Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 05:03 pm
I really need to stop doing my deep thinking during classes, even boring ones.

I need opinions, help, advice, something. Although I've talked about this with [ profile] mashfanficchick, this is the first time I'll be putting some of my thoughts into words to anyone other than myself.

I'm about to start my second to last term of classes, and I've been done with my actual computer networking courses for almost three months. I've always known that I wasn't going to hang around Philadelphia forever, but it was always a question of where I was going to go. I've toyed with moving west, I've toyed with moving to the UK, I've even thought about moving to the middle of nowhere and ignoring the existence of all civilisation. I always imagined that I'd get a job where I could do most of my work from a remote computer and live somewhere where there's nature nearby.

Recently, though, I've had a new idea, one that seems, not only more doable, but more right. I'm seriously starting to consider moving to New York City. One, I actually have friends there. I've lived in or just outside of Philadelphia for the last almost thirty years, and I still don't have any close friends in the area. Yes, I've had some over the years, but no one anymore who I can just call up to go out for a cup of coffee or a drink. Two, there are always computer jobs out there, especially for a networker who's proficient in two operating systems. And just glancing at places like craigslist, there are just as many positions in New York as there are in Philadelphia. Three, I spend so much time in New York already that people are surprised when I tell them that I don't actuall live there. I don't think twice about jumping on a train to go up for the day, or, occassionally, even for just a few hours. Four, the more I think about it, the more I realise that I like New York. Me, the city-hating, nature-loving, almost-but-not-quite-a-techno-hippie, likes New York City. Yeah, it was a bit of a shock for me to realise too.

And the thing that really struck me, and made me start thinking about this as a realistic idea, was the sudden understanding that I have a life in New York. How the hell did I end up having a life in a city that I don't live in? But I do. Somehow.

So the opinions I need... does this sound like a potentially realistic plan? My mom, who doesn't want to even think about me ever leaving the area, said that I should get a job locally first, and then in a few years think about moving. The way I figure it, why should I try to start a new career twice? I'm about to have a degree in a brand new field for me. I should look at it as a chance to start over, right?

Also, from past experience, I have trouble living with people, particularly people I don't know. I can be a very private person, as anyone who knows me can attest. I've had a number of very bad experiences with roommates, and eventually decided that the best person for me to live with is me. I know that New York is expensive. Is living alone possible (no, I have no idea where yet), or should I resign myself to the idea of trying to live with someone again?

Any other advice or thoughts or questions I should ask myself? The thing that scares me the most right now is that the more I think about it, the more right it feels. Which I suppose is actually a good thing. It's just scary.

I am still two terms away, which means I likely won't even start sending out resumes until June-ish, as my last term is starting. If all goes well, I should be finished in August, and the idea of having a concrete plan is about all that's getting me through some of these classes.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
The moving part is a no-brainer, in my opinion. New York and you seem to fit perfectly, so you need to be there (since you've already considered moving SOMEWHERE).

However, the planner in me says to secure the job first, then move. Since you're so close, it shouldn't be overly difficult for you to go up for interviews? That way, with the job in-hand, you know that NY is the place to be.

But I would think you might have to resign yourself to roommates if NY is the plan. It seems to be exceedingly expensive, but I don't have personal experience in that area.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
The job was absolutely going to come first. I don't want to start sending resumes yet, since I won't actually be finished with classes until August. But if I start at the beginning of my last term, that gives me a reasonable amount of time.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
I don't know about living alone- but I will note that if you don't mind spending time (and money) commuting on the train- the mass transit system extends quite a ways out of the city... you might be able to fine an affordable place that has a little nature nearby...
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
That's another idea that I've had. I know I've taken the subway pretty far out, NJ Transit, even the other train (that I can't remember the name of now).
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 01:54 pm (UTC)
Metro North? That's the one you take up to White Plains, that people who live in Westchester and work in the city (like my uncle) take. Or there's always the LIRR: I know it sounds silly, but you naturally get up early enough that you could live somewhere nice on Long Island that's inexpensive because most people think it's too far to commute from. (For example, I think it's pretty inexpensive where Josh and RK live partly because it's out in Suffolk County, but Josh's boss does actually backwards-commute from Manhattan every day.)
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
Well, you could always look to the burbs for a place to live. I'm 10 miles outside Manhattan and my rent is $950. There are cheaper places. I totally get the cant live with roomies. Been there done that.

