this girl decides to quit her job and head to new york city*

Empire State

Disclaimer: this is not an advice post. There are lots of articles out there about whether or not you should quit your job to pursue something else and advice on how to do so, but this is not one of those articles. I was inspired by Sophie’s post on how she quit her day job to tell my own story (although our reasons for leaving our jobs are quite different), but you should probably not follow my example. Because I did some kind of stupid things and I’m just lucky it happened to work out. So without further ado:

How I Quit My Job and Moved to New York City

The year was 2013. I was fresh out of college and desperately seeking full-time employment. After two months and over 30 job applications (I kept count), I took the first (and only) job I was offered, a proofreading position in Western Nebraska.

Even though I made great friends out there and the job was in my field of study, I was unhappy. I thought I had been doing the right thing for me working in my field and saving money, but before I graduated college I had turned down an opportunity to go to grad school in New York City and I was full of doubts. I couldn’t shake the feeling I should be somewhere else. I was depressed, drinking more than usual and gaining weight.

So after some thought and several tear-filled conversations with my mother, I decided to finally go for my dream and move to New York City. In April 2014 I gave my boss a month’s notice without a place to live or another job lined up. (This is why this is not an advice post.)

Luckily my mom let me move back in with her while I made arrangements to move to NYC. The original plan was only to stay there a couple of weeks; drop my stuff off, make living arrangements, pack and go. Instead I ended up staying there all summer. (Sorry, Mom.) I got a part-time retail job to save some more money. Because the funny thing about quitting your job is, even when your income stops you still have bills to pay. Yikes.

Finally, I buckled down and found a sublet on Craigslist. I spoke to the subletter over phone and email and saw pictures of the place, but living halfway across the country obviously I wasn’t able to see the place and meet the roommates before I sent in my rent. (Another reason this is not an advice post.) Even though I was in communication with the subletter and roommates up until my arrival, there was still that slight fear that once I got there they would be all, “Psych!” and I would be on the streets of New York homeless and 700 dollars poorer. (That didn’t happen, and my temporary roommates were delightful.)

I was able to transfer my retail job from the store in Omaha to the store in New York, so I had some employment. That also could have gone wrong–the store manager in New York could have rejected my transfer request. (Did I mention this is definitely not an advice post?)

Turns out it’s impossible to live in one of the most expensive cities on the planet with just a part-time job. I lost all of my depression weight and then some because I was living on peanut butter. (Also, no car equals a lot more walking.) It was hard to find a permanent place to live without a full-time job and a guarantor, but somehow I managed to do that, once again through Craigslist.

I had thought I might try to get some freelance work for extra income, but my new landlord, worried about me getting by on a part-time salary, offered to pass along my resume to the office where she used to work. And that is how I got my current day job. (Which I will not be quitting anytime soon, because I like it and I plan on living in New York for a while longer yet.)

So that’s the story of how I stupidly quit my job and stupidly moved to New York to live with strangers. And I’m pretty happy about it. But please, don’t try this at home.


*The title of this post is, as anyone who listens to top 40 probably realized, inspired by a line in this song.