What Would You Do in My Situation? Advice Needed

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 27, 2015 4:38 AM GMT
    This is a long post but I'm currently going through a difficult rut in my life that's going on too long and need some advice on what to do. I feel like a bit of a failure at the moment and need advice of what to do at this point. There's 2 major areas of my life that keep me up at night: my job and living situation.

    First, I work at a low paying job for a struggling company that seems on the brink of closing down since the staff had been shrinking for the past 2 years (none of this is confirmed but it's strange all the managers are now gone) plus I'm making only $25k per year in NYC.

    That income alone puts me at just above poverty levels living paycheck to
    paycheck, barely able to save money and effecting nearly every area of my life. I love living in NYC but this is not the place to be living on a low income. Normally I'm a relaxed, easy going and mostly positive, ambitious person but lately I'm stressed out over my bank account, have varying degrees of anxiety and panic about my future. Also, worried I'm developing mild depression also since I seem to have lost my sense of optimism

    I've been job hunting for 2 years now for a high paying position and not getting offers. It's been incredibly frustrating, disheartening and has made me a bit disillusioned about goals I have for the future (owning a home, retirement savings, having a family, etc)

    You'd think a college degree means something but apparently not in today's market...

    A salary of $40,000 per year would feel like six figures and having health benefits would make me feel like I won the lottery. Seriously, though I don't see myself getting any job offers for positions since I haven't after all these years.

    Second is my ridiculous living situation; renting a room in cat lady's place in a far flung neighborhood with an inner city flavor and motorbike gangs run amok here in the summer drawn by all the shady nightclubs around here. I can't stand the thought of spending another summer here trying to sleep through crazy traffic noise. The apt is also being painted and I came home today to see the painters made it look like a bomb had gone off and my room is being temp used to stow the living room couch. The internet is knocked out and not sure when it's coming back... I can't live like this. It's not normal IMO, even for NYC standards. After wrestling for a few minutes with giving her 30 days notice tomorrow (with no other place
    lined up) called my parents and told them what was going on. They advised not to come home unemployed and to stick it out at her place until I have enough saved up for a deposit to move away.

    I'm pushed to the verge of just giving up entirely and moving home since
    the quality of my life had declined, if this is the best I can do living in NYC is not worth it and all signs seem to be pointing to moving back and figuring things out.

    But part of me wants to stay (if not in the city then in the metro area) and the logical side of me knows I'll get through this awful life rut. But when? I've thought about getting some sort of weekend job or gig to make some extra money to put down on a deposit for a place in a nicer area with roommate(s) my age but I'm over qualified for a lot of part time/ weekend jobs.... Def can't stay long term on NYC if I can't find a real job but as my parent's said quitting and moving back home unemployed isn't wise either... Especially in this economy,

    What would you do in my situation?
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    Feb 27, 2015 4:50 AM GMT
    I would definitely expand my horizon in terms job hunting. Though you love NYC but you sound miserable and your living condition and your emotional health seem to worsen.

    I don't know how one could survive on $25K/year in NYC. Even $40K would be tough!!

    Moving home for a time can help you regain perspective too. It will be a fresh start for you.

    What college degree do you have? And is there job market for your degree in NYC??

    Wish you the best!
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    Feb 27, 2015 5:08 AM GMT
    Jersey? That's a possibility, I like Montclair and areas nearby. Friend of mine moved from Hell's Kitchen to New Brunswick but only because they got a job with one of the labs down there. Stamford, CT is another area I'd move to if I can get a job there. Part of me wants to put my stuff in storage, head to a low cost of living country with a warm climate and try my hand with freelancing for a bit. That's a bit of a travel fantasy at the moment though...

    polfsky saidI would definitely expand my horizon in terms job hunting. Though you love NYC but you sound miserable and your living condition and your emotional healthy seem to worsen.

    I don't know how one could survive on $25K/year in NYC. Even $40K would be tough!!

    Moving home for a time can help you regain perspective too. It will be a fresh start for you.

    What college degree do you have? And is there job market for your degree in NYC??

    Wish you the best!


    Good points.

    It's a love/ hate relationship with NYC at this point after experiencing the "honeymoon years" as I call it. Architecture/ urban planning is what my degree is in which takes years to get established in and the field was hit hard by the recession. I've been applying to nearly any type of entry level job I'm qualified for but the job market is hyper competitive/ way too many applicants for each job opening I've discovered. Now applying for jobs in the metro area and nearby cities like Boston and DC.

    My ex made $50,000 per year and he mentioned after finally getting a real paying job it was still too expensive to live in Queens, I looked at him with confusion since I only make 1/2 that and live in Manhattan, which is fun when you're a college student but I'm closer to 30 than college age. At my income that's foolish and I worry "making it" at that income costing me my future.... No health coverage, minuscule savings, no retirement- that's not really making I guess considering my situation.
  • SilverRRCloud

    Posts: 873

    Feb 27, 2015 5:41 AM GMT
    I have faced a similar situation at in my late 20s when for the things entirely out of my control all the hell broke loseicon_smile.gif.

    I decided to follow the "no prisoners policy". I defined a professional/financial success to be my only goal at that time. I also declared everything else to be very secondary.

    I worked three jobs, was saving up, and yeah, I was burning the candle from both ends, as the saying goes.

    But I prevailed. Because I never gave up, and nothing was too much for me. I saw this as an elementary survival struggle. Now, with the benefit of the hindsight, I was right. It was a survival struggle, and I was right to call the things by their right names.

    Target that one thing that you want to achieve, and forget the rest. Sure, NYC is a cool place to be. @ $25K a year? Much less so. Go, get yourself a good job anywhere. Start enjoying your life without sharing it with your cat lady and the biker gangs in the hood.

