“If I can make it there,” Frank Sinatra sang of New York City, “I’ll make it anywhere.” Frank was right, of course: once the blue-eyed Hoboken native made it in New York City, international fame was a cakewalk. For countless others in other lines of work, the dream is very similar.
New York is competitive because the best of the best come here, and the best of the best come here because it’s competitive. Sure, there’s an industry or two out there where another town might be the hotter destination, but New York City is the big leagues for a staggering variety of gigs: writers, chefs, musicians, investors, and ballplayers all know that this is the place where they’ll find the toughest competitors, the brightest lights, and the biggest opportunities.
“Making it” in New York City comes with big rewards and immense satisfaction. But getting ahead isn’t easy in this city. If you’re going to pull it off, then you’re going to need a few tips.
Networking in New York
It’s not quite true that “who you know” matters more than “what you know”, thank goodness. Your natural talent and hard work matter too. But it’s also no secret that networking is crucial to success in just about any industry. Even in lines of work where you would think meritocracy should reign supreme, networks elevate people who are well-liked, helpful, and (sorry, but it’s true) know how to play the game.
Networking isn’t some sinister thing, though. While it has its flaws, it’s also a great way for you to demonstrate your worth to others in your profession (and for others to show you who they really are, too). And you have an advantage, because if there’s one place where you’ll run into a lot of top-notch pros, it’s New York City.
So seize this opportunity. Look for opportunities to meet other professionals. Go to meet-ups and events. Take training courses. Hang out where your idols hang out. Your connections could make all the difference someday.
Getting good counsel
What should you do next with your career? How can you handle the stress? Are you making the right choices at work and at home? These are tough questions, and getting satisfying answers is key to your personal and professional future. You need to know your own strategy, and you also need to be able to focus on work.
So address your concerns, and your mental health too. Consider career counseling, so you can gain a confidant and great feedback on your career plans and choices. Get a therapist, and care for your mind. Counselors, therapists, and psychologists can be immensely valuable allies in your battle to “make it” in New York City.
Focus on the future
New York City is stressful, busy, and expensive. Coming to this city can feel like chasing a dream, but living here can cause you to get swamped in daily realities, chores, and bills. It can be all too easy to live day-to-day and paycheck-to-paycheck, clocking out each day for a few beers and some rest before heading back to the grind.
But you need to make time to plan. Set aside time after work or on the weekends, stay home from the bars, and map out your one-, three-, and five-year plans. Dream big and work hard. Pay the bills, but don’t obsess over the day-to-day picture. Instead, think of the big picture. That’s what New York is all about.