Lifestyle

Living & Working in New York as a Graduate

April 13, 2015

Irish Central recently featured this article on their website. It was a nice way to recap on my experience here so far.

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First up, we look at the world of marketing and tourism in New York with Louise Cooney, a Public Relations and Business Tourism Assistant with Tourism Ireland.

Louise, from Limerick, is a recent graduate of a Masters in Marketing from DIT following her undergraduate course in Communication Studies from DCU.

Taking the plunge

I have family over here and had visited many times in the past. I spent three full summers here before moving this year. I had always loved America – especially New York.

So then I decided I would come here after college … I handed in my masters thesis two days before flying over.

I had been looking [for a job] in Dublin, too. Then, I had a job interview for a New-York based job and I really set my heart on coming here then. I was lucky enough to secure a job before finishing my degree. However, I definitely did find it difficult. I find interviews really nerve-wracking so I prepared myself and eventually got a job that I couldn’t be more suited to and happy in.

It [the J-1 visa] was handled through the company I was hired for so on this occasion it was pretty simple. I know from applying for summer J-1 visas in the past that it is a lengthy process.

As an Irish company, they understood that you have to be patient and you really can’t make the visa process go any faster than it already is going.

Job opportunities

I think there are a lot of marketing jobs out there, yes. However, for graduates we are quite limited as I don’t think there are enough paying jobs for our experience level. Many people begin working in internships which are, for the majority, unpaid.

There are so many exciting companies and brands to work with in New York. It’s cool to meet people and learn about what they do at all the different networking nights and events there are on in the city every night of the week. Not to mention Americans love us Irish, so opportunities always seem to present themselves. I honestly think any time you leave the house in New York something good can happen – hence why I am never in my apartment.

I would say to know what you want but also be open-minded. It’s great to secure a job in what you are interested in before you come out, but if you can’t, there are many opportunities out here for people who want them. I know so many people who have come out here without a job and found amazing jobs with companies that are going to sponsor them to stay.

Working in a US office

This is my first full time job so I don’t have an Irish office to compare it to but from what I have seen and experienced I’ve learned that it’s different in that the work day here is a lot longer than what it is at home. You start at 9 and sometimes could be in until 9 at night. In America, there are also a lot less holiday days given (on average 11), but you do get the odd snow day and a lot of companies in NY get summer Fridays (meaning the office closes at 2pm). As we are an Irish company and I am here on a graduate program I get the usual 21 days holidays so I’m really spoiled.

Life experience

I’ve gained so much experience in every aspect of my life I don’t even know where to start. I’ve experienced a new level of independence, living over here on my own without any of my family, friends or my boyfriend. It’s my first full-time job so everything I’ve learned career-wise has been huge. I’ve learned so much about time management, budgeting, meeting new people while also keeping in contact with people at home.

One thing I love about America is the huge amount of choice you have for everything – particularly food! There is always so much to do as well – I love that. I like being busy and having fun things to do all the time. For me, even strolling around New York with nothing to do is fun. But I still have a list the length of my arm on my to-do list – safe to say I haven’t had a proper sleep in or a lazy day since I got here – and there isn’t one on the cards any time soon.

I definitely miss the comforts of home though – familiar faces, food and TV (I don’t have one in my apartment, or a living room for that matter). I do miss the ease of having a car too. I have found that all the junk you would usually keep in your car has now relocated to my handbag, so carrying that is a workout in itself. When I came back to New York after 10 days at home for Christmas my arm was swollen from carrying my bag as it was so heavy.

I’m definitely a more positive, open-minded person since I’ve been here. I was always independent and out-going, but I would say I am even more so now. Also, New York has given me more confidence – without that you’d be lost pretty quickly here.

It was definitely hard to leave my boyfriend, my family and my friends at home. I had to learn to build a life in New York without them here while also keeping up to date with what was going on in their lives.

You also have the task of making new friends – but I haven’t found that very difficult here. I feel like a lot of people are of the same mindset and very willing to make friends. Most people have moved here on their own or knowing very few people, so you can become very good friends with people very quickly too.

What do you wish you knew before coming to the US?

I wish I had known that the dollar was going to strengthen so much against the euro. I get paid in euros so I definitely would have bought some more money while it was good. New York is an expensive city. It seems to be normal to be broke here – its just so easy to spend money.

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