotham gal? Or are you a shrinking violet and more comfortable in the country than the big city? It’s pop quiz time, diva!

1. The thought of getting on a crowded subway during rush hour where it’s literally flesh on flesh with odors of pickle breath or random briefcases shoved into your back is

a. Part of the New York experience! What an invigorating way to start the day. For real.

b. Less than ideal, but hey: If it’s the fastest way to get to work, I’ll have to deal.

c. Gross. I’ll walk or take the bus instead, thank you very much.

2. Paying $1,500 in rent, $15 each day for lunch, $4.50 in subway fares, not to mention other expenses is

a. Worth it. You get what you pay for and NYC is worth every penny.

b. A travesty, but hey: Even though I’ll be broke, at least I’ll be happy.

c. Absurd.

3. The idea of paying a ton of money to live in a tiny apartment with two roommates, a makeshift wall, and the occasional mouse is

a. Your typical no-frills housing situation. Bring it!

b. Ick, but still worth it in order to have my shiny new life.

c. Gross and unacceptable.

4. This Thursday night you can either jet downtown to a cocktail party at a gallery opening, gallivant uptown to a private industry event at a museum, go to happy hour in the Meatpacking District, catch a celebrity book signing at Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue, or chill at home.

You want to

a. Do it all! But alas, that’s not possible. So you’ll pick two events that are closest to each other, like the book signing and museum soiree, courtesy of a quick trip on the 6 train.

b. Take a deep breath and then focus on one event, like the cool gallery cocktail party. Ooh la la!

c. Chillax. Home sweet home all the way.

5. As you’re crossing the street and a messenger on a bicycle speeds past a red light, almost literally knocking you down to the pave- ment, you...

a. Curse him out at the top of your lungs.

b. Shake your head in disbelief and chalk it up to another day as a pedestrian.

c. Curse the dude in the loudest voice possible in your head, curse the city, and make your exit as soon as possible.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE BIG TIME? 

Answers:

Mostly As: Congratulations! A magnificent Manhattan life awaits and you’re clearly more than ready to bite into the Big Apple. The question though: Is it ready for you?

Mostly Bs: You’re almost there. It may take time to feel com- pletely ready to take on the land of the bright lights coupled with roaches, ridiculous rent prices, and a maxed-out social life. Be patient and realize that perhaps you should take baby steps by liv- ing in one of the boroughs.

Mostly Cs: New York City? Fughettabout it. Hate to break it to you, sweetheart, but since you didn’t exactly pass the test, there’s no need to push it. If you force it, you’ll be unhappy and home- sick. New Yawk isn’t going anywhere and will be here when you’re ready for its magic.

Find yourself in the A or B category? Let us know how we can help...

On the Job Hunt & The Listening Effect

I am pleased to announce that I've joined Susan Joyce and a host of other career management professionals on Job-Hunt.org.

I'm serving as the New Grads Job Search Expert on Job-Hunt, and will be writing a monthly column for the site. If you haven't checked out Job-Hunt.org before, I encourage you to do so. The site is very easy to navigate and includes comprehensive information to help you throughout your job search process--from getting started with your first job search to how to work with recruiters and deal with a tough career transition.

In my first piece for Job-Hunt, I shared stories from my own first job, work in career management, and lessons learned from rocket scientists as well as the proverbial "water under the bridge."

This month, I focus on the importance of listening. It's not a skill that you find frequently in aListening-ear position description, but your ability to be a strong active listener can make all the difference in the interview process--and once you get hired.

For the past year, I've been taking classes in storytelling from Narativ. I'm learning how to tell stories that make an audience lean forward. I'm learning strategies to tell what happened instead of how I feel about a situation. The Narativ methodology is helping me to become a better storyteller. But mainly, I am learning how to be a better listener...without listening, you lose impact--in your job, in your ability to work with others, in your ability to communicate.

The process of finding your first job--and positions after that--can be fraught with anxiety, self-doubt, and doubt: Am I really qualified to do this job? Do I have the experience that it takes? All too frequently, you may miss a really obvious skill---one that can make all the difference--and that you already have. The skill I am referring to, of course, is listening.

Several years ago, I watched an Ivy League senior with a 3.98 GPA from a relatively unpopulated state (let's call it Nebraska) participate in the selection rounds for a Rhodes Scholarship interview. He had a long list of organizations he'd been involved in as well as measurable achievements for his extracurricular efforts. But there wasn't a single activity that he was involved in that he didn't hold the top title--President, Captain, Chair. As he told the committee, "I just prefer to be in the leadership role."

