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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Category Archives: Work in NYC

I’m headed in to the office for the first time in 2 weeks. It was a great break, but I am ready to go back. There is a lot going on at cornerstone, so I expect this to be a busy week. Hopefully I will snap back into a rhythm pretty quickly. We are adding lots of new business, and I’m taking the lead on my first account starting today – really looking forward to it.

Happy new year.

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Moving to New York City has become so much more than I thought it would. Everyday I learn something transformational. Little bits of wisdom that simply would not have found me had I stayed where I was 10 months ago. As difficult as it was for me to leave a comfortable place that I called home, I had confidence there was something else waiting for me.

Next week, I will join the public relations division of Cornerstone Promotion. Cornerstone is a unique place where public relations and music intersect. I have no idea what to expect, but I do know that this exciting career move will reveal even more things to me about my future.

No matter how many times I go through this in my mind, I can not decide if this is a change in direction or simply adhering to the course I set out for myself a year ago. Either way, I welcome the change, and I am delighted to share it with you.

I write this blog because I love it. I also write for a living. This Fall, I will be taking on a limited number of  writing projects on a freelance basis.  Please feel free to pass my name along to anyone you know who needs content, whether it be for web, print or integrated search. Thank you!

He pursed his lips, peering through dark, frustrated eyes directly into mine, and clicked. It was like being in a bad movie. Of all the times I have sat in Starbucks to work, no one has ever wanted my seat that much.

There is a symptom of a slowing economy that is exaggerated in the city. Idle hands, idle minds. Agitated people. Go to a public place, or a business that has become like one, and you will find an astonishing array of people. All different ages and eccentricities, sitting in the same spot waiting for something to change.

My wife starts working as an assistant teacher today. After an  interview late last week she was asked to return yesterday for a second one. I think my friend from work put it well:

“At a second interview,
the job is yours to lose.”

In my experience, that has always been true. She got it, and I am so proud of her. We have been praying for an opportunity like this – one where she can interact with children of many different ages and gain invaluable teaching experience, rather than focusing on one child’s needs as a nanny. The learning center is in our neighborhood, too.

You can visit them online at manhattanenrichment.com.

New York City is cutting lots of jobs (up to 11,000) to close a budget gap of several hundred million dollars. Bloomberg’s blaming Albany, D.C. is blaming Wall Street. Most of those cuts are going to be teachers and firefighters. Thanks to the failed bomb attempt in Times Square last weekend, our police force will not shrink.

So what? Watching all of this go down and talking to Amber as she pursues a teaching career, I’ve been thinking a lot about work lately. Why do we work? What motivates us to do it? And in the end, what’s the point? So you’re thinking, “Really, Chris? You’re going to get philosophical on us?” I know. I can’t help it.

People work for a variety of reasons I guess. But what are they? Satisfaction is a start. Maybe it gives someone satisfaction to pursue a dream. I know Amber has wanted to teach all her life. Or maybe the act of producing something is satisfying. Unfortunately, the production of tangible things in the US is becoming a foreign concept. But we can add value by providing services or by channeling information in a useful way. Money is another one. We work and get paid for it, and this is a necessary exchange, because we live and pay for that. While it’s necessary, I can’t say it’s that much of a motivation for me and for many people I know – but there is the old school that’s still trying to get rich (my problem is, most of the time someone else has to get poorer for you to get richer). Greed is powerful, and I am greedy – I’m just not sure I’m greedy for money. The problem with working for money is that its actual value isn’t determined by what we do, but what we do is given an arbitrary dollar value. This becomes a problem when global economic uncertainty can make the Dow dip 1,000 points in a single day and looming inflation makes me wonder if a $20 bill will be able to buy a sandwich in 10 years.

Where am I? I have a daily activity. It satisfies some of my desires and many of my physical needs. Still, I see people in the city who do not work. Their daily activity is survival, much like that of the developing world, and they live by the generosity of other people and by the accommodations afforded every American citizen, regardless of motivation or ability to work. And their mental and emotional state is largely unrelated to their vocation. When I look at these people, I see some who are happy – happier than most of New York’s workforce. I also see some who are apparently more miserable than anyone I have ever met. In these cases, I find it hard to believe that a steady job and an apartment could do anything for them, anyway. I just went in a circle.

I like my job. I know people who like their jobs. So I’m not talking about going off the reservation here. But I do want to remind myself (and any of you who haven’t thought it through), that work is a small element of a much bigger and more complicated picture. Around the time that jobs start disappearing (albeit slower now than last year), it’s probably a good time to look at what you do and imagine what your life would be like without your vocation. If you live in New York and you work for the city, I would do it sooner than later.

Thank you for reading my blog.

I rose out of the subway this morning with a new perspective. Flatiron, named for an iron-shaped building where Broadway and Fifth Avenue intersect, is a lively place. As a tourist, I was never interested in it. Nothing in the area ever attracted me, and most subway lines that I rode as a visitor bypass it. As a new resident working in the city, I am thrilled to be learning the area and am enjoying its architecture and culture. Almost everyone you see on the street works somewhere nearby. In the morning the sidewalks are lined with the fast-paced crowds you see in movies. At lunch, people wander to corner cafes and delis for a quick break from their computer screens. Today I took my grilled vegetables, fruit and cheese from a nearby cafe with a hot and cold buffet inside to Madison Square Park. It was full of vibrant young professionals chattering about the day’s troubles. Two girls next to me commiserated about their old boss and how he didn’t understand their generation. At some point during that lunch, I looked up at the New York Life building’s exquisite golden roof, the early spring sun warming my back and the droning, frustrated urbanites’ banter sitting dull in my ears. In that moment I felt excited. Excited to be alive. Excited to be working. Excited to be in this place. Excited about our future.

There are days when I am not excited at all, and sometimes I feel like giving in to my fears and my desire to be in control. Up here, I have no choice but to surrender – either to my own fears or to the one who sustains me. Today, I was reminded of His goodness. And I am looking forward to the ways Amber and I will grow here.

My optimism usually comes in short bursts, but I will let you know how things are going. Also, I will share a link to my main client soon.

Thanks for keeping up with me. If you’re reading and havent commented, I would love to know you’re out there.

Chris