Sacrifices Worth Making for NYC

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While adopting the NYC lifestyle, you’ll immediately see there are a few things you’ll have to give up so you can afford to take advantage of the city best you can – as well as pay the rent. Whether you’re moving in for the first time or have finally decided you are going to conquer city living on a (reasonable) budget, a few luxuries you had at home or in quieter locales will fall to the wayside. For me, I have gotten a little lazy the past few months (a polar vortex can do that to you), but I’m ready to get back on an urban budget (READ: spend my money on a lot of cute spring clothes).

As long as you are as infatuated with the city as its we are, they will barely seem like sacrifices. Besides, every con comes with a pro. If you maneuver these few things the best you can, the city will repay you.

A few sacrifices compromises for NYC…

Trade Easy Commuting for Lots of Walking – I dream of a day when I’ll have an easy commute to work. But if I’m being honest, my walk to the 4/5/6 train is one of the most peaceful times of day. Not only do I get to breathe in the city, but I zone out to music or an audio book (great recommendation from a friend of mine).

Trade Starbucks for Office Coffee – If you were addicted to Starbucks previously, you can best get over it now. Learn how to make something somewhat decent with almond milk and raw sugar in the office and call it a day. Ain’t nobody got time for those lines anyway, never mind the prices.

Trade Your Big Screen for A Bookshelf – Any huge electronics you had at home or in an older, larger, apartment you can kiss goodbye. Not to mention the hassle and cost of Time Warner is just not worth the headache. Keep it to a small TV, hook up your Netflix, and bring in some cute furniture instead to make your apartment a home.

Trade House Parties for Pregame Parties – While house parties will become a thing of your past, pregaming apartment parties are some of the most fun I’ve had in New York. For one, I love snooping around and checking out other real estate in New York – any excuse to do it with an invitation and without a broker is a dream for me. Two, free booze and good friends.

Trade Dinner Takeout for Saturday Brunch – As I’ve said before, Seamless is a trap you do not want to fall into. Save your moneys for a fun Saturday Brunch with the girls. Believe me, it’s muuuch better than your weekday Applebee’s/Sushi/Domino’s habit.

Trade Long Hours for Long, Fun Nights – Yes, New Yorkers are known to work their butts off. But we’re known to have a good time too! Keep your weeks mostly for work and catching up with very close friends when you need to blow off steam. You’ll trade those 12 hour days for 12 hour nights on the weekend.

Trade Car/Taxis/Uber for the Subway – I AM THE WORST AT THIS! I miss driving, I love taxis, and Uber is an addiction I would rather not give into. But there is something about becoming a real New Yorker and being able to navigate the subway like a pro. I’m working on it.

Trade Mall Browsing for Window Shopping – This one was easy for me. While some people love going to the mall and getting everything they want for a season all in one go, New York is best for window shopping and taking your time. Plus, looking at the gorgeous windows up and down Fifth Avenue is absolutely free (until you dive in for the splurge).

What are you willing to trade for New York? What have you given up, but gotten in return? We want to know!

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Learn to Write… for Real

When I was little, I was OBSESSED with the book (and popular Nickelodeon Movie) Harriet the Spy. I particularly related to Harriet’s fascination with writing down everything she saw in the world. I used to climb a tree in our front yard and wait for something exciting to happen for me to scribble into the composition notebook my mom got for me at the drugstore. Growing up in Small Town, Upstate NY, not too much happened. I’d usually make up stories about our neighbors or watch the grass grow. In any case, I can pinpoint these young summers as the time when I became a writer.

Vintage

As PR professionals, we do a heck of a lot of writing. When you start out, much of our writing is composed of pitches or press releases, so creativity is limited. As you advance in your career or gain more of your clients’ trust, you will be asked to draft campaign plans, media statements, or social media posts. To get yourself to that stage, you need to develop  your professional writing voice through the years and constantly be looking to learn new things.

College is a great place to develop your voice, whether you’re a PR major/minor or not. I was an American Studies major, and wrote at least 2-3 papers a week. This is when I nailed my grammar skills and learned how to research and cite resources. While PR classes may teach you “PR writing,” it’s these more liberal arts courses that I am most grateful for establishing my writing skills.

If you’re like me and didn’t (or don’t) have the luxury of a public relations course, there are a few ways you can continue to develop your writing skills in your professional life. Here are a few tips:

Understand writing is really rewriting – My father used to tell me this every. single. day. Give yourself enough time to produce your best work, which is going to mean going through several drafts before you give anything to a professor or supervisor. Usually, I like to start by writing my stream of consciousness (aka gibberish), then clean it up from there.

Do your own research on writing format – If you’re just starting out and not sure what a press release should look, like – use Google to find a recent release from a brand you respect. Truthfully, press releases change based on the client or brand, but Google is a good place to start.

