Should I Move to New York City?
My answer was no. And then it was yes. And then I jumped back and forth between the two until (spoiler alert) I decided that now was the perfect and probably only time I should move to New York City.
Should you move to New York City?
If you're thinking about it, you probably already have a pretty good reason to make the jump. But let's talk this out.
Have a damn good reason and be able to explain it in one sentence.
My damn good reason number one was my fiancé. He had an opportunity to build his career in New York City, with jobs that just aren't available in our beloved Portland, Maine. Plus, he has family in the city and a family legacy worth continuing. My damn good reason number two was more personal. I was super duper comfortable in my job and my life so I took my foot off the gas and let cruise control do it's thing. I hadn't set any goals or started anything new in over a year and a half. There are zero things wrong with finding a job you love in your home state and putting your head down for the duration of your career. That path, however, was never my style. I am always ready for my next big thing. Every one of my big things found me when I wasn't looking. Touring with One Direction and co-hosting The Q Morning Show are two of my biggest accomplishments and the chance to pursue them landed in front of me only by chance. If you told me a year ago that I'd be living and working in New York City, I'd tell you to save your money and skip the lotto tickets. Moving to New York City sounded scary and different and not-in-my-plan. That was my sign that moving to NYC was probably my next big thing finding me.
That's more than one sentence.
Get your finances in order because rent is no joke.
I could buy a half-million dollar home with plenty of land and a garage in Maine for the amount of rent I'm paying for a 650-square foot one bedroom apartment. Yes, I live in a luxury amenity building (I'll tell you why later) but rent in Manhattan is as expensive as the rumors. If you do not have a job before you move here, you'd better have a financial plan to make it work.
Speaking of, you better have a job or a strategy for getting one.
Start networking right now. You should've started yesterday. Network first, and if networking seems like it'll work out, decide to move after. If you're in an highly competitive industry (what's up, my media people!) you will need introductions, meetings, and phone calls to accompany your very beautiful resume and perfect portfolio website. I would not have landed my gig at a radio station without a stellar introduction to the team from a former boss. If you already have a job, proud of you! You're doing it! That'll make renting an apartment much easier.
You're ready to deal with basic tasks turning into exhausting endeavors.
My grandfather cannot reconcile the fact that I do not own a car in New York City. "But how will you get groceries?" First off, parking is $650 a month in my building, so even if I had a car, I wouldn't be able to afford groceries after paying my parking spot rent. When I explained I could have groceries delivered or walk to the store and carry the bags home, he was horrified. Yes, grocery shopping is easy when it's delivered, but consider the cost of delivery fees and tipping. If you're a budget babe and hoofing it to the Trader Joe's, be ready to wait in a line that wraps the perimeter of the store and then carry flimsy paper bags home in the rain. The most mundane parts of life are a little bit more challenging here. Can you handle that? I ultimately decided I liked the forced time outside and on foot. In the interest of honesty, when I'm feeling lazy I order Seamless.
Are you cool with anonymity?
Other than getting my dogs adjusted to pooping on concrete, my next biggest concern was the complete anonymity of living in the city. That may be enticing to some people looking to start fresh and build something new, but for someone like me who loved the relative public figure status of being a known radio personality, I still haven't settled with the fact that I'm kind of a nobody here. Beyond the ego-boosting recognition on the street, I also found a considerable comfort in seeing people I knew out in Portland, bartenders knowing what I wanted as soon as I walked in because I was a regular, and having a ride-or-die friend group around at all times. I'm not ashamed of getting a boost from being known. I've worked my whole life for a platform like the one I had in Portland, so yeah, not having it here (yet) is a confidence suck.
If none of this concerns you, or rather, it super appeals to you, then you'll be totally fine in the city.
If you want to do it, just do it.
Do it for the story. Do it for the experience. Do it because you want to and that's reason enough. You can always go home, but if you have the means and the drive and the focus to move to New York City, you'll have the means and the drive and the focus to make your life work here.
If you decide to move, please hit me up because I'm pretty bad at making friends. Thanks in advance.