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View Full Version : wanna move eventually—need encouragement, if it's out there



moogyboy
June 27th, 2006, 04:45 PM
hey all

I've popped up a few times on here with various pairs of pennies, but now I'd like to tell you what's really on my mind. Basic story:

* 32 years old
* graphic designer by trade, but also generally into creative fields--interested in doing photography, film, music (in two bands right now, and also into recording), writing, etc.
* lifelong resident of an almost utterly boring Midwestern city, whose glory days are well in the past
* has lived in same neighborhood, in one of the two same houses on the same two streets, for entire life; parents still live a block away--we're talking major Greek ghetto life pattern here, except this is a residential area full of moronic clean-cut college kids near the state university, in aforementioned boring city
* living with wonderful girl from New Jersey who would like to go back east and would not like to go alone
* has dreamed of moving to NYC since college, for many reasons, but never did, mainly because of fear of the unknown, fear of homesickness, got jobs just in the nick of time, etc.
* now, at 32 with a steady job, bills, credit debt...afraid to—haunted by horror stories about ending up penniless in the big, bad, ultracompetitive, and uncaring City; worried about job prospects, whether own abilities are "enough", getting by...
* feels like time is slipping by and doesn't want to be 40 when he finally gets up the nerve to effin' move, which is stupid of course

Basically, what I'm getting at is that I desperately want to come to NYC for at least a while before I get too old—I've made it an explicit long-term goal—but I'm incapacitated by uncertanties and fear. I'm not scared of big city life, so to speak, but rather my ability to get by, find work (I actually want to try transitioning to freelance work, if that's not an insanely dumb idea) and a reasonable place to stay, and so on. Certainly threads on this forum like the cost-of-living and finding-an-apartment ones have dampened my spirits a bit. It just sounds so out of my reach.

I guess I'm hoping to find some encouragement from some of you who actually live out there, who can maybe put some of my fears to rest and knock me out of my paralysis. I'd especially like to hear from other designers and people in the creative fields about what the terrain is like out there, besides that it's dog-eat-dog. I'm not looking for a guarantee that I'll make a great living and have a network-sitcom-grade apartment in Midtown Manhattan, but just some kind and knowledgeable words to reassure me that I'm not pipe dreaming, and that relocating something that I can do.

Appreciate it, folks, thanks...

cheers

Billy S.

MrSpice
June 27th, 2006, 04:58 PM
The most important thing for you Bill is your career and experience and being able to find yourself here in New York. You said that you're "graphic designer by trade, but also generally into creative fields--interested in doing photography, film, music (in two bands right now, and also into recording), writing, etc." That's a long list. How do you make a living? What is your recent work history? Can you try to get the job before you move to New York (fly here to interview, etc.)?

I would think that finding a good job should be your #1 priority (as well as it should be for your gf).

moogyboy
June 27th, 2006, 05:14 PM
The most important thing for you Bill is your career and experience and being able to find yourself here in New York. You said that you're "graphic designer by trade, but also generally into creative fields--interested in doing photography, film, music (in two bands right now, and also into recording), writing, etc." That's a long list. How do you make a living? What is your recent work history? Can you try to get the job before you move to New York (fly here to interview, etc.)?

I would think that finding a good job should be your #1 priority (as well as it should be for your gf).

Yeah, I've worked as a graphic designer for about 10 years and I have a BSID degree in it, so I have some experience. Not that I'm incompetent or do bad work, but I worry that my portfolio so far wouldn't be impressive enough for employers in a super-competitive market like NYC, what with all the other younger kids fresh out of design school flocking there as well. Another thing is that I've been a print designer, since web design was in its infancy when I was in school, and the jobs I've had have offered little to no opportunity to learn or do web stuff. All this is that's why I want to explore freelancing.

The music, photography, etc., are all other things that I would like to pursue as alternate or side careers, but probably also as a freelancer. They're all things that I've done informally or as a hobby, but that I'm pretty good at. My main career is in design, though. Hope that clarifies somewhat.

antinimby
June 27th, 2006, 05:24 PM
First of all, I can't answer all of your questions but I do have one thing to say. Don't expect the same type or level of comfort and conveniences you are accustomed to, once you are here.

MrSpice
June 27th, 2006, 05:34 PM
Not that I'm incompetent or do bad work, but I worry that my portfolio so far wouldn't be impressive enough for employers in a super-competitive market like NYC, what with all the other younger kids fresh out of design school flocking there as well.

I don't think that market in New York is any different than in other places in the country in a sense that all firms have to compete on the domestic and global markets. I would also assume that there are many different jobs and firms in NYC in this field - some are advanced and have the best designers in the world, and some are not. It's not like all the firms in NYC only hire the best of the best... If that was the case, many people in the city would be without a job. It's not like every NYC worker is brilliant. Instead of guessing, why don't you explore NYC's job market. Have you looked at the job ads on Monster, Hotjobs and NY Times Sunday section? If I were you, I'd first find a job here and move only after I do have a job. Freelancing opportunities is something only a person in your field can comment on - I don't know whether your skills are in demand and how you're going to find clients here.