He didn't get picked. The committee went with other candidates who had experience in simply serving as a committee member, a participant, a team player.

In the midst of everything, never forget: Employers are looking for great listeners who can follow directions! Often, they will hire you for this singular ability--and then teach you the rest.

That's my two cents on listening. Now I want to hear what you have to say...

Your Career & The "Premium Rush"

I live one block off Broadway on New York City's Upper West Side. This morning I was on the way to brunch with a friend, and I saw something unusual: two and a half blocks of cabs and cars all lined up on the street. Parked. Only a few of them were there. The street corners were packed with police officers, people wearing orange reflective vests, and people with microphones and wires in their ears.Traffic_blur

I heard one of them say, "How do you spell brunch?" as he typed out a message on his iPhone? And then, many of them came inside the restaurant to join my friend and I. We sat at separate tables.

I asked a few questions and learned that the crowd I saw had gathered together for a common goal: They are shooting stunts for a movie, Premium Rush. The movie is about a bike messenger, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who gets involved in a chase around the city. You can learn more about it on this blog, or via IMBD.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't in my neighborhood this morning. Apparently the shots that are being filmed are what you will see as he zooms through traffic, but he won't be shooting the stunt.

But before I left the scene, I did take a couple of mental pictures that I do want to share with you. It takes many staff to film a movie...more than I imagined. Did I mention there was an entire side street filled with trailers and production vehicles, too'?

Despite all the job reports--the stories about lack of jobs in entertainment, for recent grads, etc.--there were people of all ages taking place in the shoot. There were people moving large scale equipment, people working to direct traffic, people who specialized in communication, videographers, technicians, and security. If I were in the movie industry, I could tell you who else was there, too. But that's not what I do.

The mental picture I left with is just how many jobs there are--to take part in a big project. Not everyone gets to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt and star in a movie,or to perform stunts, or to work as a senior producer. But if you're in a rush to land the career you want, perhaps a good way to start is by finding out all the task that go into producing the finished product of your dream job--and then look for a side door.

Do you have any experience with this? Share.

To Your Success,

Chandlee

Networking: Why "Who You Know" Doesn't Count

This is my contribution to this month's Career Collective offering. Career Collective is a community of bloggers that gather together each month to share thoughts on a common topic. Up this month: Strategies and best practices for networking.Networking

Last week, I wrote about visiting my twin nieces at a summer camp which teaches leadership skills. They had a great experience. Now that they are home, they are setting goals of their own. And one of them--perhaps the most widely publicized one--is to see who can have the most friends on Facebook. At last count, they are in the 700's.

How many friends can you have? And how many is too many? Is it better to have the widest network possible? Or a small circle of trusted allies?

Several years ago, a friend shared with me an anecdote that has shaped my opinion on the dilemma ever since. My friend was the golf coach at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the friends he made during his time there was the late Walter Annenberg, former Ambassador, media mogul and founder of TV Guide.

During a round of golf, my friend was discussing his fundraising strategy with Mr. Annenberg. "It's not what you know, it's who you know, right?"

Mr. Annenberg shook his head; "No. It's who knows you back that counts."

Who knows you back? Who are the people that will return your calls, vouch for you, and help you out in a pinch? This, to me, is the essence of what a good network is--and the reason why I don't accept all friend and connection requests on LinkedIn or Facebook. I know the people I will know back. You?

Here are the other posts from Career Collective, read 'em and reap the benefits of their expertise.

  • 5 Little Secrets About Networking, @Careersherpa
  • Networking: Easy as 1, 2 , 3, @WorkWithIllness
  • How to Take the Intimidation Out of Networking, @heathermundell
  • Networking for the Shy and Introverted, @KatCareerGal
  • A tale of two networkers, @DawnBugni
  • Introvert or Extrovert: Tips for the Job Search No Matter Which 'Vert' You Are, @erinkennedycprw
  • Networking for Job Candidates Who Hate Networking, @heatherhuhman
  • Networking? Ugh! @resumeservice
  • Network, Network, Network, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
  • 3 ways to make networking fun for introverts and extroverts, @Keppie_Careers
  • Grow Your Career Networking Seeds Organically, @ValueIntoWords
  • Networking: It's a Way of Life, @WalterAkana
  • Social Media Networking & Your Career, @GayleHoward
  • Networking for the Networking-Phobic, @JobHuntOrg