i’m having a tough time in NYC. i’m a receptionist at an ad agency, and though i keep sending myself reminders to do stuff, i let items slip through the cracks and have to implement last-minute measures. i get profoundly uncomfortable talking on the phone where others can hear me (i get strangely neurotic when people in meatspace are within hearing range). i feel like i hit a wall every time i try to take on large projects, and i have difficulty keeping myself organized and my shit together.
it doesn’t help that i’ve been dealing with a yearlong shitty roommate situation and a series of emergencies that’s made money tight, both of which have distracted me. But still, i need to do a good job, and i want to do a good job. How can i kick my own ass? i’m sure everyone who’s been in the workforce for more than three years has faced this. Any thoughts on how to just stick through it?
i’m also trying to look for other jobs, decide what field i’d like to be in, see if i even want to stay in NYC. i’m finding it difficult to even be in my own space, enjoy watching TV or reading, or even sit down long enough to look for prospects, because i have so much anxiety about everything.
i don’t know if grad school is right for me. i’d have to be very certain on the field and the job prospects it could bring to go to grad school. i’m thinking of an MBA, but a brief look at Columbia’s MBA page kind of disgusts me.
basically, i would like to live a comfortable life that doesn’t regularly demand fourteen-hour days, stop being so anxious about everything, learn how to make better use of my time, and do good work. i am trying to see a therapist too, but you always have good stuff to say. So lay it on me, even if it’s nothing but harsh truths.
You’re radiating a special frequency of generalized anxiety that’s unique to twenty-somethings living in New York. It’s the city itself that’s causing it. Most of you end up self-medicating with casual sex and benzodiazepines, but those are short-term solutions to a long-term problem. Grad school is a short-term solution too, but it’ll cost you a hundred thousand dollars to confirm the fact that you still don’t know what you wanna be when you grow up.
Basically what I’m saying is that maybe New York isn’t the right place for you. There’s no shame in admitting it.
I don’t know where you’re from or what you’re about, but if you want a comfortable life, you’re never gonna be happy in New York. That city doesn’t do comfortable. Ever. That’s kinda the whole point. It’s just eight million people agreeing to be uncomfortable with each other for the privilege of living in New York. Some people thrive. Some people wither. Most people just keep their heads down and survive.
If you’re a receptionist at an ad agency that means you’re a conventionally attractive white girl with a liberal arts degree and a boilerplate resume that’s slightly above entry level. That’s a pretty decent place to be. You’ve got all kinds of options. Maybe you should start looking elsewhere, both spiritually and physically.
Broaden the scope of your search for purpose. The world is large, but the bite you take out of it doesn’t have to be. Think big, but be open to smaller opportunities. Look everywhere from Portland to Paris. Find your hustle. Find your place. Find your people, and find them quickly. You’ve only got a few more years before this kind of aimlessness and anxiety petrifies into stagnation and regret.