I believe I was wrong.
When I moved to New York City this summer, I hoped to find new opportunities. I could think of no better place to spend my mid-twenties. Surrounded by my peers – they too looking to achieve their dreams – I envisioned a promising new beginning.
What I found was not something I, nor anyone, could have foreseen. For my career, the timing of my move couldn’t have been worse. I gave myself the summer to find a job, hoping to start working in the fall in the field of media. I felt that was both a realistic and responsible amount of time to look around while I got settled. But I failed to sense the unforgiving and relentless economic downturn that was lurking in the shadows of my exciting new venture.
The hiring freeze that has taken place over the past few months has been well documented. When I hear about layoffs, of friends losing their jobs, I grow more distraught and frustrated about my possibilities. Sometimes I wonder if my savings can keep me here long-term. I don’t know if I can handle the prospect of my financial situation running me out of this town. It’s a harsh reality and unfortunately one that many like me are forced to face now.
New York used to be the financial center of the world. Coming out of school just a few years ago, I remember criticizing fellow English majors who, upon graduation, sought placement at firms like Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns and J.P. Morgan. I wished they were more willing to use their creativity and to pursue jobs in the arts. I needed comrades beside me to endure the professional struggles I anticipated along the way. They would also someday share in my triumphs alongside me. But they mostly went in a different direction.
And then everything changed. Banks collapsed, the job market everywhere dried up, and the creative side to the business world is left with an uncertain future.
Now I recognize how naive I was. I depended on the financial types, who I once dismissed as sellouts with misplaced priorities, to create the opportunities that I currently crave. It’s easier to see all of this in a new light. There isn’t much else to focus on in the foxhole we are sharing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.