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Old 04-13-2011, 02:41 AM
25 posts, read 78,456 times
Reputation: 28


Howdy folks, this here's my first post/thread ever.

I was born and raised in northern Los Angeles County, which I guess is analogous to being from Hoboken: so close, yet so far. Still, I ain't your small town kid. The Greater L.A. Area has more people than NYC if you tack on the surrounding counties, it's just that it's a lot more... horizontal. I have been living in Las Vegas, Nevada for the past six years--right smack in the middle of it, as opposed to out in the 'burbs--and am about to leave. (When I first got here it felt so small! It's like they took the San Fernando Valley all by its lonesome and plunked it on Mars.) The question is, to where should I leave? So here's the scenario:

If all goes well I'll have finished my PhD in Sociology in about a year and some change. (Yeah, I know, sociology....) I had hoped to get a university slot back in California but my home state is deep in the crapper right now and probably will be for some time, the CSU system especially. (The UC system is by and large out of my league.) It's not looking too realistic right now but I haven't thrown in the towel on that yet. Still, it's a real bad time to be an academic these days, especially if you're not the sort that has monetary potential according to some corporation. I think I'm starting to see the writing on the wall. Including the hypothesis that there will be less and less slots in the future as demand for college shrinks (demographics).

To top that off, I'm getting married. My fiancée is a native of far northeastern Italy. She's there right now, in fact. (She lived with me for a spell here in Vegas and then went back.) I've got a one way ticket there for this June and then we'll be married in July and I'll be getting the equivalent of a green card. I'll be finishing my dissertation stuff over there. Here's the rub: the chances of my getting any kind of university slot anywhere in Italy are pretty much zilch zero nada. If we stay there I'd probably end up teaching English as a Foreign Language to the locals, like your stereotypical American ex-pat. There's worse jobs, certainly, but... *sigh* Other possible job options for me there just aren't very bankable. I'll work hard to get something but not if the odds are so damned slim.

Now, if you were her, would you want to forsake achingly beautiful Italy all so that I, your husband-to-be, could have an assistant professorship at Buford T. Willard College in Bumhole, Arkansas or somewhere like that? Bloody hell if I'd ever make her do that! She could settle for good ol' Californy, though, especially if it's somewhere closer to the Pacific than not. California is in fact my natural home; some of my kin goes back to the 18th century there. I always considered myself a Californian first and an American second, though not in that Alaskan/Confederate kind of way, to be sure.

So what's this about New York City? Well, my chances of landing a slot at Columbia, NYU, the New School, the CUNY system, etc., are pretty much zilch unless my dissertation wins the Pulitzer. However, I came across this program where they recruit professionals (I guess I qualify as such?) to be schoolteachers in the P.S. system. Which got me to thinking: perhaps it's the case that being a public schoolteacher in New York City beats the hell out of being a tenure-track professor at Eastern North Dakota State. I love what I do but I'm not that desperate to do it, and if that makes me a 'coastal elitist' then so be it.

In New York she'd land a job in like 2.5 seconds teaching Italian (and is quite qualified to do so; she's currently a schoolteacher at a bilingual school). Possibly as a court interpreter. Though the same is almost as true in either L.A. or the Bay Area (except for the court interpreter gig). Also, it would cost her family (and family means an incredible amount in her culture) maybe 400 bucks a head to come see us. RyanAir now runs between Dublin and NYC for, like, 200 bucks. Whereas if we were on the West Coast, well over a grand per head during peak season, and vice versa were my relations to come see us in Italy. Have any of you ever flown from L.A. to Italy? It takes longer to cross North America than it does to cross the Atlantic and Ireland, England, France, and Switzerland!!!

I don't know if they even have 'social studies' teachers in the New York P.S. system (the term makes us wince, btw) and I haven't seen any mention of it, but the idea of being a special ed teacher intrigues me. I was a special ed kid from K thru 3rd and then from 9th through 12th grade and I scratched and clawed to get where I am now (says the guy currently making 12 grand a year as a part time instructor). I could see myself returning to where I began. I already lived through it, so I think my experiences would be invaluable. I guess I'd be an inspiration! So anyways, the other day I ran the words "New York City" by her and she got all breathlessly excited but she also figured it'd be too good to be true. Chances are she's right but I want to find out what the deal is anyways. Here's what I understand so far (good and bad, no particular order):

1. Her culture is already quite used to high density, terrible driving conditions, and yelling and screaming and arguing in public (although Italians seem more duplicitous than blunt New Yorkers), but I'm a laid back West Coast dude, and despite the crazy culture Italy is pretty laid back as well. My New York friends here in Las Vegas test my endurance enough as it is! God, you guys never stop talking, and you're so neurotic, too! But I say that with love, and there's just as much awesome as there is crazy. (Quite a bit of awesome, actually; New Yorkers are the absolute best to party with!) So would it drive me nuts or would I adjust?

