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Old 07-18-2010, 11:56 PM
Location: Fort Wayne/Las Vegas/Summit-Argo
245 posts, read 489,626 times
Reputation: 231


Originally Posted by HarlemNewbie View Post
I am debating whether or not I should stay here in New York City, or if I should move back home to Michigan. I came here in April, after completing my bachelor's in psychology and getting paralegal certification. I have been waiting tables since then, making about $2K per month after taxes. My living expenses are about $1250 a month total, but I have no quality of life and am basically just "scraping by". I keep applying for paralegal positions, executive assistant positions, etc. and have been on about a dozen interviews. I had one offer, for the princely sum of 20K a year, no benefits, at a real estate firm downtown. Yes, I am not making this up. 20K a year for a job that requires education in the most expensive city in the country. I am just really sick of waiting tables and living this miserable, half-assed lifestyle where I'm not sure how much I'm making from one week to the next, having uppity Manhattanite women look at me like I'm scum on the bottom of their Manolos. I miss my family. I miss my dog. But there are no jobs in Michigan either, so I really don't know what I would be going back to. I just feel so... lost. Hopeless. What should I do?
No offense,OP but you have chosen to live in what is probably the 2nd most expensive city in the US (behind San Francisco)you've only been there since April and you are "disappointed" and "upset" that you have been unable land a job?
In tough economic times?

It could five or more YEARS for you to be successful in NYC.
You may NEVER be successful.
You certainly will NOT be successful by complaining after only THREE MONTHS there.

Have you looked in New Jersey for a job?
Or CT?
Or Upstate NY?
Have you tried contract work?
NYC Metro has an excellent public transportation system that makes all of those areas accessible if you don't own a car.

Unless you are willing to put up w/ YEARS of struggle,I would suggest returning to Michigan now. Although given the economic situation THERE, that may not be an improvement in your situation.

Old 07-19-2010, 12:19 AM
2,500 posts, read 2,470,787 times
Reputation: 902
They could also luck into something tomorrow. They know it's tough here, but even in this economy that does still happen from time to time. I know a number of people who are getting started in new positions and they're not low-paying by any means.
Old 07-19-2010, 01:14 AM
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,041,396 times
Reputation: 552
Originally Posted by HarlemNewbie View Post
Signing up for mock interviewing... interesting idea. I have read numerous articles and books and know the classic "dos" and don'ts" of what to say/not say on interviews. But maybe conducting one in front of another person who can provide some concrete insight would do me well... I think the competition is one issue I am facing, also that I have an underlying bitterness about all that I've been through. I try to mask it, as I know it is unattractive. But there is only so much acting you can do, and most intelligent people can read through you. Maybe I should also consult the Broadway actresses? Lol
I know you were joking, and it is good to maintain a sense of humor at times like these. There is, however, a pretty good book on the subject of using acting techniques in challenging situations:

Acting Techniques for Everyday Life: Look and Feel Self-Confident in Difficult, Real-Life Situations, by Jane Maria Robbins.

You can find it at amazon.com or check it out at the library. Google books has a fair amount of excerpts of the book online.

I used to teach acting classes, and I still use role-playing techniques in my English/Humanities classes. You see, acting is not pretending, which, as you have said, most people can see right through. Acting, at its best, is more a matter of the emotional alchemy or authentic attitudinal adjustment that can be achieved through a shift in intention and concentration. The relaxation and concentration work alone can help you prepare for an interview. Acting is also a matter of making specific choices in conflictual situations, and finding and using just the right tactics to bypass any external or internal obstacles seemingly in the way of what you want. Another acting technique that would be useful during an interview would be to endow the interviewer with your belief in his or her good intentions, to let go of the disappointments from past interviewing situations by being with this interviewer in the present moment. The emotional alchemy that occurs when you shift your mindset, choose your point of focus, and clarify your intentions is powerful.

Check the book out. There are also others like it. But if you do decide to move, that this would be best for you, remember that this is your life and ultimately your decision.
Old 07-19-2010, 01:51 AM
11 posts, read 45,761 times
Reputation: 14
Default Just for example...

When I move anywhere, I hit the ground running with resumes and interviews. People normally want me to just relax when I get anywhere, but that's not how I work. If work is truly anywhere, it should be able to be found quickly. I still like that when I was in San Diego I found TWO jobs in a WEEK. TWO JOBS IN A WEEK. And San Diego is smaller than New York.

So why is it so unrealistic...if a person knows what they want to do with their life (and most people DON'T) that they can't find it as quickly in the largest city in the world. Work is here right or is it all just people scamming people out of their money...which is what I'm seeing for the most part of my time here so far.

As a newbie...I think Harlem's opinion, thoughts, and feelings have merit. And if he's doing this without what most people have a la a support system...more power to him. And we all know that without a support system how quickly our confidence can be shaken.

Old 07-19-2010, 02:21 AM
Location: NYC
2,296 posts, read 4,514,712 times
Reputation: 1082
I feel for you. I moved away once and came back home but it happened four years after I'd moved there to land a better job. I returned to NYC with job experience, which enabled me to get more than the part-time secretary and part-time bank customer service person that I had after graduating from college. You are among some of the toughest competition for jobs anywhere. My advice to you would be to perhaps go to a second tier city and build up your resume, then come back to NYC in a few years. Nothing wrong with that.
Old 07-19-2010, 07:34 AM
Location: New York City
4,036 posts, read 8,652,208 times
Reputation: 3699
Step 1: Take the job. Step 2: Immediately update your resume. Step 3: Start applying for another job.

