OT - Career Advice/ Living Location

Submitted by NYC Fan on July 5th, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I write this after spending a holiday weekend indoors to steer clear of the absurdly hot temps in NYC lately. I have been living in NYC for about 2 years now and am questioning why I am here. I grew up in Novi, MI and am used to the 9-5 lifestyle that allows for a much better work/life balance. True that people make more in NYC, but it is all relative. What I pay for rent with my roommate in a two bedroom apartment is more than what my mortgage payment was on a 3 bedroom house in MI. I keep telling myself that I can do this for about 4 more years and then take my 10 years of experience and move to an area that isn't so focused on work, work, work.
I am still in my 20's and figure as long as I am out by my early 30's I will have laid a great foundation for myself.
Am I kidding myself to believe it is worth forgoing my happiness a few years to provide a solid foundation? I have nothing against the city, I just like to golf, run, boat, grill and be able to enjoy a good fire in my backyard.




July 5th, 2010 at 11:02 AM ^

btw, I also feel that since I am fortunate to have a job in this economy I need to be thankful and appreciate what I do have even if it is not an ideal situation.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:32 PM ^

I love thick-headed "bears."  I guess I like thick-headed "bulls" too.  When the market was going up there was always at least one analyst who thought we were on pace to throw out the record books.  Once things turn sour, here comes a pessimist who sees a long great depression.  The media then fans the flames of fear.


Linear thinking is for the birds.  Plus, drawing an analogy between completely different periods of times (different markets) based on one out of a thousand facts is also just plain dumb.


Those who think we are living in the past are doomed to repeat it.


July 5th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

Who is hiring people besides the government? How well are college grads getting jobs? What about the global economy?

If you think that we are going back up to s&p highs this year you are delusional.

Also those who forget the best are doomed to repea it.


July 5th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

If your chosen field can be pursued in a variety of cities, I'd say work long enough in NYC to build your resume and work credentials, and then move to a place whose lifestyle matches your preferences.

If your field is inherently a high-pressure one that demands being in a place like NYC (finance/investment, for example), you might have to make your peace with the Big Apple.

Whatever you do, I'd recommend moving or making your decision before you get married and have kids, if that's something you want to do. Once you get hitched and start changing poopy diapers, your options for moving become more constrained.


July 5th, 2010 at 11:18 AM ^

When i was living in Michigan i visited NY a couple of times and both times i didnt understand what all the fuss was about. I mean it depends on what you like. If you like a lot of noise, be on the move the whole time, than NY is for you. If you are the quiet/outdoor but wants to still have fun on the weekends kinda guy than NY is not for you.

Maybe all this was beacouse i got so used to the laid back life in Michigan. The city where i live now is kinda like NY in the sense that is very noisy and moving the whole time so maybe if i went to NY now it would be a different story. My advice: If  you feel stressed out, not feeling like working than its not worth to stay so many years just for a chance that maybe maybe you will make it.

Who knows you might make it no matter where you are


July 5th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

I saw the thread title and thought to myself "must steer this poor soul from NY!" Lo and behold that was the topic.

I was born in an upstate county and moved to LI when I was about 5. I never fit in and hate it there to this day, but now I have more concrete reasons besides "high school blows!"

1. Taxes. I'm sure you've experienced this but you may literally be taxed to death in NY.
2. New Yorkers. We're not all bad... but this one speaks for itself. Whenever my midwest-raised friends come out here they're floored by the lack of decency running rampant in southern NY. Also, you don't want your future kids (should you find a non-psycho NY woman) to end up as one of these monsters.
3. Not sure where you work, but a lot of the bigger NY companies have branches in Chi or Philly, which have suburbs that may be more to your liking and not as back-breakingly expensive. And for the love of all things holy, if you don't like NYC don't even consider LI suburbs... I'm paying $700 a month for a basement room and I'm boxed in by obnoxious 'Jersey Shore' extras. At work all I can hear is LI accents and people did not understand when I said 'pop' or 'yall' instead of the accepted 'youse.'

/sad I'm leaving my long weekend in Ann Arbor to go back to the Long Island cave.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

A colleague of mine used to have a theory on how or why their residents got to be such assholes. For him, it comes down to tourists. A place with a lot of tourists means, naturally, a whole bunch of people walking around like lost sheep, asking questions of hurried people who are not on vacation, (and have a place they needed to be 5 minutes ago) and speaking in a language they don't, (along with the requisite attitude that goes along with expecting the residents of a foreign country to speak the language you brought from yours).

That doesn't excuse the lack of common decency in a place like New York, but considering all of the other ways in which New Yorkers are put upon, (outrageous rent and taxes, hurried pace of life, etc.) its not surprising that humans should be stripped of their humanity after a while.