2. We want kids, and she's in her mid 30s so we have to start now, and I'm too old to be partying all the time anyways (I'm 32). On the one hand I've heard it's a terrible place to raise kids unless you're rich, and then I've heard there's nice ordinary family neighborhoods such as Bayside or Sunnyvale that are actually halfway affordable. On the one hand you're supposed to move to the 'burbs when you have kids, but on the other I grew up in the distant 'burbs (although to be fair, my parents worked hard to get out of East L.A. before having me; I'm the oldest of their kids) and it drove me nuts, I couldn't stand it. I remember being so envious of the kids that got to grow up in Hollywood or West L.A. and swore that my own kids would get to experience what I didn't get to. And I still do value amenities, which New York has an infinite amount of. New Yorkers have always groused about what all L.A. is lacking in. If you think that's bad, try living in Vegas! That tourist stuff gets old quick, and then you're left with... Phoenix, basically. Although like NY everything is 24 hours, unlike L.A. where the bars close at midnight so that everyone can wake up in time for sunrise yoga.

So is being in, and is growing up in New York really such an awesome privilege or am I inflating it in my mind?

3. I get the impression that if you live in New York you get mugged three times a year, have to live around junkies peeing on the street while paying 2 grand a month in rent, and all kinds of other bad stuff happens all the time. And I've also heard there's nice, safe, ordinary neighborhoods that families can live in that don't cost a leg and a kidney. Mixed messages, in other words.

4. Her family home is incredibly cramped (and is worth half a million Euros!). I swear that the closet of my apartment bedroom here in Vegas is bigger than her entire childhood room! The master bedroom of her parents barely fits a queen sized bed. The apartment she has now is even dinkier; there isn't even room for an actual couch in her living room/hallway. So the cramped conditions wouldn't get to her at all. But it might drive me nuts. Whenever I'm in her home city, after a while I start to feel claustrophobic at how dense/vertical it is, and most the streets there would barely qualify as alleyways even in New York. Whereas when she came to Vegas everything was so big, wide, and open, it scared her. I took her out driving and she kept freaking out because there were too many lanes to choose from on the surface streets! The residential street I live on is as wide as a European highway!

5. The rent ain't too much worse than L.A. if you're in one of the boroughs as opposed to Manhattan, from what I've seen. But in L.A. you can at least park your frickin' car and your two kids can each have their own room.

6. I work hard at what I do and I think I'm good at it, but the idea of working 15 hours a day for the rest of my life isn't my idea of a good life. I'm not an optimizer or a social climber, I value my down time. Everything I've read has made it sound like that's how all New Yorkers live, must live, always trying to get ahead and going completely crazy and popping pills like an over-the-road trucker to keep going. If that's what I had to do to be in New York, well, to hell with that! Is there another side to the story? I have a feeling these striver types are overrepresented.

7. So would we be better off in California? Better off in Italy? Or might we be able to build a great life for ourselves in New York City and have it be as great as I hope it might be? Thanks in advance for your input, and I'll try to dig around in old threads to learn more. (I figured I could get away with starting this thread because of the less-than-usual particulars.) Feel free to burst my bubble, tell me how it really is, etcetera etcetera, because that'll do me more favors than anything else.

P.S. Sorry for this being so lengthy and wordy, and I hope it's not bad form for a n00b.

Last edited by Dustville702; 04-13-2011 at 03:49 AM..
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:39 AM
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,191 posts, read 18,962,620 times
Reputation: 6019

The middle class is being knowingly and systematically dismantled in this country and the ramifications will be long term and widespread.Italy offers a much better quality of life.You have an easy path to get in,go for it.

Last edited by bluedog2; 04-13-2011 at 04:53 AM..
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:00 AM
Location: Boynton Beach / Great Neck NY
234 posts, read 593,645 times
Reputation: 189

Since you've progressed to the dissertation stage of your program, I think you should focus on finishing your dissertation and go "into the market" and at least try to obtain a job in academia, wherever that job may be located. My dissertation chair said to keep my mind open about the "middle" and I actually considered a position in Wisconsin.

