Friday, January 8, 2010

Are you a New Yorker at heart?

Here are three questions to ask yourself. You need to answer yes to at least two in order to be a good fit in NYC.

1. Are you a maximizer?

Optimizers are people who are always looking for the best of everything. ... New Yorkers skew heavily to strong maximizers.

This is because you can find pretty much the best of everything in NYC. ...

I know you have heard that NYC is expensive. But you will never really know how insanely expensive it is until you live there.It’s like having children. Everyone will tell you having kids is really, really hard. Harder than anything they’ve ever done. And everyone will also say that after all those warnings, they still were not prepared for how hard it was when the baby came. This is what money is like in NYC – you absolutely cannot imagine how expensive it is there until you are there, living day to day.

So New Yorkers constantly have to ask themselves: What am I paying so much for? What am I suffering so much for? Life in NYC is very hard (here's funny commentary on that), and if you go to any city in the US, there is a bond that ex-New Yorkers have because they know they each understand how hard life was.

I say this to tell you that the only way to justify the cost and hardship of NYC is because you’re an optimizer. ...

2. Do you want to be at the top of your field (or marry someone like that)?

In many cases, people have to work in NYC in order to rise to the top in their field. (Or, they want to marry someone like this – NYC is a very competitive place to find a husband but only because women recognize that the pickings are superior: Maximizing knows no bounds.) ...

But the truth is that NYC is very, very competitive, because it's a magnet for ambitious, strong performers, and if you are not in the top, you will probably not do very well there. So if you do not go to NYC thinking you will work your way to the top of your field, you probably don’t need to be going there for your work. ...

3. Do you value an interesting life over happy life?

New Yorkers are not known for being happy. In fact, they are known for being unhappy, and they don’t care.

On balance, New Yorkers understand that most people who are happy are complacent – they like the status quo. And people who like what they have do not do innovative things to change the world. ...

What you really pay for with the exorbitant cost of living and the hard lifestyle is to be surrounded by strong performers, huge ambitions, and constant need for change and innovation. To live in New York City, you have to trade happiness for this. To most New Yorkers, it’s a no-brainer. They would take that trade any day. To most people outside of New York City the trade-off is crazy.
--Penelope Trunk, Brazen Careerist, on the costs and benefits of New York City

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