I’m writing this sitting in a Starbucks in the Financial District of New York City, a place I previously perceived as being too enormous, dirty, and unmanageable. That perception is slowly changing; with every visit to NYC I’m reminded by the liveliness of the city and the thousands of daily unfamiliar faces that shuffle and push by en route to another bustling district of the city. This place really never sleeps and it’s sort of incredible.
People here span a wide spectrum of looks, personality, and ambitions – dissimilar to DC where there are a handful of boxes most people fall into. In DC you’re either a lawyer, consultant, staffer on the hill, or some sort of idealist in an NGO. Not to say these categories are bad, they’re just limited. Not to mention the cost of living within the District is somewhat comparable to living outside of Manhattan. DC is actually very small, and when you visit an actual city, you’re reminded of how small it really is. Sometimes it’s nice to get lost in the city, sometimes it’s also nice to see other people as confused as you are.
Career-wise I’m at a crossroads. I have literally three options, one of which will truly be entertained in the near future.
1) Move out to NYC on a career-shift and join in the banking industry – private equity or i-banking. This city is full of young, sleepless, and overworked young professionals that live for the moments out of their offices only to blast what they’ve earned partying to make-up for time lost in pen-ink, Excel, and paperwork. I don’t think i’d fit this lifestyle well, I’d hate working to make the rich-richer, and I’m not too excited by the opportunity of doubling my working hours; however, the goal at this point in life is to get that cash and experience and get into a good grad school.
2) Move out to the Bay Area and jump into the startup game. I feel as though my personality would match this option the best, a little bit more laid-back, quite exciting, and taking on the job responsibilities of multiple positions rather than working heads-down in one role. Start-ups are about business acumen, creativity, networking, and smarts; this seems like the environment I’d love to immerse myself in; for the first time, I’d be truly dedicated to work. SF is quite a distance from DC, but ideally I’ll be there on a visit soon to refine this vision a bit more.
3) Start studying for the GMAT as instensively as possible for the next 3-4 months and take it, hoping for a good score, shooting for a good school. MBA is the #1 way to switch your industry, and seeing as I would hate to stay in IT for the rest of my life, this seems like a sure-fire way to boost that salary and make some bigger moves into new places.
The more I’m reminded I’m 25 and the clock is ticking, the more motivation I build to establish myself and reach out for those dreams, but youth is slipping through the cracks and it’s a bit scary.