In the spring of 2015, I graduated from a small public liberal arts school in Buffalo, NY with a Bachelor's in a field I now regret pursuing. Admitting I regret what I majored in for four years of arguably my most formative years of my life isn't exactly reassuring to someone currently pursuing their very own Bachelor's degree, but it lead me to where I am today and continues to put most aspects of my life into perspective as a post-grad jumping city to city.
Out of respect for my school, professors, and major, I will not reveal my major. What I will say is, is that my major was one that guaranteed a low salary, without pursuing a Master's in said field, and an almost on-demand infinite emotional bank of compassion. Regardless of the poorly dealt cards as a reward of four years' worth of stress, tears, and binge drinking, I secured my first post-grad job in Buffalo via, *drum roll* a Craigslist ad.
Was I ecstatic? Yes. Did I feel accomplished? Yes. Did I realize my major did not actually teach me how to critically think and fail to provide me with a practical, concrete set of skills? No, but I landed a job that paid more than a mediocre part-time job, contributed benefits and certainly could have opened doors to what I thought would expand on my prospective career.
After a year and a half of drinking communal coffee, listening to office gossip I wanted nothing to be apart of, and straining both my back and eyes in front of computer, I decided to jump ship to the Big Apple; the land of plumbing street steam, glamorous ensembles, vile smelling alleyways, boozy brunches, and most importantly, fast-paced professionals. Let me tell you first and foremost, this decision to move 7 hours away from my comfort zone was not an overnight epiphany that was not easy for me to explain to my beloved family.
Born and raised in the better parts of western New York, I was always surrounded by well-off types with just the right amount of ambition but I always innately felt that I could seek better, do better, be better. New York City was going to help me achieve that self-imposed mantra.
New York City is a different animal. It's the city of cities; synonymous with trailblazing, innovative, aggressive and paramount. With that being said, I was blissfully unaware of all of that in the sphere of my job search. Buffalo accepted me right out of college, paid me, and groomed me so there I stood thinking landing a job in NYC would be the same game. What I wish I knew about finding a job in New York City is that it is one of the world's largest and most competitive job markets, and employers want the creme de la creme of professionals.
What I excelled in professionally in Buffalo was subpar in New York City. Of course, I tried to network as much as I could virtually via LinkedIn and re-kindle relationships through Facebook Messenger with older sorority sisters who worked/lived in the greater NYC area, but that proved to be unsuccessful for various reasons including bad timing, no vacancies, etc. My so-called qualifications didn't even warrant human replies to job applications from companies I dreamed of working for. I was finding that the conventional way of applying to jobs was getting me nowhere fast. Not to mention, I was in the final stretch of my lease ending, so the pressure was on to land an interview or face the disappointing possibility of staying in Buffalo another year.
Then one night, tucked in bed, reveling in the day's feat, my phone lit up with a text from my roommate at the time saying that one of our sorority sisters who was already working in NYC knew of a vacancy at her company. Never have I ever jumped out of bed so fast in my life as I rushed to open my laptop and contact her about this heaven-sent opportunity. At last! I had an in! Fast forward God knows how much time, I did not get said job.
Nor did I even get an interview. Not even a follow up from the company's HR department. Go figure. What did come out of contacting her was being set up with a prestigious headhunter. If you know anything about headhunters, they can be wonderful resources even for the most well-connected person in a metropolis such as NYC.
The saying usually goes: "It's not what you know, it's who you know". Well, headhunters defy this and use your skill set to get your foot in the door, because they are commission based, meaning the more interviews they get their clients, the more they get paid. Low and behold, after many nights toiling away at my trusty laptop sending my resume into the void, I was on track to interview with a startup in midtown. Was I ecstatic? Yes. Did I feel accomplished? Yes. Did I get the job working as a temp for 3 months to then be jobless in NYC for a month and then get hired at another company to which I'm currently permanently employed? Also yes, and the roller coaster ride of moving across New York state to fulfill my dream of working in the best city in the world has built a character out me and made me all the more driven, resilient, and aware of what I have achieved and how much farther I have yet to go.