3 ways to make money after moving your twentysomething self to the big city
Clint Osterholz is a comedian and young gay urban nomad who has lived in a number of cities in North America. He knows a thing or two from experience about how to move on a budget. We posted Part One and Part Two of this series recently and he’s back to share a few more ideas about making money after making the move to the big city. These are his words…
So! You’ve gotten yourself out of that little one-horse town (but you still remember to call Mom, right?) and you’ve even found yourself some new digs! Now, I’m sure you want to go out and club to your little homo heart’s content, but you do have something really important to take care of–income! You aren’t going to be able to flirt yourself those drinks for too long. Besides, it’s very trendy to be your own sugar daddy/momma these days. Hadn’t you heard?
Again, this is a series for those of us who don’t always have our heads screwed on straight when we move. I’m not assuming that you were able to easily secure a position through your former company in moving, although that’s certainly an option. But you knew to do that already, didn’t you? Surely you didn’t give up a job at The Gap or Starbucks or even Olive Garden without asking for a transfer! Even if you work in retail or food service, you can (and often will get) a transfer to the major city of your choice.
Let’s pretend you hate your half-caf lattes and distressed cotton hoodies and would prefer to leave them behind, however. What are you going to do in the city?
Tip #1: Temp
Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow make money while running around the city, billeting the street with your lovely mug and resume? You’re not alone, but there’s already an option: temp. Go to a temp agency and tell them you are ready to start working. Unless it’s an extremely slow market (and I do mean apocalyptically slow) or you are completely hopeless with Microsoft Office, they can find you something for a day or two, maybe a week or two, or maybe even a month or two. That means you can make money while doing a job search. And the best part is you don’t have to lie about it!
Super tip: Stay flexible. Don’t ask for too much money because then you won’t get any, so don’t ask for something like $25 an hour. Find out what you can safely live on (but maybe not permanently) and then ask for that. I’d say $12-13 an hour is pretty standard right now, but that’s just the New York market.
Tip #2: Go Out
I’m sure you think I’ve gone crazy, but you need to get some friends, pronto. I wouldn’t say you should waste your entire budget going out drinking, but you’re in the big city. How do you think you got your gig back in Podunk, Iowa? Your dad or your mom or someone you knew, right? It works the same here, except times several thousand. Big cities really operate on the same principle of social networking that small cities and towns do, but just on a much grander scale. Getting to know people means getting your foot on the door.
Super tip: Unlike small cities, there’s still a lot of people out there that your new contacts will have to sort you out from. You have to stand out from the crowd somehow, so why not a contact card? It’s like a business card, except–obviously–you don’t have a business. Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. It helps a lot!
Tip #3: Be Persistent
Job hunting is soul-sucking. I don’t care what anyone else tells you. Rejection after rejection, barely even able to get an interview, day in and day out. It sucks. A lot. And it takes a toll on your ego. So that’s why I told you to go out and make friends, because at least you’ll have people to commiserate with. But on top of that, don’t take it personally. Searching for a job isn’t about you, it’s about the employer trying to find the right fit for the position. Don’t take it personally, ask for a little feedback if you can, and be gracious. You never know when an employer might think you’re great, but just not the right fit, and might send your resume along to a colleague. Acting huffy and hurt will not help in that sort of situation.
Super tip: Enlist help. Do fake interviews. Get help tweaking your resume. In the big city, you are competing with a lot more people than you were back home–which means that some of you may be facing rejection for the first time trying to get a job. Trust me, it’s not you. But you do need to make 100% sure that you are putting your best face forward!
I hope that this series has helped you. Let me share a quick series of events that formed this series: I blew through $7,000 in two months. I ate ramen noodles in an apartment that cost $1,350 a month to make rent. I paid for a night out with coin rolls. I walked home from the club because I spent my taxi fare on drinks for a dude who had a boyfriend. I went to a job fair in a business suit with a 103 degree fever to get an interview. Things can be brutal during a move, but nothing is insurmountable. Just keep your money and your wits about you, and everything will get easier, trust me!
More about Clint Osterholz
Clint Osterholz is a comedian/young gay urban nomad (or a y-gunner for short) who has lived in Knoxville, Albuquerque, Boston, and New York City. His mom is an accountant, which makes him half-accountant and thereby somewhat good with money, budgeting, and finances. He lives currently in New York City with The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.