I used to work for a company headquartered in Midtown. I'd visit our offices there about once a month. It was great to be a visitor, but most people with a family highly encouraged me, were I ever to work in NYC, to live in Connecticut or the Princeton, NJ area.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:55 PM ^

...and other people hassling you for various reasons. I moved to downtown Toronto a couple of years ago. If I leave home, I'm very likely to encounter at least one person begging for money, and on a trip of any length by several people. I may be hassled in other ways, depending on the time of day, where I go, etc.

Tourists I find to be a relatively minor nuisance. They do tend to get in my way on the sidewalk.

Overall, though, I love it. Then again I'm not working 80 hour weeks.

Interestingly, Canadians outside of Toronto hate Toronto. This includes many suburbanites.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:22 PM ^

Oh I completely understand the tourist issue (spent my high school years in the hamptons, now those tourists are the worst), but honestly it's just the culture. I have a friend from Yonkers who is easily the loudest (and according to my parents, most obnoxious) girl I have ever met... and then I met her family. Something tells me it wasn't tourist exhaustion. I myself have occasionally warned bothersome people not to make me 'go New York on their ass,' and I have terrible road rage inherited from my parents and the environment I learned to drive in.

FWIW people from my high school think I'm totally insane for loving Michigan and loathing NY.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

I get that a lot too. The funny thing is that those I know from Michigan who have moved here are in the same boat you and I are. I am not sure why NYC has such an allure to it as I would have to agree growing up I thought that was the place everyone wanted to be. As stated in an earlier post though, if I pay my dues the NYC experience should pay off down the road.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

Whether it be in NY or transferring elsewhere. Others suggested different boros, if the commute isn't too bad that's a good idea too. Right now I'm just interning but my employer's other main locations are in California, Florida and Maryland... not sure if those options are better or worse after I graduate.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

When I was a student at U-M many moons ago, (probably before you were born, yeesh) I lived in South Quad. The number of people from the NYC boroughs was incredible. Many, (not all) had the "I'm-from-NYC-and-you're-not" attitude. Naturally, they'd be reminding everyone how much better things are in NYC than anywhere else. Finally, most of us would suggest to them that the road also has eastbound lanes and they were welcome to try them out anytime.

By the way, I believe you mentioned once that you are an Aero E student. I am old enough to have had Harm Buning as a professor for my senior spacecraft design course, Gerald Faeth as my academic advisor, and William Kauffman as a mentor. If you are ever so (un)fortunate to have Werner Dahm as your Prop III instructor, pray.


July 5th, 2010 at 2:04 PM ^

They complained about the inferiority of midwest pizza and bagels? Guilty as charged, those are the only things I miss when I'm away at school.

My grandparents are both from Detroit and went to UM in the 50s. In fact, my nana was in the first hall of women allowed in East Quad, the first coed dorm.
That long ago. And they still said the New Yorkers thought rather highly of themselves and their fancy clothes.

As far as the aero profs go, I do recall the name Harm Buning, not sure if he gave a seminar last year but I don't think any of them still teach. If you know of Ken Powell I was in his gas dynamics course in the winter and learned a lot. He normally teaches the upper level classes so it was lucky on my part. I've only had one negative experience with a professor so far, and she was brand new and made homework due at the beginning of her 8:30 Friday lecture, among other things.


July 5th, 2010 at 2:47 PM ^

Well, the pizzas around campus suck. If you've got a car, head out to Tomatoes Apizza in Farmington Hills. Coal-fired ovens, a la NYC. Still not quite as good, but respectable.

Harm Buning and Gerald Faeth both passed away within the past few years. I think  the Department has named prizes, awards and/or scholarships in their memories. Ken Powell was a new prof when I was a student. He joined the Department at the start of my junior year and taught one of my aerodynamics classes. Good teacher.


July 5th, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

I actually have tried Tomatoes and it was the best non-deep dish I've had in the midwest. In high school I worked in an italian family owned pizzeria/deli and as a result evolved into a mega pizza snob. I'm dating a guy from the UP and made him try our pizza when he came to visit so he would finally understand the fuss.

It must be awards that I recognized the names from then. If you don't mind me asking, where (geographically) are you working with your aero degree? I'm starting to think California might be inevitable, and I have family out there, but I don't know what it would be like living there.


July 5th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

These days, I'm a management consultant with a very large firm, so I don't use my Aero degree as much as I would have liked. And I am certainly not doing what I thought I would after I graduated. Anecdotally, probably less than half of my classmates are in the aerospace field these days.
When I graduated, jobs in the field were very scarce. I had one friend get a job with NASA (he had co-op'd) and another with Boeing. Still another is now the Large Car Marketing Manager at Ford, after having been an engineer in product development. I took a job with an engineering software company, and put my engineering skills to use differently than I had imagined. Being analytical and synthesizing creative solutions to problems is what ultimately got me into consulting. Its a perfect fit.
Geographically, your options in aerospace are not limited to California, at least not SoCal. If taxes aren't your thing, though, stay away altogether.
Colorado, Utah, Washington, Georgia, Texas, Florida, Missouri and Alabama are other hot beds of the aero industry. There is also an emerging industry in New Mexico, and (if you can stand it) Ohio is a good place, too.


