I have been to visit my brother in New York a few times this year who emigrated with work last year. I enjoy going to the ‘Big Apple’ and being part of the hustle and bustle. However I am going for a holiday so it is interesting to see New York through the eyes of my brother who certainly doesn’t see it as a jolly. With programs such as The City on MTV following some airhead through her ‘career’, the city looks like a great place to work with its diverse culture and interesting skyline. The reality, at least according to my brother, is rather different.
Firstly you need to live somewhere. If you choose to live on the island, like my brother, rents are ridiculously high. More so than anywhere in London and at a level that just wouldn’t be acceptable to most. Second issue is eating, while I cook most nights at home you don’t get Sainsbury’s, Tesco or M&S a few minutes from your office or home so most make do with fast food or eat in restaurants. Boiling a kettle is apparently near impossible because of their low voltage. Probably why we fell out over tea in the first place…
Then you have their tube system which is a joke, and near impossible to navigate. When my brother said he takes taxis most places, I thought he was just wasting money, but having had a go it makes no sense. The only good part is their idea of express tubes so you can miss off a load of the smaller stops which would be a great initiative in London. It is also a very class driven system, so you wouldn’t see someone going to a party in a DJ on a tube in NY like you do in London.
Then you have the American style of working which is early, most make it into the office for 7 am, to then sit in cubicles which are too high to talk to anyone else. Which can make working life rather soulless. Obviously London can be grim with everyone here moaning about the weather but try winters where snow is measured in meters rather than inches and summers where humidity and temperature is so high you absolutely need aircon in your flat.
So while you may look out onto a bleak and grey London dreaming of the day when you can emigrate to the ‘land of the free’, remember that it isn’t all so bad.