The AP Stylebook is your friend - When I first started PR, I was so against AP Stylebook. I could feel it shaming me from the bookshelf so much, I would throw it in a desk drawer just so I didn’t have to look at it. Truth is, having a handle on grammar is your BEST tool. If you don’t know your stuff, it shows. And those who have the AP Style down will be given the best writing assignments. Just a fact of life.

Don’t be scared to use your voice and show some personality – That’s what writing is about. Make it juicy, funny, romantic, trippy – whatever is YOU. If you’re writing on behalf of a brand, look at brand materials and the website to get a feel on words used frequently in relation to the brand personality. Give it to a friend or peer to read once, and see if you got it right. Usually, it will take a couple assignments before you get it.

Practice – The blog is a great tool for A and I to practice writing, but I also look to my superiors to teach me something new with every item I draft. NEVER JUST ACCEPT CHANGES IN A DOCUMENT. Walk through edits so you can take them as little gifts for your next assignment.

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Six Signs PR Isn’t the Job for You

A while back, we wrote about 10 signs PR is the right job for you. But what about knowing if it isn’t? It’s not uncommon for graduates to enter a career they’re not sure is a definite fit for them. It’s also not uncommon for people to ramp up their PR career and start reevaluating it several years in. In reality, PR isn’t for everyone. Here are six signs that PR isn’t the right job for you. Don’t take it personal – it’s just business.

Six Signs PR Isn't For You

  •  You’re constantly feeling burnt out. Those times when you’re overly exhausted, experienceing an extreme lack of interest and just aren’t feeling motivated. The PR job is all about having high energy and being on your toes. It’s the only way to please client and in reality, this job isn’t a 9 to 5.
  • You don’t take criticism or rejection well.  If you take criticism too personally and aren’t willing to absorb feedback, the job isn’t a fit for you. PR pros are constantly being criticized on their writing, contacts, strategies, placements and more.
  • You hate writing. It isn’t a good sign if the thought of writing a pitch, plan or press release makes you cringe. Yes, we all get annoyed at times, but our job is about communicating and constantly evolving our writing. We send hundreds of emails a day, so if you don’t enjoy writing, we have a problem.
  • You don’t care about the news. If you have a sincere lack of interest in the news, media and digital landscape this definitely isn’t the job for you. We’re expected to stay on top of what’s going on in the news constantly –  especially what reporters care about. The media landscape changes every day and if you don’t care about what’s going on or your placements, big red flag.
  • You don’t like working with people. Not much of a people person? Big problem. PR is all about teamwork and relationships. Relationships with your colleagues, clients and media contacts.
  • You crumble under pressure. Just like media, we’re charged with deadlines and constant client demands. In order to make it to the other side, you must stay organized and focused in order still function under pressure. If you constantly breakdown and crumble, you’re toast.

What are some other signs PR isn’t the job for you?

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Makin’ Moves: How to Find a Roommate

Last week, I wrote about how to know you are ready to move to the big city. Once you know you are meant to be in an urban dwelling, there are a lot of logistics left to follow up on. Maybe the scariest (aside from seeing some shoebox sized apartments in the Lower East Side) is trying to find someone to live with.

Roomies

If you’re still in college, you’re lucky. You have a huge network at your fingertips (and maybe some fab roommates you already love that are also looking to move) that you can work to find the best roommate set up for you. If you’ve since left college or maybe are looking for a new set up, there are a couple ways you can go about finding a person to live with that won’t completely creep you out (oh, the horror stories).

BEST PRACTICES FOR FINDING A ROOMIE:

Use Facebook – Perhaps the best way to find a roommate. You’ll trust who you find through other friends, and it won’t be so awkward when you meet up in person for the first time. Similarly, try sending a blast email to all your friends and ask if they know anyone looking to move to the city.

Craigslist – A necessary evil, I know MANY people who have found great apartments and great roommates through Craigslist. Just be sure you exercise caution and safety – on first meeting of a potential Craigslist roommate be sure to bring a friend.

Your parents – Your parents have a stronger network than you know. Ask them to ask around about any people your age who may be in the city already or looking to move. Since parents are behind the set up, it will most likely be an ideal situation (your potential roommate won’t want to piss off HER parents by being a crappy roommate)

WHAT NOT TO DO:

Bunk with work colleagues – No matter how close you are or how much fun they are, it will get to be WAY too much. You will be literally inviting any work drama into your house, and any home/personal drama into the office. Not needed.

Settle for time/cost restraints – If you have a weird feeling about living with a person, there is probably a reason. Don’t convince yourself to move into a space to save money, because the apartment is gorgeous or because you’re afraid you won’t find another roommate in time. The first priority is your comfort and safety.

In order to love New York, you need to love your home – NYC (or any large city) is a fabulous place, but it takes a lot out of you. You need a place you’ll feel good about coming home to and can kick up your feet. Your roommate can either help you make that space or hurt it. Choose wisely.

 

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