I understand that times are tough in academia and that placement is highly correlated to the ranking of your program, but a life of teaching/research/service can be sweet.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a great forum and you might find some information useful about your field and placement:

Chronicle Forums - Index
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:55 AM
Location: Staten Island, New York
3,654 posts, read 5,677,121 times
Reputation: 3528
NYC is laying off about 4,000 teachers. Stay in Italy.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:11 AM
Location: NY,NY
2,899 posts, read 8,045,495 times
Reputation: 2018
Whinning, whoa is me is always bad form.

First, NYC is NOT hiring teachers any longer. In fact, any week now thousands of teachers will be laid off.

Second, I'd question someone of your apparent physcological makeup teaching my kids. Gosh, is the NYC public school system the ultimate refuge of those who just can't hack it? No wonder teachers need a Union, and refuse a merit based system.

Third, you really don't belong in NYC. You're not cut out for it. Not everyone is. To move here and succed, you need a high level of motivation, which you apparently and admittedly lack.

Fourth, if your primary aim is keeping your Itailian GF happy and enamored of you, and if she's just a bit attractive, don't bring her here. You'll lose her to the "striver types"! People don't come to NYC to live ordinary lives, they come her to live extraordinary lives.

BTW, if you think 32 is too old to party---NYC is not for you. Perhaps a more geriatric state like Florida might do. There's lots of places for old people.

MOST IMPORTANT, children require stability, financially and physcologically. You should have children ONLY when you are thus, NOT because your clock is ticking!
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:58 AM
Location: New York
1,984 posts, read 4,157,840 times
Reputation: 1945
Default can I trade with you

Seems like a nice man. Maybe too nice for NY. I would stay away from academia; especially in the US. It is where good minds go to die.

Judging by the nasty responses you have already received here why would you want to try New York? The New York of old is nearly dead. It is being filled with self-centered corporate types that are interchangeable cogs in a machine. NY was once unique but now it is not much different than any other American city. This is a good for the economic machine but not good for the "Living Machines" called the people. All of the ethnic culture and diversity is being wiped clean and and a new dichotomy of rich yuppies and poor ghetto is taking hold like they have in other parts of the USA. Like dawg said the middle class is completely being dismantled. Coming here would be like showing up at a party just as they turn the lights on. The culture that shaped the personality of the people you have met from NY is only a memory.

Since you have an in-road to Italia you should go for and not look back. They already call you paison! You can truly advance your studies there and get to the heart of Western culture learning the classics. You can meet real people there and not consumers of electronic content. Just looking at the architecture and absorbing that long tenured culture will resonate down to your soul. You can connect with the heart of latin culture that civilized the rest of the west.

Please get out of that backwater Las Vegas or anyplace like it. It is the cultural sewer of the first world. Vegas is USA culture on meth-literally and figuratively.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:09 AM
Location: New York NY
3,978 posts, read 5,595,455 times
Reputation: 8230
I'd welcome anyone to NYC -- as long as they had a good job or prospects for one. But if you're looking to be a public school teacher, as others have said, this is the worst possible time to do it as big layoffs are on the way. Now you might consider private schools as a place to teach, but I suspect that 1)they may not pay as much as public schools and 2)they will scoop up some of the desirable experienced laid off school teachers.

Your experience with special ed sounds intriguing, however, and my gut tells me you might be very good at as one who's been there. Best of luck.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:36 AM
1,220 posts, read 1,295,037 times
Reputation: 2100
Your post is a little too long to read, but here it goes.

You want to come to NYC, you have a graduate sociology degree, and you don't currently have a job lined up? Forget it. NYC is EXPENSIVE, and banking on a NYC public school teacher job in this economy is suicidal. NYC schools aren't hiring, in fact they are planning on firing thousands of teachers in the coming months.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:11 PM
186 posts, read 230,173 times
Reputation: 241
As a 4th generation Italian-American New Yorker who dreams of moving to Cali I say.....just go to Italy.

There are no jobs for teachers here. You are much better off teaching English in Italy - even with a PhD - than waiting for a teaching job in an inner city neighborhood that may never even come. There is no middle class here. Like someone had mentioned the amount of obnoxious yuppies with the 'Sex in the City' mentality keeps growing.

You would have a hard time finding a big enough apartment to raise a family in without the both of you pulling in more than decent wages.

C'mon man I'd move to Italy for the cannoli alone. Get your EU citizenship and make those Euros. You can always come back, but at least you have a stable foundation to build on. In New York you'd be building on sand.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:28 PM
25 posts, read 78,456 times
Reputation: 28
Originally Posted by ny789987 View Post
and banking on a NYC public school teacher job in this economy is suicidal. NYC schools aren't hiring, in fact they are planning on firing thousands of teachers in the coming months.
Okay, thanks. That's what I needed to know.
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