I would suggest working on improving your skills and getting a job in NYC. The best possible situation would be lining up several interviews and coming here for a few days just to interview.

Another way to do it would be stay here in some extended-stay hotel or hostel and look for jobs and freelancing opportunities for 2-3 weeks and see if you can make a living here.

ryan
June 27th, 2006, 05:46 PM
You'd have no trouble getting a job in NYC with a print design background, what with a huge part of the publishing business here. You might have to slum in some freelancing or less desireable position to get the NYC experience that will get you someplace interesting, but I don't think you'd have to worry about getting a job.

antinimby is right that the standard of living is quite a bit different, so by your midwestern standards you'll be living in a small, crappy apartment and everything will seem expensive for a while. NYC doesn't make sense for homebodies. But after you adjust you'll enjoy a lot more entertainment and better food and socializing than you do now.

lofter1
June 27th, 2006, 07:16 PM
DO IT!!!

Life passes by way too quick ...

ktn
June 27th, 2006, 08:10 PM
Hi there,

I came to NYC in 2000 and made it. I'm a designer. Getting ready to close on a luxury condo. But it's 2006 and things are a bit different. There's plenty of work in the creative field but you definitely have to be good if you want good money. My nephew is a graphic designer/web artist and is making the bucks. But he's really good. Everybody says to find a job first, but alot of employers don't even want to talk to candidates outside the city--there's so many potentials here, why look elsewhere. My friend is HR for a really good financial firm and she throws out of town resumes away. But, I'm sure not everybody will do that. You gotta stay positive and believe you can make it in this city.....hey I did....I came here with $1000 in my pocket!

If you want to freelance as a graphic artist---check this agency out:

www.24seveninc.com (http://www.24seveninc.com)

They will get you working right away!


Best of luck to ya...

aural iNK
June 28th, 2006, 12:38 AM
From my recent experience, moving to NYC hasn't been nearly as hard as people make it out to be. I moved from a small southern town and was able to find a decent job in graphic design within two weeks of living here. I had limited experience and what I consider to be an average portfolio, but I was still able to get my foot in the door. I share a pretty good sized one bedroom apartment in the Upper West Side with my girlfriend whom was able to find a job quite easily. I would just make sure you pay down your debts and have some cash saved up for all of your moving expenses and you shouldn't have any trouble, especially if you live within your means. Good luck!

antinimby
June 28th, 2006, 01:28 AM
So many of you have made it.
Now, let's hear from those that didn't. :D

milleniumcab
June 28th, 2006, 01:51 AM
Yeah, I've worked as a graphic designer for about 10 years and I have a BSID degree in it, so I have some experience. Not that I'm incompetent or do bad work, but I worry that my portfolio so far wouldn't be impressive enough for employers in a super-competitive market like NYC,
Having an unimpressive portfolio CAN work to your advantage.. Some people are refused for jobs because they are overqualified..;)

milleniumcab
June 28th, 2006, 01:55 AM
DO IT!!!

Life passes by way too quick ...

Ohh man, does it ever...:D

moogyboy
June 28th, 2006, 08:41 AM
Another way to do it would be stay here in some extended-stay hotel or hostel and look for jobs and freelancing opportunities for 2-3 weeks and see if you can make a living here.

Another possibility is to camp out at her family's house temporarily, if they're all agreeable to it. They live in Roselle Park, near Elizabeth--about a 20 minute train ride to/from Penn Station. Her sister commutes every day to her job in Manhattan so it's not too painful.

moogyboy
June 28th, 2006, 08:56 AM
From my recent experience, moving to NYC hasn't been nearly as hard as people make it out to be. I moved from a small southern town and was able to find a decent job in graphic design within two weeks of living here. I had limited experience and what I consider to be an average portfolio, but I was still able to get my foot in the door. I share a pretty good sized one bedroom apartment in the Upper West Side with my girlfriend whom was able to find a job quite easily. I would just make sure you pay down your debts and have some cash saved up for all of your moving expenses and you shouldn't have any trouble, especially if you live within your means. Good luck!

Your story there is especially inspiring, INK. Your's too, ktn. :-) I appreciate it.

My perception is that the design community here in Columbus isn't just very small, but also somewhat tight-knit and cliquish--not many positions, and when there are openings it's hard to get your foot in the door. And all the designers in this town seem to know all the other designers in this town, not to mention all the design profs at Ohio State and CCAD. Maybe that's why I'm so insecure about looking for work. Maybe it's here that's ultra-competitive. For all I know NYC might really be a piece of cake.

ryan
June 28th, 2006, 10:35 AM
Some people are refused for jobs because they are overqualified..;)

You have a specific example of this senario? Sounds like sour grapes to me.

moogyboy
June 28th, 2006, 10:49 AM
You have a specific example of this senario? Sounds like sour grapes to me.

Well, it is true that some employers shy away from people with stellar credentials because they don't want to pay stellar salaries—they'd rather get fresh-faced kids right out of college who'll work for beer money.