Also, if you want to come and realisticly look at my area you're welcome to crash on the futon for a few days and check it all out.

I think I'm going to the meet on Saturday now that the car is better. What time is the meet up?
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC)
I'm not quite to that point yet, but I may take you up on it once I start interviewing and such. Thank you for the offer and the ideas!

Also, Saturday looks like it's just going to be us, Barrie, and silver_chipmunk, so I was figuring 1-ish or 2-ish? Any time work better for you? We have some flexibility being just the small group this time.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
How about we meet in the middle say 1:30? It's about 1-1/2 hr drive for me.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Works for me, should be just a slightly shorter drive for me, although not by a whole lot. I'll let Barrie know the decision.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 10:36 pm (UTC)
short answer: go with your heart but do it as smart as you can - ie, send out resumes and resumes and resumes. keep a serious eye on rents in various neighborhoods. Get an idea of how much it would cost to commute and see how that fits into your budget. spend time on and other websites so you have an idea of how much you'll make.

i have no doubt that you can come up with a compromise: long commute, with good rent so no roommates is probably the equation.

long answer: seriously, go with your heart. put all your effort into planning it, go on interviews, look at apartments so it all feels "real." you can always change your mind later but don't give up before you start. I've been told often how much people envy me for doing things like moving to seattle and dc and north carolina. I'm exceeding grateful for those experiences even if I did come home.

"they" have ideas for you and that's ok but "they" aren't you and don't have YOUR dreams.

alternatively, once you've exhausted all your planning, you may find out what it is that you like about New York and find a way to find a possibly cheaper alternative. But it is NYC - even if it doesn't end up being long term, it's worth a shot!!!
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:46 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I've never felt as sure about anything as I do about this. As much as I've thought about moving away from Philadelphia, I never had anywhere specific (aside from toying with moving to London) in mind. But in the last month and a half, or so, the idea of actually living in New York and being close to the people that I care about and the things that I want to do, just seems to fit me so well. And because it's a city, there are bound to be just as many job opportunities for a computer geek there as there are in a slightly smaller city.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
Your happiness depends on deep seated contentment for YOU not your mother. I fully understand leaving.
My sister thought I was nuts when I turned down a lucrative job to enter the military, but I had decided it would bring deep contentment for me.
That is the issue here. I am not being cold, I am being practical.
I feel from reading your post that your distraction in class may be the conflict in fulfilling YOUR need vs. your mother's need.
Just my opinion and I fully realize it means nothing for you. It is just how I settled my predicament.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC)
The distractions in class are, to be blunt, primarily my classmates and teachers being morons. I'm finished with the classes that are part of my major, and the rest are things that the school claims are "necessary." Like psychology, and business law, which I'll be taking next term.

My family has pretty much been living in the Philadelphia area since they came to the country. When my cousin moved to California five or six years ago, it caused a huge amount of controversy between everyone, because no one ever leaves. I refuse to be trapped here because that's what everyone before me has done.

And it feels right, for so many reasons.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
it feels right, for so many reasons.

**NODS** can fully empathize with that feeling
I grew up in the military, a Navy brat, and when I finished university, and then Peace Corps, it was still not right somehow.
My father came home from Vietnam and he said he was going to do some lecturing at Navy hospital in SF bay area.
Did we want to accompany him?
The minute we entered the officers' mess I knew where I belonged and it was NOT here in Portland...........
You go with your feeling. It is what is best for you.
BTW my mother stayed here for awhile but then accompanied him overseas again, when she could, but my sister stayed permanently.........
Portland became my home of record, nothing more.............
I am back here now but still feel like I am in transit.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:21 am (UTC)
Come to the dark side, we have bagels!

