City Life -What it’s really like to work in Central Manhattan

Hey guys,

Long time no speak !!

Life has been really hectic the past few weeks. I’ve been celebrating events (virtually obvs), doing interviews and drafting some applications. But for today’s post I wanted to venture away from applications for a moment and focus on life in the city.

Prior to Manhattan, I didn’t really have any big city experience. I did placements with regional firms and went to uni in a small-ish city. Coming from a rural part of Ireland meant that I wasn’t exposed to a home city life either. I knew I had to experience a big city before deciding if I wanted to do my training contract in Central London or somewhere smaller. So, what better place to go than Manhattan. Go big or go home, so I was told.

Working there for six months meant that I was exposed to all New York’s realities and boy will I tell you how true that is. I could write a book on my time there and I honestly don’t think you would believe me.

So many people say they want to work in the city but being honest, the city certainly doesn’t suit everyone. Saying you want to work in the city without actually experiencing its realities is a disaster waiting to happen. Although many people are drawn to the fast-paced and stimulating essence it has to offer, it can also be very mentally draining. Now, this post isn’t meant to put you off working in the city. The city holds a special place in my heart and there is no other place than London for me to do my TC. However, I encourage you to try it first before settling for it.

The people, environment, social life, cost of living, transportation and culture form part of your overall experience. Solely looking at the job will leave you with unachieved expectations and unfulfilled in yourself. Now I know that all cities are not the same but here are some of the realities working in Manhattan

  • Although the subway is your friend, it’s also the biggest pain. You think the underground is bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet – try hitting Grand Central before 9am. Also, seeing rats becomes the new norm.
  • AVOID Times Square AT ALL COSTS
  • Nobody wears heels. I think this is pretty much the same in most big cities but I always ran to court in vans and changed on the steps.
  • You will never complain about prices again. The cost of living is scandalous. Even small things from coffee to having lunch puts a massive dent in your bank account.
  • I seen three people collapse in front of me in Grand Central. don’t be alarmed if nobody else comes to their aid.

    Now, although a lot of these realities lean more on the negative side, Manhattan really was the making of me. I really felt so at home there and it remains the best experience of my life. From my brilliant work colleagues, breathtaking skylines and lasting memories, I couldn’t wish for a better experience.

    If you take anything away from today – just please ‘try before you buy’. Don’t commit to a 2 year training contract (and hopefully a longer career with the firm) without looking at the location first and doing your own research. So many people rush into getting a training contract but it really is such an important decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

I cannot wait to one day start my training contract in London and I am so excited for what the future holds. Who knows, I might end up back working in Manhattan and set up my own practice there one day.

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