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.
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?
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...