To Live the NYC Dream or Not

Think the American Dream is hard to achieve? I think the NYC dream is even harder. Ever think about the courage it takes as a young, ambitious professional, in any field, looking for a big break in the big apple?

Well I’ll give you a glimpse,

meet Pauleen Anne,

a recent graduate from St. John Fisher College. During her schooling Pauleen grew to love the world of events, getting both involved with programming on campus and participating in three internships. With a passion for event planning and design, she is working to open her own event firm in Rochester, NY.

But before deciding to open her own event firm, she was set on getting her event experience in NY, maybe find her big break…. try to live the NYC dream, and I asked her all about it:

1. What was the opp that got you to NYC to start you dream?

While my first dream destination was LA, when I ended up telling mom and dad, they were not about to let me go across the country. Dream Careers, offered internships in New York City, among many others.  Being only an hour plane ride from my house, I settled on getting my internship there.

I hadn’t even been to New York City until March 2010.  I was already set to go for the summer, and hadn’t even visited.  The moment I started walking down the streets I felt at home.  I was dizzy with sky high buildings, fashion on every corner, and most importantly the events!  Living there for the summer just made me fall in love.

2. Ups and down of finding the Dream Job?

This past summer I had a great offer to stay and work in the city.  It was just a summer job, so I had to made it my best effort to line something up for after.  I did everything from building a career website to sending out over 100 applications to job openings.Everyone told me I would find something, but sadly I didn’t get one job offer. Looking back it was hard.

I would stay in while friends would enjoy the city just to submit some extra applications.  I spent my time off the summer job going to lunches with professionals and networking. Everything I was doing seemed right.

3. Where to live while you searched for the big break?

Luckily I had a great opportunity where I didn’t have to pay a crazy rent. Nevertheless, Manhattan is still very expensive. Going to dinner, having a night out, paying for your subway pass, it can add up VERY fast.

4. Why the recent decision to go back to Rochester?

Unfortunately for me, the New York City Dream ended shortly. After my housing opportunity was up, I packed my things and went back home. I didn’t have a job, so how could I possibly sign a lease, even for a sublet. Going home wasn’t terrible (NYC isn’t the only city in New York you know). It especially helped that I had a somewhat epiphany.

I realized that if I couldn’t find a job, why not make one for myself? Ever since college, I’ve always wanted to be an event planner.  Opening up my own event company just made sense. Yes I miss NYC, but I am excited for the new adventure in my life.

5. Advice to those wanting to come to NYC and live the dream?

Living in New York City is absolutely possible. And for those who have the dream of living there go and do it! The problem for me was, my dream isn’t to live in NYC, it is to be an event planner. So make sure you don’t get lost.

My advice for those who really want to live in Manhattan, be prepared to:

(1) work very hard to find a job,
(2) be flexible when a job in your field is not available
(3) save up enough money before hand,
(4) have your parents on the same page, and
(5) find a place to live first.
(6) Know that you will probably have to work a waitressing job or hourly pay position to start. Use this as rent money.
(7) Also, take the time to network. Its a million times easier to get a job if you know someone.
(8) Lastly, get a hold of some headhunters. Most of the time they wont find anything, but it’s better to have a few set of eyes.

PauleenAnne Design | Get to Know Pauleen | Tweet with Pauleen

Suaz Note

So, maybe NYC isn’t the final destination, but it can sure be a transitional one. A place to grow from and learn about yourself. A place that’ll send you on a whirlwind of culture, chew you up and spit you out… maybe a different person. Just remember not to get lost in the diversity, stay true to YOU, try and keep a clear head and you may just find your real dream isn’t to be in NYC at all.


  1. Greta

    I agree, NYC is one of the most wonderful places in the world, but can be overwhelming for sure. On my most recent trip a friend introduced me to City Maps and it made a huge difference as far as being able to organize and understand the city. A great resource for a great place. Ps. Great interview.

    1. Alexandra Suazo

      Thanks Greta! Glad you enjoyed. NYC can be incredibly overwhelming, which was why I just HAD to hear more from Pauleen. Being a native NYer has its edge, but rearranging your life to move to NYC, stick it out or not, shows incredible ambition and courage! Kudos to Ms. @PauleenAnne!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s