Also, I think many jobs in graphics are unfortunately of the more menial just-stick-it-together-and-make-it-sorta-pretty-by-5pm variety; those jobs seem to value ablility to click a mouse button and apply Photoshop filters more than artistic vision, and they pay accordingly. Taking those awesome skills and portfolio into an interview for such a job would be like trying to sell a Corvette to someone who's in the market for a used Hyundai. :-)

ryan
June 28th, 2006, 11:18 AM
moogyboy, it's true that you could walk into an interview for a production designer job expecting it to be a creative position, but that is more the interviewee's fault than the interviewer. (it would be pretty clear from the job posting). In my experience as a designer I have yet to run into an employer who wants an underachiever. Quite the opposite - I think they're always looking to get the most skills they possibly can. If a person has trouble identifying appropriate positions for their experience level, I think a headhunter could provide some guidance (and they obviously have jobs to fill, so they can make the process easier).

Basically, I don't think you should worry about this getting between you and a job. The design job market - and salaries - are more robust in NYC than anywhere else. Finding work with your experience will be relatively easy.

moogyboy
June 29th, 2006, 10:13 AM
Thanks Ryan, I really appreciate your advice! It's heartening to know that NYC, or at least its job market, isn't quite as impenetrable as I've been led to believe. If I can manage to work in NYC and make a decent salary, I'm confident that the rest will fall into place.


moogyboy, it's true that you could walk into an interview for a production designer job expecting it to be a creative position, but that is more the interviewee's fault than the interviewer. (it would be pretty clear from the job posting). In my experience as a designer I have yet to run into an employer who wants an underachiever. Quite the opposite - I think they're always looking to get the most skills they possibly can. If a person has trouble identifying appropriate positions for their experience level, I think a headhunter could provide some guidance (and they obviously have jobs to fill, so they can make the process easier).

Basically, I don't think you should worry about this getting between you and a job. The design job market - and salaries - are more robust in NYC than anywhere else. Finding work with your experience will be relatively easy.

Ninjahedge
June 29th, 2006, 10:36 AM
Nothing falls into place moog.

Everything has to be put there. The ease with which you can do it depends on what you want to place and how.

So long as you have no feeling that you do one thing and everything else will magically solve itself, you are probably in good stead.

NYC is not impossible, but it is not miracle-town either.

Miracles happen infrequently here, otherwise they would nt be miracles! ;)

ryan
June 29th, 2006, 03:07 PM
isn't quite as impenetrable as I've been led to believe. I

I heard a lot of horror stories about NYC when I was growing up too. You have to remember that the people telling the stories didn't stay here - they either failed to adjust or didn't fit in. Either way, they put that on the place rather than themselves. In college I literally "it's too expensive to live there." Well 8 million people disagree. It's not for everyone though - like I said above, if you're a homebody (or materialistic about cars and homes - as opposed to clothes and traveling) you might not like it here.

moogyboy
June 29th, 2006, 05:14 PM
I heard a lot of horror stories about NYC when I was growing up too. You have to remember that the people telling the stories didn't stay here - they either failed to adjust or didn't fit in. Either way, they put that on the place rather than themselves. In college I literally "it's too expensive to live there." Well 8 million people disagree.

The horror stories come mainly from my mom, whose only direct experience with NYC was disembarking from the boat when she moved here from rural Greece in 1963. Since then, she's only experienced NYC from TV and the like. She continues to insist that NYC is the worst city in the world, and that Columbus is the best. Her exact words. Ugh.


It's not for everyone though - like I said above, if you're a homebody (or materialistic about cars and homes - as opposed to clothes and traveling) you might not like it here.

No problem there; I'm definitely not a homebody by your definition. I actually live pretty modestly with regards to status symbols and such. Can't stand that smug, suburban middle-class materialistic lifestyle, in fact--Columbus is saturated with it, and that's what I'm trying to escape from. I personally think that with my temperament I'd fit in rather well in NYC.

Cars=sick of them. Too expensive to buy nice ones, the only ones I can afford keep breaking down requiring expensive repairs, insurance is a racket, and besides I'm sick of being jealous of people who can afford nice ones. Yes, sour grapes, I admit it.

Home=given up hope on ever having one.

Clothes=being stylish not currently a priority, although it would be nice to be able to shop regularly.

Travel=definitely love traveling, I just don't do it enough.

ryan
June 29th, 2006, 05:49 PM
I think you'll do well to move here then. Good luck.

milleniumcab
June 30th, 2006, 12:27 AM
You have a specific example of this senario? Sounds like sour grapes to me.
It happened to my brother.. He is an Electrical Engineer specialized in Software with an impressive resume.. When he wanted to come back to East Coast, he was interviewed by many companies but couldn't find a job suitable for his qualifications...He was simply overqualified..So he ended up staying in CA.. now retired living in Seattle, WA ...

I don't know...Maybe in moogyboy's field, there is no such thing as being overqualified...

I wish him all the luck....

moogyboy
July 2nd, 2006, 03:02 AM
hey all

I gotta tell you, I feel much better about the idea of relocating after talking with you guys. Thanks for all your advice and nice words! I'll keep you all posted on what goes on.

cheers

Billy S.