July 5th, 2010 at 5:41 PM ^

I was actually hoping to end up in Colorado or Utah since I love to ski. I'm lucky enough to have an internship with a rather large defense contractor (and next summer as well if I don't mess anything up), and they have offices in Florida as well. Ironically enough Ohio would be ok if only for the proximity to Michigan and therefore the ability to be a season ticket holder.


July 5th, 2010 at 6:00 PM ^

It's just, "there is absolutely nothing in this state other than the University of Michigan.  How could anyone possibly stand to live in the midwest?"

The first couple of conversations with a girl I met from NYC on campus entailed of

A) how she dreaded the deadness of North Campus and Bursely and switched to South Quad before Welcome Week was done, and

B) a five-pagessay she wrote in English for which the main theme and most research was done on the proper term of the beverage that stupid midwesterners insist on calling "pop"

A Case of Blue

July 5th, 2010 at 7:20 PM ^

A few years back,  I went the opposite way - from growing up in suburban Milwaukee to going to school in Manhattan.  Now, Milwaukee is no New York City, to be sure, but I grew up on a city block with a pretty good understanding of urban life, and absolutely no idea how to milk a cow.

So you can imagine how surprised I was to have kids from Long Island and Westchester asking me "How do you like living in the biiiiiiig ciiiity?" in approximately the same slow, singsong-y tones used to address a two-year-old. 

I'm done with college and have a lot of friends from New York and the surrounding areas (who weren't like that for the most part), but  it was a shock to learn that people really did think we Midwesterners didn't get out much and were sure in awe of their 'big-city' lifestyle


July 5th, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

GTF outta there but not sure what arena you work in. It sounds like you are in a business field and the pressure must be significant. Would like to know more about what you do.

Good luck.


July 5th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

I work in finance and specifically work with alternative investments (not sales related). I think I am still a little slow to get out after watching 10 of my co-workers lose their jobs when I was working in Detroit for the same company. Of my group of 11, I was the only one asked to stay and relocate to NY. I have searched within my company to see if Chicago, LA or other big cities that would have a nearby suburban feel have any positions, but everything seems to be centralizing in NY.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

I live in NYC my whole life and the only time I left was to go to school at Michigan.  I work in finance as well, asset management to be more precise.  As you well know the economy overall is pretty bad and finance will always have these swings.  Get your experience and make as many contacts as possible and when the economy and finance market starts to improve then start exploring elsewhere, which means different cities.  NYC is the epicenter, but there are plenty of places which have financial companies and you will be able to live the kind of life that you want. 


July 5th, 2010 at 1:55 PM ^

I was born and raised in NYC, went to U of M and came back.  Luckily I work for a consulting firm which has allowed me to work in places like Atlanta, Tampa, and Boston (effective this week!)  At any rate, I don't know finance all that well, but if you could, you should consider Charlotte.  I've heard great things.

My step-dad is in finance, and is originally from a small town of 250 people in Illinois, and he and my mom just recently moved to Connecticut after he spent 20+ years living in the City.  My advice would be, have fun while you are here, if you're going to stay. 

You don't have to live or hang out in Manhattan to have fun in the city.  I know it's not the same, but there are golf courses in the Bronx or other boroughs.  I grew up in the Lower East Side, and I myself can get annoyed with Manhattan. Lately, I've found myself going out to Bk... if you've never ridden (and drank on the SI ferry) I strongly recommend it.

I do a lot of random crap and go to random places in this city to keep myself sane, you should too.  If you need any ideas, I've got plenty.  Archery?  Like to climb? Brooklyn Boulder.


July 5th, 2010 at 11:52 AM ^

I moved out to DC for a job three years ago, and am feeling the desire to move back to the Midwest after experiencing unrealistic cost of living expenses and  people who have no time for anything not career-related, among other things.  DC isn't quite as fast-paced as NYC, but they sure share many of the same type of people.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

Having an extra year in this situation under your belt, what are you thinking of doing. I don't want to come off as not motivated, I just see there being so much more to life than my spending 60+ hours working to come home to a roommate in an apartment.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:12 PM ^

I use to work 6am - 8 pm for a couple of years straight.  After awhile, as you get promoted, the time alotment gets better.  I thought about changing careers and working outside NYC.  When you do that, sometimes, you can limit your opportunities.  In finance, every company outside NYC wants in NYC person from my experience.  Just be patient.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