On your first day at the office you status changes. You magically transform from "someone who moved to the city and is looking for a job" to "someone who is working in New York." It may seem like a tiny distinction, but it's be deal to employers. That's how it worked for me. It took me three months to land a temp job. Once I updated my resume on Monster with the temp position, people started calling me. I didn't even have to apply (and this was during the Dot-Com bust).

Conventional wisdom is that 50 percent of people who move to New York leave within the first year. I've not seen hard statistics to prove this claim, but it often feels that way. Employers are reluctant to take a chance on someone who just arrived because they know that there's a very high likelihood that they'll leave. This is compounded by the fact that you have little employment history elsewhere.

By the way, don't feel guilty about using the guy who offered you $20K. He's using you. If he's offering that salary with no benefits in Manhattan, he can't expect loyalty. Also, no prospective employer will hold it against you. If you tell them what your salary is, they'll understand why you want to leave.
Old 07-19-2010, 08:21 AM
142 posts, read 360,845 times
Reputation: 48
I think it may be your resume. My my husband and I dound jobs within only a few weeks of looking here. Make sure you are tailoring your resume for each job you are applying to.
Old 07-19-2010, 08:39 AM
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,041,396 times
Reputation: 552
Originally Posted by noladarling View Post
I think it may be your resume. My my husband and I dound jobs within only a few weeks of looking here. Make sure you are tailoring your resume for each job you are applying to.
This is a good point. Here in Madison, I found that getting some free resume help, plus career and educational counseling, made a huge difference. These sessions also helped me to clarify once again my own career objectives and to learn to express myself better on my cv and in cover letters--in ways that speak the language employers need to hear. I'm sure you can get similar help in NYC. Try the public libraries.

P.S.--Here is an excerpt from the New York Public Library's website.

Where can I get free career counseling?

The Library's Job Search Central at the Science, Industry and Business Library on Madison Avenue @34th street, offer free job and career coaching by appointment and walk-in. Career Coaching services are provided at Job Search Central by appointment: Mondays through Fridays, between the hours of 11 a.m. - 4, or 5 p.m. Sign up for appointments at the Altman Information Desk, Lower Level, OR call 212-592-7044 to leave a request with your contact information (name, phone number, e-mail, ) Volunteers from the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP) provide job coaching and counseling services tailored to the needs of 50+ job seekers, on Tuesdays & Thursdays, between 11 a..m - 3 p.m. at Job Search Central. Job Search Central also offers free access to computers for word processing and online job applications, online career databases, books on resumes and careers, and public programs and workshops for career transition.
The Library’s Career and Educational Information Service (CEIS) is located at the Bronx Library Center. CEIS offers career and educational counseling by appointment or walk-in. Free access to computers for resume writing, career exploration, and online job searching/application is also available.

It's worth a try. Good luck.
Old 07-19-2010, 09:16 AM
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,389 posts, read 19,636,575 times
Reputation: 6215
HarlemNewbie,I think others are giving you great advice on the employment situation so I will only add that you might want to also examine whether your living situation is having an effect on your attitude and whether that is sort of poisoning everything for you.
I say this only because you have started threads in the past about where you are living and the nature of the block and I can only imagine from my years of living in NY that the heat of this Summer has intensified that situation.
Maybe if you lived in a more peaceful environment it might it might help ? Just a suggestion.And best of luck whatever you decide.
Old 07-19-2010, 09:28 AM
Location: New York City via Austin via Chicago
939 posts, read 2,715,240 times
Reputation: 385
I would at least try to remain here for a year if financially possible. Even try moving to a lower cost area to open up a little more money for living, Harlem isn't that cheap. It took me 5 months to find a job when I got here but I saved up a boatload of money, and had 6 years of experience. You need to definitely work on your interviewing skills and resume. I tweaked and tailored my resume almost daily and actually gotten at least 8 interviews. I got 2 very low offers that I rejected (I wasn't desperate though), 1 job got cancelled, and didn't get 4 because I didn't interview well on those. If you're getting interviews, your resume stands out but you have to sell yourself to the companies effectively. Be careful, my wife throws away many resumes because of basic grammatical errors, sloppiness, and just plain lack of care.

Unfortunately, you're in a tough situation since you're a new graduate with minimal experience and since you don't have any NYC experience in your field. When my wife moved here (8 months after I did), her company in Texas let her work from home here in NYC and her being employed got her a job and 5 interviews almost immediately.

Just stay positive and make your job search a full-time position. I put in at least 40 hours a week on my job search last year and you will go through ups and downs but at least you have some income unlike others who come into this city. Just give it a little more time. If you don't stay, there are tons of other cities that you can try out before returning home to the worst market in the US(or your home).

PS, i've been getting a few call-backs from positions I applied for 9 months ago so all the work you're putting in now should hopefully pay off.

Good Luck.
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