Two Months - Ebb and Flow

Sometimes life is hard. Now more than ever I've felt the ebb and flow of emotion toward my current situation. Some days are easy, and it seems like opportunity is abundant. Others are difficult and it feels as though I may never find work.

May 9th was one of those days.

It signified that I'd officially been living in Philly for two months. Two months of applying to countless jobs with very little to show for it, professionally speaking. Two months of living in a less than ideal arrangement in a not so great area. Two months of trying to meet new people in a city I know very little about, despite what I had believed.

It was daunting, no it is daunting, still. That day was long and depressing, the fact that it rained the next few days didn't help either. I was trapped inside with my thoughts for comfort.

But in the end I survived, I'm still here and pushing through, which is what I had set out to do in the first place.

Now is one of the easiest times of my life to do things I feel uncomfortable doing, and I implore anyone thinking of making a big change in their life to try it. I have no ties other than family, have great credit and can deal with a few months of not working regularly.

In the end I know I will make something of this, be it a career or a building block for the next step. I just need to keep trusting the process, and dealing with the ebb and flow.


Update - As of posting this Gary Vaynerchuk (entrepreneur, youtube, all-around motivator) reposted an article that rehashes one of his videos. The gist of it is exactly what I talk about above, why now is the time to try new things, or "hustle" for the life you want as he puts it. Check it out here, it's definitely worth the read, or if you'd rather just watch the video it's here.

Almost Two Months - Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Like I've said earlier in this blog I gave myself about a month to land a real job. After that I began looking for other work, starting with jobs I thought I'd actually enjoy. Well that search came to a head about two weeks ago when I realized my savings was drastically dwindling and I needed a job ASAP.

Enter three new jobs: bar, gym and retail.

Sidenote - I'm not going to write the names of the actual establishments for the sake of my employment.

So let's start with bar. It's an Irish place in Old City (which literally does nothing to narrow it down) that had open interviews on craigslist so I thought why not. I had worked in a bar before. I went to the interview, talked myself up to someone that turned out not to be the person I was supposed to interview with, and was then offered a job on the spot. My first day was the following weekend.

That same day I had an interview at a mid-range retail store that had a a "fun" (their words not mine) vibe. They emailed me an hour later to offer me a job.

On the day of my first shift at the bar I was also offered a job at a local gym. So now I had three jobs, but worked none of them. Things were going great.

Night one, and potentially only, of work at the bar. My shift was 4-3, I knew it was going to be long, and I knew it would be grueling, but I didn't realize how stupid they thought I was. I really don't want to go into detail about that whole shift because it could go on for pages, but here are the highlights.

From 4-11 it was incredibly slow, I spent most of my time standing around doing nothing because the other barbacks working would show me a job and then say they would do it since it's so slow. So I also learned nothing. I chopped limes, lemons and oranges from 8-10, so that was fun. From 11-2 the bar was somewhat busy, but with 4 barbacks to clean up one small area, there was a lot of downtime. Unfortunately for me this meant that I was yelled at for standing around a lot. Thanks for the warning guys.

Cut to the end of the night. We do the cleanup, more of the same "I'll just do this so go sweep or something" and then it comes time for tip out. This job was of the sort where the hourly wage was supplemented by a tip-out, so my $4 hourly wasn't so much of a slap in the face. What did hurt, and solidified my decision not to go back, was when they gave me around 6% of the tip-out while they walked out with 30% each. At the end of the night I didn't even make minimum wage for the hours I worked, which is only $7.25 here.

-Also fun addition, I haven't heard from them since and it's been a week, so there's that-

Weeks Three and Four - The Search Continues

After two weeks of living in Philly I told myself that I'd begin to start opening up my search perameters in regards to a job. Well, now that two weeks have come and gone that is exactly what has been done.

I started slow, looking for some places I'd be interested in/still have something in common with my overall goal. A bike shop with room for photography, a few fitness studios, a book store, places like this where I could potentially network while making a living. 

After a few interviews so far nothing has come to fruition, but so far that has just made me more resilient, but also makes me nervous for future bills. I know that soon push will come to shove and I'll have to get a job I wouldn't prefer just to make ends meet, but hey, I guess it's just another experience. And I've always said that experience leads to good writing.

Which is something that I've actively tried to do more of after moving here: saying yes to new experiences. In future posts I'll talk about some of these that have happened, including dates that I would never have gone on if I acted the same way I did a year ago, or job interviews where I just couldn't see myself there.

Because at the end of the day life is about experiencing new things. If they're good, then that's great, if they're bad, well that sucks but now you have a story and a reason to be wary the next time.

Weeks One and Two - Settling in

When I moved here I gave myself a two week window. Two weeks to settle, kind of figure things out and find a job in my field. 

Now that two weeks have ended, some of that list has been completed. Others haven't, but I'm still working on that.

What's Been Done

Well I got a mattress. That was obviously step one since I'm committed to staying the whole four-ish months, and I'd like to not sleep on the couch. Also with the number of online mattress retailers it made this process pretty simple. I decided to go with a full size Tuft & Needle mattress for $500, and it showed up like an hour after I moved in. 

Seriously - flags do wonders to make your room actually feel like home.

Seriously - flags do wonders to make your room actually feel like home.

And honestly it's the best mattress I've ever slept on. I actually have trouble waking up in the morning because it's too comfortable. Also I'm not affiliated with them in any way, which you probably could've guessed. Oh, and their return policy is 100 days (much like most mail order mattresses) so if I don't like it I can return it, or in their case work with them to donate it to a local charity. So that's pretty neat.

Second on the list was setting the room up. With the help of discarded furniture from around the house and a few flags I brought from home, it actually looks like a livable room now. Some people can live with just white walls, but I can't deal with that. Flags are the perfect cover up, or a tapestry, or anything else you can think of that packs light. So yeah, pro-tip: pack a flag so you don't go insane.

Other than that the only other things that have been done are just day-to-day things like figure out public transit, where the grocery store is, what gym works best (more on that in another post) and the like.

*quick side note, a lot of this wouldn't have been possible without the support of my family and roommates/their friends here. That's definitely helped a ton, psyche-wise and figuring out the area.*

What's Still To Do

Get a job. But yeah seriously that's next up, and it's definitely an ordeal. The only saving grace here is that it at least feels like there are more opportunities in fields that I would like to work. And worst-case-scenario I end up getting a job I hate for a month to pay some rent.

That's basically all I need to do though, I feel as though I've settled fairly quickly and feel relatively at home here. It was definitely a big change moving here, but at the same time it doesn't really feel that different.

I'm not sure if that's because I already knew some people here, or because I really do feel at home traveling, but whatever the reason I'm content with it. Also Philly is a great training city. It's not super big and over-bearing like New York, and it's not close enough to home that I could just drive like Chicago, so this is basically perfect.

I can get my bearings here, and then move on to the next adventure, wherever that may be.


But first I need a job.