Seriously, just don't expect to find anything affordable in Manhattan, come out to the Outer Boros with me and [ profile] mashfanficchick and it's quite do-able.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)
Oh and PS, my daughter got the dvd you sent her and is very happy.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about looking at the non-Manhattan areas, even out to parts of Jersey (although that would mean living in New Jersey, blegh!)

And I'm glad she got the disc safely!
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 02:03 pm (UTC)
[ profile] silver_chipmunk accidentally makes a good point: it's all about what your personal needs are. Granted, she got crazy-lucky with her Hobbit Hole, but still: if you thought you could deal with renting a basement or upstairs apartment (they're very popular in Queens, especially in my area; most of the attached brownstones like mine in my neighborhood are actually two-family houses), you could probably find something affordable pretty quickly. And lots of times these are cheaper than a regular co-op or condo, because you're paying just rent--often pretty low rent, since you have what in other places amounts to a room rather than a whole apartment--and your own utilities, as opposed to rent/mortgage, maintenance, all the associated costs (like tipping doormen), etc.

(Hey, [ profile] silver_chipmunk, can [ profile] mirnell come over to your apartment one of these days to see what it's like? Like I said, you got majorly lucky, but it would be a start for her to see how your place is set up.)

*really needs a New York City icon; reminds herself to ask [ profile] silver_chipmunk if she can borrow hers*
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
Oh yes, I can totally see you moving to New York! Don't worry about the nature thing--there are lots of parks in New York. (I grew up there, I know this is true!) If you need to find trees, you won't have to go far to find them. :-)

I agree that the thing to do is find the job first, then once you have that you'll know what you can afford, and the rest will follow. Yeah, you probably can't afford Manhattan, but I've heard good things about Brooklyn. Also: in the computer industry you should be able to earn decent money which will make it more feasible for you to live alone.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
I'm actually starting to notice more and more parks every time I'm there. And they're places that are walkable! Around me, while the city is ten miles away, you still have to drive to see any nature other than people's back yards.

My thought is that I'll start sending out resumes at the very beginning of my last term, so that will give me about ten weeks to really hunt. And I'm not going to get kicked out of my house the instant I graduate, so I still have some flexibility there.

I don't know a whole lot of Brooklyn, only that I've ended up there twice by accident, and once on purpose, even though I had no clue where I actually was!
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 01:12 am (UTC)
I can see you doing this and if it calls you, do it!! (Bear in mind that if you go and live there and give it an honest shot you can always move later.)

I kind of did the same thing--I thought I would love fringe-of-the-small-city, heading toward a *tiny* town, and while I like Missoula a lot, I'm looking forward to living in more of a *city*.

My brain is shot so I think I'm making no sense. Sorry!
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 08:57 pm (UTC)
My brain makes no sense on a regular basis, so no worries!

If someone had asked me a few years ago if I'd even consider moving to a big city, I'd have looked at them as though they were insane. But since I've started to spend a disturbing amount of time there, I think I've realised it's not necessarily the city that I don't like (I don't love them either...) but rather, my city. Philadelphia doesn't do a thing for me, and the more I can avoid it, the better. New York on the other hand, I feel alive there.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 09:10 pm (UTC)
New York on the other hand, I feel alive there.

That, my dear, is the surest sign that this is the right decision for you. ::hugs::

My discovery was that the *suburbs* do nothing for me. I thought I needed to go farther out--small towns, rural, no one around for miles, etc. etc. Then I realized that I like having the grocery store accessible even when it's snowing and locally roasted coffee and neat restaurants and things going on and activity around.

I think I don't need to go further *out* from the suburbs, I need to go further *in*. Maybe not all the way to the heart of the city (especially not in DC where "taxation without representation" isn't history, it's the present) but one of the inner, erm, *vertical* suburbs (if that makes sense).