    As soon as you enter the world of people who live with decent incomes, things start changing very quickly. Suddenly, everybody knows somebody who always needs somethingicon_biggrin.gif. And more often than not, one opportunity leads to the other. Stay with your cat lady and forfait your future for good for the sake of living in NYC sort of? Nope.

    SC
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 27, 2015 5:47 AM GMT
    I'll never understand why people live in New York. Unless you're independently wealthy you'll spend your life working to pay your bills with little or nothing left over. The atmosphere is oppressive and cold and the weather even colder.
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    Feb 28, 2015 5:42 PM GMT
    Radd saidI'll never understand why people live in New York. Unless you're independently wealthy you'll spend your life working to pay your bills with little or nothing left over. The atmosphere is oppressive and cold and the weather even colder.


    +1
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2015 6:54 PM GMT
    I had a cousin struggle to live in the city back in the 70s or 80s. I remember him living in a 700-month, studio or a 1 bedroom, whatever it was, it was tiny, with 3 or 4 other people, right at the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel. Not a pretty situation. But he was a student at Julliard and later hooked into an internationally renown dance troupe based in the city. So he suffered for his art.

    I've another friend in the city sort of, actually in a rent control building in Brooklyn who recently moved into new offices at One World Trade. A car brings her if she's working late. And she loves loves loves the city. But she couldn't do what she does anywhere else. Nor could my cousin have attained his level of performing dance pretty much anywhere else.

    So for some things, New York City is the only place to be.

    For architecture and urban planning? Not so much.

    I've never lived in NY, though I was raised in Bergen County, but having been involved directly or indirectly in the construction industry for many years, I've dealt with firms as large as CH2MHill and as talented as Arquitectonica. I've met Soleri of Arcosanti fame. None of that from NY. That's very not just regional but pretty much wherever people live such that even the largest firms have satellite offices.

    So NY, I love the pizza there, there's a little pizza joint in the village I can't stop thinking about, but you don't have to suffer for your art.

    Also realize the nature of that beast, the construction industry. Highly cyclical. Long term, continual employment might even be iffy at the largest firms.

    So here's what I suggest. I'd concentrate on urban planning--as for some reason it sounds like you don't have a master's in architecture--and get a job anywhere in the country. Probably every incorporated city and even most sizable towns have their own building departments, city planners, code enforcers, etc. So get your foot in one of those doors. Those are the more secure jobs, not as subjected to the cycles. And you never know where something might lead.

    You could start off as staff, as city planner, you might get yourself a position on a review board, and you might one day wind up as principal of a firm who brought in a project before your board where you were once staff. And that can happen anywhere. Suffering is optional.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2015 7:14 PM GMT
    Occupational worried- If you can't get a relevant job, can you get worthy and relevant volunteer experience (obviously limited if you are full-time employed at an admittedly unsatisfactory job)? Assuming you are in some sort of professional or technical position, can you you get contacts and good references by participating in whatever associations are relevant to your career? Consider contacting alumni (hopefully successful) from wherever you went to school - they may be contacts for positions or sources of advice.

    If you just need extra money, can you get a part time job for a while (you're young - you could handle it) like sorting parcels at UPS at night?
  • metta

    Posts: 39118

    Feb 28, 2015 7:24 PM GMT
    Have you considered focusing on finding an entry level job in the field that you want to work in? Don't focus on it being in NYC. Be open to moving to another state, or even country, if you have to. Once you get some good experience, you will probably be able to be more choosy about what job you take and where you live. Focus more on getting a job in the field that you want to live in.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2015 7:26 PM GMT
    If you can make it in NY you can make it anywhere.

    Conversely, it isn't for everyone. I LOVE NYC! But I'd need to be rich to live there. Are there any other cities you love? I fell in love with San Diego and Palm Springs.

    You will make it work if you WANT to live there. But NYC is a tall order to live....poor.
  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Feb 28, 2015 7:49 PM GMT
    I definitely empathize with your situation. I lived on maybe $23k last year, most of it scholarships and grants, and it's nearly impossible. I know how tough it is.

    I think you need to earn a Masters in Architecture/Urban Planning and you will really start to see doors opening for you. In that field, grad school is almost a necessity. I would look for a new job that also offers tuition assistance and if you are looking for a better living situation with roommates your age, move into Brooklyn. I don't know why you are trying to make it work in Manhattan on a $25k salary, that is the definition of insanity.

    You're life definitely needs some restructuring, but you'll get there. We Millenials came of age at the worst time in the last 50 years, so it's going to be hard.
  • interesting

    Posts: 573

    Mar 02, 2015 3:35 AM GMT
    We're kind of in the same boat, with my degree in Microbiology, and a Master's at that, I can't even get one decent job offer. My current employment right now makes about maybe 20K a year, but I'm thankful because I have insurance, I'm living with my parents in a nice neighborhood, helping them around the house to earn my keep atm anyway.

    I think what I am looking into should benefit you also, I'm thinking about doing an unpaid internship to get my foot in somewhere, then I could go up from there, otherwise, I have been looking for a year and a half right now, but I also thought about starting over with a new degree something that would get me a job, but I would enjoy aspects of it.

    But I think one thing at one time, perhaps settling in a new "safe" place should be the priority, that should keep you more positive and restore some of your optimism.
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    Mar 11, 2015 5:36 PM GMT
    / I think a lot of people are going through this right now, especially young people who are starting out in a (still) bad economy. Have to admit I have a bit of perfectionism also which doesn't help.

    Thanks for the advice; some good advice to conside getting myself out of this rut. A lot of the advice on this really thread on Metafilter helped also even though my situation isn't as bad as his and it might help with others who are seeking advice in similar situations: http://ask.metafilter.com/179506/How-to-overcome-feeling-lost-aimless-confused-and-alone