I enjoy my job - I have a decent salary with good benefits, can put in my 40 hours/week and leave, and work for a company that hasn't laid anyone off in over 30 years.  Heck, I even negotiated a salary increase a year ago.  I live in a house with three other people in a nice area of DC - mainly to save money and live close to work.  Having spent nine years in college, it's helped to pay off student loans quickly.  I probably will never be able to buy property here.  For example, the house I'm in has a $800,000 price tag on it, but if you looked at it you wouldn't really see why.  I could get the same for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

First, I am exploring other job opportunities in the area (e.g., govt jobs).  If I can get a better paying job I may stay a few more years.  I'm also looking out for jobs closer to Michigan and in areas with a more afforable cost of living, but I work in a very specialized field so job opportunities are few and far between, and the jobs that do exist are in the big cities.  I'm single, so I'm not tied down, which offers flexibility for me.  Mainly, my goal is to buy a house, settle down, and have a family - currently, I don't see that happening here in DC, so I'm trying to figure out either how/if I can do that here and how  I can do that other places to see what the best plan is. 


July 5th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

I have quite a few friends that have ended up in DC as well.  Most of them love it but find that many 20-somethings there are hyper-networkers.  ("What is your name, where did you go to school, who do you work for?")  My friends say it's exhausting.

Aside from the insane cost of living, what are your other reasons for wanting to leave DC?  I spent a summer out there and always thought I'd end up there eventually but now am not so sure.


July 5th, 2010 at 4:29 PM ^

In no particular order:

Too many materialistic and fake people:  All people seem to care about here is the bottom line. There are lots of people who are out here to try an make a lot of money.  That's fine and all, but I feel like dates look at you as a business transaction or a dollar sign. It's like a race to see who can drive the best car and flash the most money.  Also, lots of trust fund baby d-bags and wanna be giltterati.  I tend to be more grounded and people don't seem to like that here.  I drive a 10-yr old pontiac and save money - people don't understand why.

Traffic: The metro can get you places, but if you have to travel anywhere in the car you're pretty much screwed.

Transient area: A lot of people move here for a couple years to get job experience, etc and move away in 2-3 years.  Makes it hard to have any consistency of friends.

Crime, crime, and more crime:  over half of the area (anywhere on the east side) is frought with crime. Not exactly the place you want to raise a family.

There are some others (aside from the cost of living, which trickles into a lot of other reasons), but these are the big ones for me.

Nick Sparks

July 5th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

I moved out to NYC from Michigan about 2 years ago solely because of economic opportunity and all in all I've been happy with life out here.

Of course I miss the midwest (you always miss home), but I live in the E Village / Alphabet City and find it extremely laid back and friendly. I can imagine, though, that if I lived in times square, the financial district, UES, Murray Hill, or especially LI I'd be going crazy as well.

It sounds like, however, you're bigger issue happens to be with your current employment situation. Back in Michigan I worked at a job for around 80 hours a week that I really wasn't happy in. Now I work around 60-70 hours a week building a company but I love what I do, and thus I'm happy with my life and even living in a cramped studio with my girlfriend when we could have something 4 times the size for the same price in another city.

Have you considered alternate career opportunities?


July 5th, 2010 at 1:10 PM ^

I really believe it is solely location. My hours are tolerable as I only work about 55 hours a week. If I could take my job and relocate it to another city I really think I would be happy. I am glad to hear that things are working out for you, I guess that I personally just expected more out of my life at this point.

To the poster above you, relationships are fine right now and I do not have a need for E-Harmony.


July 5th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

I was in grad school nd had completed 3 classes and work then stopped paying. I am doing the CFA thing now and afterwards am not sure of where I will go. Congrats on the southern belle.

st barth

July 5th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

Just my 2¢ but location is very important because it literally surrounds you.  If you are in a comfortable place that you love then everything becomes more enjoyable, even work.

And don't limit yourself to the US.  Many of the cities with high quality of life are abroad.  Monocle's recent survey ranked Munich as number 1 for the second time in the last four years:


If my german was better, maybe I'd live there too.


July 5th, 2010 at 12:59 PM ^

Having lived in the DC area, the midwest, the intermountain west, and now on the west coast, consider waiting for the economic conditions in California to bottom out.  Most occupations in NYC have opportunities in both northern and southern CA, and for doing things outdoors tough to beat the climate.  I've been impressed that many of the people I've gotten to know work in places that value good work/life balance - why live in a great place to be outdoors if you never see it?  Good luck.


Zone Left

July 5th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

All I'll say is don't move backwards intentionally.  You'll be bored.  I'm getting ready to switch careers myself and plan on going back to school for my MBA in 2011 (come on Ross!).  

Just don't do anything rash.  Less money is fine, less work is fine, but make sure you still have to think and are challenged at work.  I'm going back for my MBA primarily so I don't have to move backwards.