Thursday, March 24th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
I've always hated the suburbs. It's not quite a city, not quite the middle of nowhere. I've described them as a town that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. Or at least that's what the one I live in now feels like. I know people really like suburbs, but they've always felt a little wannabe, to me.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)
So, LJ ate my comment. Damn it!

Anyway, I understand the nee to be alone and have your own place. I'm in roughly the same situation as you: I've had rough times with roommates in the past (even when I'm living with my own mother, as the case may unfortunately be right now) and I'm not sure if it's because of my anxiety/OCD issues or just that I want some alone time. *shrug* But, yeah, it is damn expensive.

"The thing that scares me the most right now is that the more I think about it, the more right it feels."

This, right here, is why I believe you should move to New York. The scarier something is can sometimes be a sign that it's the right move to make. As the saying goes sometimes the hardest thing to do is the right one. I also worry that if you didn't move that you'd regret it and have missed your opportunity. NYC is teeming with options for you and, if all else fails, you can always start from scratch (which moving would do for you, in a way, something I've always wanted to do).

(BTW, you talk of being proficient in two OSes. Which ones are they? I'm assuming Windows and Linux as they are the two most used in servers and the IT field. Macs do have their strengths but any IT worth their salt must at least have a basic understanding of Windows and Linux. If you are a Linux junkie, which distro do you use the most? I've tried Slackware but only got so far. Ubuntu was too "simple" for me and Kubuntu just didn't work out. Just a geek being nosy. :D)
Edited 2011-03-24 04:41 am (UTC)
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 09:04 pm (UTC)
I actually grew up with Apple, so it's always been Mac and Windows. But I play with Linux pretty regularly (or at least I did until my power supply died in my backup laptop). I'm considering adding another OS to my desktop, so that I can get back to messing around with one of the Linux distros. I haven't decided which one yet though.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:55 pm (UTC)
As I have that same problem in my own home town, if you have a place you "need to be" then go there.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
You know what's funny? I didn't realise how much I seem to belong there until Gally, when half the New Yorkers who I met didn't even know I wasn't from there. And I spend so much time on the train back and forth anyway. So I started seriously thinking about it, and came to the conclusion that I basically live there in all but location.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
I am late to this post, but just echoing the above, you already know having a job lined up is the most important thing, followed by looking in the outer boroughs for cheaper rent, and though the commute will be longer (and you will get MTA rage) I bet you are used to long travels just getting here, so it will be fine. Good luck to you!!
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, I've been skimming places like craigslist and such just to get a feel for jobs and living locations. I don't really mind commuting since, like you said, I spend a hell of a lot of time on the train already!
Friday, March 25th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
It looks like you've gotten plenty of good advice, but I thought I'd add my two cents' worth anyway.

I always imagined that I'd get a job where I could do most of my work from a remote computer and live somewhere where there's nature nearby.

That sounds pretty good to me, actually ;)

I have to admit that I don't know squat about New York City -- I've never been there -- but it sounds ideal for you. You seem to be mentally halfway there already :)

It is scary to make a big change like that. But I've often found that it's the hard and challenging decisions that turn out to be the most worth it.

I don't know how much experience you have with resumes, but if you don't have much, it's a good idea to do some research. (Interviews too. BLARGH.) It'll help you to get good options.

And it's awesome that you have good friends there -- people that you can trust and will know how to answer a lot of your questions. Best of luck!
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 02:08 pm (UTC)
I meant to mention when we were talking about this, but of course I forgot: if you send me your resume, I can ask Josh what he thinks your chances would be of getting/keeping/excelling at a job with a livable wage in and around NYC. Granted, I don't trust him as far as I can throw him, but that's because he has an over-inflated ego about his own qualifications and an under-developed sense of what a "living wage" is, so it still might be a place to start in terms of having some "real life" idea of where you'd be.