Why New York?
I get a lot of questions of why I decided to work in NYC versus finding a job in Philadelphia.
Let me start with saying that New York has always been a dream for me. I have always wanted to work in NYC simply because of my photography ambitions... so why not make the first step?
When I graduated from Temple University, I applied to my first job in Philadelphia right out of college. At the time, anything criminal justice related were on a hiring freeze and it took me months to find a job. I graduated in August of 2009 and had to get a part time at Express until May 2010. May 2010, I got my first full time job in Center City where I gradually began moving up in the company and ended up working in the Philadelphia Prions. Shortly after transferring I got burned out. After taking about a month to myself, I worked at a health clinic and then moved outside of the county. My dad has always told me to never settle if you don’t see growth. That has been a mantra I have kept in mind my entire career.
I applied to a position in NYC, interviewed and got the job. Despite dealing with the perils of NJT and the amount of expenses I have on a monthly basis, it was the best decision for my career and my photography. Most people don’t take the leap because they may feel that companies will not hire you if you don’t live in their state. Let me tell you, I never knew the amount of people that commute on a daily basis from Philadelphia to NYC. I made some amazing friends on this commute and all have different work backgrounds. In regards to my photography, the ability to flourish your craft is a lot easier because of the open community of Arts. You can walk down the street with your camera, take a picture and someone will ask you about your photo and invite you to a private event. It happens, NYC subway is infamous for sparking random ART conversations. I can not say I have been able to find something similar in Philadelphia.
Work wise, I have been able to find work between both my fields which were Social Services and Administration of Justice and Security. In NYC, there are a huge variety of locations across th five boroughs where jobs within these fields are available. That includes entry level, managerial and adminstrative.
In all honesty, Philadelphia doesn’t pay enough. I have searched for jobs in Philadelphia under my degree and the pay is ridiculously low. I remember one employer requiring a Master’s Degree and paying in the low 30s. My Master degree was more than that alone. Sadly, I’ve seen more job postings with the same qualifications and same pay. Some may argue I am not looking hard enough but NYC pays more. Most will argue that cost of living is cheaper and equals out... and it does.. but after having this same conversation with other fellow commuters, everyone across the board agrees that the greater opportunity of working in a different state drives a lot of us to commute. A lot of my commuter friends work along the Northeast Corridor ( our NJT train line) and work in New Brunswick, Newark, Jersey City and NYC ( 90 % of us).
I would encourage anyone to apply to any job that appeals to you. I am happy I made the decision to apply in NYC and now get to take the trains to and from. Don’t get me wrong it also has it disadvantages:
1. I depend on three rail systems: Septa, NJTRANSIT and MTA. If you have research these three agencies, you may find some of my tweets complaining about their service. Commute has it’s good and bad days but as they say... good outweighs bad sometimes
2. Leaving early and Arriving home late. I wake up at 5am and I am on my Septa train to Trenton by 6:30. At Trenton, I take my connecting train to NYC and once in NYC , I take MTA one stop to transfer to another subway train. I come home around 7:30- 8 if we are not experiencing delays.
3. Cost of Commuting. My monthly expense for commuting is around $700 for all these rail systems. NJTRANSIT being my most expensive pass. Amtrak is not an option. A monthly pass for Amtrak is $1300 a month. Considering that Amtrak is the root of 99% of the delays going into NYC , I wouldn’t give them any of my money.
4.Delays... Delays are unavoidable when riding by train. Trip to and from Philadelphia is two hours. Any delays make this into a long morning or a very long night for you. The issue can be Septa... can be MTA... can be NJT..... actually it can be all three because I’ve encountered this plenty of times.
Now I know what you are thinking... WHY? But let me tell you.... the friendships I’ve made, the networking and connections that have come from this commute make it worth it to me. Right now I am typing this blog post on my iPad en route to NYC. You get used to the commute and the two hours goes by quicker than you expect.
My goal is to move to NYC and I am considering NJ of course. I have a plan in mind and it’s a matter of time for me right now. I am coming up to my second year of commuting and my answer my differ if I don’t mind it .. but I love NYC... I feel at home there.
So my advice is to not let your location be your limitation. Take advantage that these opportunities exist and think outside of the box. If you have any questions about commuting, shoot me an email. I’d be happy to guide you in the right direction.