Why I Panicked When I Landed My First Job

The first thing I did when I found out I got a big girl editorial job in New York City? I mindlessly searched for jobs in the Midwest.

As a job disclaimer, I first want to say I am extremely grateful to have been offered a job at a place that I love and I will effortlessly transition to it right after my internship ends, avoiding the whole “I’m going to be jobless forever” breakdown in sweatpants, eating peanut butter with a spoon. Finding out that I will have a steady income has caused a lot of comfort, and a lot of eating out since then.

But the biggest pill to swallow was knowing I will be staying in New York indefinitely. There’s no three-month internship with an option for something new at the end, or a time for me to move home and figure out life again. I’m not going back to school to have another year to worry about life decisions, or even better — not worry about life decisions. This is it. I got a job, got an apartment and now I’m here to settle in. But do I even want to “settle in?”

Commence the freak-out that I thought I bypassed by avoiding unemploymenthood.

Ever since I moved from the Midwest to New York in May, people from home have been asking me for all the details of my life because Instagram filters make it look like the most glorious thing since the Drunk In Love music video.

And it is glorious. I meet celebrities every week,  I work with extremely talented people who teach me to achieve all of my career goals and I always end up in some random shenanigan in the city. I witness some of the most amazing architecture as I walk around the city and there’s always a park to sit at and people watch. I can go out for drinks and not worry how to get home, and if I need something from the drug store, I can walk there without worrying about gas or if my car is reliable enough. Sometimes I do have to pinch myself because I’m in a world unlike any other. I witness so many amazing things and have access to anything I will ever need. It’s impossible to be bored, but incredibly possible to be broke.

But what my friends don’t see are the cockroaches I walk in on in the bathroom once every couple weeks. The times when there’s no one around to tell something extremely exciting to in person because I hardly know anyone in the city. They don’t see the car that isn’t there for me to just jump in and drive around, blasting music when I’m upset. Speaking of being upset, there’s absolutely nowhere to cry privately in this city, regardless of what tumblr says. You learn to do everything while being surrounded by people. After a long, extremely challenging day at work, I cried in the bathroom then left and cried on the subway until I got off, found service and called my best friend to continue crying on the street corners while waiting for the “walk” sign. And no one even stares at you because it’s not the first time they’ve seen someone crying on the phone on the street corner. And when I finally reached my apartment? I started to get questioned by my roommate because, of course, we’re all extremely poor and share bedrooms.

Every store you go to is crowded with pushy people with headphones on, thinking they’re entitled to get their things first because they’re going somewhere and they’re always more important than you. Lines are long, everything is overpriced and the only way to make it through is to precisely schedule when to go and pretend like you created and followed a budget.

And, the dating game? Let me check my apps. No one “meets at a bar.” It all happens on your phone until you feel like you’re in the safe zone where meeting up at Joe’s Bar won’t be your first and last time at Joe’s Bar. And most of the people on these dating apps are (as mentioned) selfish New Yorkers, wanting one thing: You in bed. Because why settle for one person when there’s about 8.3 million others walking down the street? It’s the most inorganic place to meet someone despite all of the places you could possibly meet. You definitely don’t talk to anyone you find cute on the subway and you most definitely don’t meet them tripping in the street or grabbing the wrong coffee at Starbucks. If this changes, I’ll get back to you.

So now you’re probably thinking, why the hell did I get a job in New York if I’m ranting about how much I hate it?

That’s the thing about this insane city — it becomes a challenge, a challenge you don’t want to lose.

If I were to leave here after three months, I’d feel like a failure. It’s nuts to think I’m competing with a city — a city that has no feelings, no voice and surely has no idea who I am. But everyday, I’m fighting for my place, my voice and my feelings toward it.

Everyone you’re surrounded by (if you’re not the 1 percent or whatever) is struggling. They’re the hardest workers you’ll ever meet. We all want to “make it.” You suddenly become friends with the most random people because secretly everyone wants their life to be like the sitcoms and have a solid group to hang with. No one moves here with friends or family because it’s a city you move to in order to challenge yourself. But within that challenge, you get tired of meeting roommates on Craigslist and rubbing shoulders with strangers on your commute. You get worn down when you can’t jump in your car and drive to grab the milk you forgot earlier in the day. Looking at your bank account makes you start to squint your eyes so it doesn’t hurt as bad when you realize how much you spent in one week on food.

New York is definitely not the city for everyone, and might not be the city for me. This takes a lot of honesty with myself to be able to say that. I’ve always been a “city girl” at heart with a big appetite for the Big Apple. There will come a time where I will have to decide if I met my challenge and if it’s time to move on.

Until then, join me in my day-to-day questioning, realizations and rat tallying that I continue to endure as I start my first, real-person job in New York freakin’ City. And cheers to those who feel the same way, and understandably hide it with an Instagram filter.

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