I’m coming to you live from Manhattan with your July update! It’s only been a few weeks since my last blog post, but it feels like forever. So much has happened between then and now that the two seem a lifetime apart.
The biggest piece of news to report is that I moved back to New York! I arrived at 2am on the morning of 27 June after roughly 24 hours of travel. In true Victoria style, I kicked things off by getting up at 3am to see Adam Lambert on Good Morning America. I also visited YouTube Space NY (aka the Google offices) for a more intimate performance. As I stood listening to Adam’s new music live for the first time, I couldn’t help but have one of those ‘what is my life?’ moments. It just seemed so crazy that after all those years of dreaming I was finally here.
Once I got over the initial jet lag, I spent my first couple of days getting my apartment set up. That might sound like an extravagant amount of time, but hear me out for a moment. One of the things that no one really tells you about moving countries is how long everything takes. A seemingly simple trip to the supermarket requires navigating a million brands you’ve never heard of while being jostled by Boxing Day-style crowds. If you’re anything like me, you can also expect to stand there wondering how the heck the cheapest can opener costs $12. I’ve got my routine down now but it definitely took longer than I expected!
The next item on my agenda was finding a job. As you guys know, I was hustling my hardest to land a role before I arrived. I was getting offers from companies I hadn’t applied to and this made things confusing for me. I felt so tempted to just take something for the sake of stability. Albeit a good problem to have, I eventually decided to trust my gut and declined those opportunities in pursuit of the exceptional. I scheduled a bunch of meetings with people I admired in New York and took a big leap of faith.
One of those meetings was with the team at Outfit. Outfit is an awesome tech start-up that connects event producers directly with talent through an online marketplace. Brands can hire all of their event staff through the one platform, while your NYC singer-songwriter who moonlights as a bartender can build their profile through these gigs.
I’ve always loved the idea. Having run events before, I know that finding good talent is a pain in the ass. And having worked events to supplement my income, I’m aware that finding gigs that fit your schedule (let alone are relevant to your career) is also a problem. Outfit solves both of those.
When I first met the team, they joked that I should come work with them. I was in the middle of my UN internship at the time and graduation seemed a long way off. But it was the first occasion a start-up had set my heart on fire. I remember calling my brother in the street afterwards and saying, “I think this could be the one.” When I realised that they weren’t actually joking, we sat down to scheme.
I’m stoked to announce that I’ve officially become the Business Development Manager! I absolutely love it. Being in business development means I get to do a little bit of everything. Right now I’m working mainly on investor relations, which is fun because it draws on my background in relationship management while also allowing me to learn something new.
I don’t know if I’ll be at Outfit for a few weeks or a few months, but that’s part of the thrill of working for an early-stage company. Sometimes the uncertainty can get stressful – I’ve sat in my room before and wondered if I should’ve gone into corporate law – but I’m happier right now than I’ve ever been. After so many years of having a structured schedule, it’s freeing to wake up each day knowing that I could literally do anything.
In the rare hours that I haven’t been job hunting, I’ve had an amazing time reconnecting with my friends in New York. One of the best things about living in a big city is that there are an abundance of things to do. My top highlight from this month would have to be World Pride. The scale was simply unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I got to spend the day hanging out with some of my pals from the UN, including marching in the actual parade. Seeing the community come together was a truly incredible experience.
My main goal for August is to add at least one other job to my portfolio. I’m interested in working for another start-up, but I’m conscious that a lot of people keep encouraging me to go for a more global organisation. It may be a case of trying out a few different roles before I commit to a full-time one. Then again, maybe I’ll never get a ‘real job.’ This whole unconventional path is kind of exhilarating.
On the subject of unconventional paths, there are a couple of cool internships popping up that may be of interest to my friends back home:
The Permanent Mission of New Zealand to the United Nations is hiring interns for 2020/21 in New York. Internships are unpaid, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides a stipend to offset living costs and funding may be available through external organisations (I was able to get mine fully covered). Applications close on Thursday 15 August at 5pm EST.
The Disarmament and Security Centre is offering a fellowship involving 100 paid hours of training at $20 per hour plus a trip to Vietnam to attend the Pacific Forum Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation. The ideal candidate would either be Christchurch-based or willing to travel to Christchurch for part of the training. Applications close on Friday 23 August at 5pm NZT.