Shit You Hear In New York – Vol 1

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Because New Yorkers are the most cynical, sarcastic and self-absorbed human beings, here is my monthly compilation of “No Fucks Given” lines overheard in the City’s streets:

“Can we bring Hamas to NYC? The underground construction on 2nd Avenue is taking forever…”

#WhateverWorks

“I’m an interfaith minister. I’m just a teacher of love.”

#WTF

“Someone drew a penis on my car. Oh well, at least it wasn’t a swastika.” 

#FairEnough
 

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5 New York Job Interview Tips

Over the past year and a half, I went from desperately looking for a job in New York to interviewing candidates at my company. Weird. After months of sending applications to only score a few interviews, I am finally getting a glimpse – just a tiny glimpse, but still – of the other side of the game.

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Based on my job-hunting time in the City and most recent professional experience, here are 5 interview tips that should be helpful anywhere, but vital in New York:

#1 Everyday is an interview

Just because you are not officially at an interview doesn’t mean you’re not being interviewed. As I mentioned in previous posts, New Yorkers struggle with disconnecting from their work life, and while it sucks for them, it’s the perfect opportunity for you! So live your life as if any day could turn into a surprise interview: always dress to impress, and carry a copy of your most up to date resume. People need everything ASAP in New York, and everything could also mean you…so be prepared!

#2 Find Your Mentor 

Before even applying to jobs, make sure you have that one special person who will recommend you if need be. If an employer asks about your references during an interview, being able to share a contact with no hesitation goes a long way. Having a mentor means that you must have done something right, whatever it is. When it comes down to picking the perfect candidate, solid references will make the difference.

#3 A positive interview can turn into a negative answer

…and that’s ok! Don’t let a negative answer bring you down and question your interview skills. Just because you nailed the interview part doesn’t mean the job was made for you. Now I know that employers spend  lot of time wondering if the candidate would actually be happy at the job. The people hiring you know more about the position itself than you do, so if they decide not to go with you, it doesn’t mean you failed, it means your talent lays somewhere else.

#4 A shitty interview is better than no interview

It’s so hard to even get to the interview phase in a city as competitive as New York that anything is good to take. Especially when you need a visa! Even if you are not really interested in the job you are interviewing for, or your interview didn’t go as planned, the simple fact of getting one is an accomplishment and should keep you motivated. The moral of the story is: never turn down an opportunity because it could open the least expected doors.

#5 Keep an open mind

It’s good to have expectations about an interview and know what you want out of it: an idea of the job, the benefits, the culture of the company…but be aware that it could take a completely different direction. The person you are supposed to meet with could no longer be available, so could be the position you think you are about to interview for. I got my first job in New York by finding out that there were no openings at the agency I was meeting with, but I kept the conversation going and ended up being introduced to another company that was sharing the same open space.

To sum it up, having the right resume is never enough, adapting to any given situation is what will help turn an opportunity into something real. Happy hunting and good luck!

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Are New York Women Divas?

Ok, we should probably try to define what a diva truly is before even answering that question. For a minute I thought that Beyonce did that a long time ago…

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But if being a diva simply means killing it like Queen Bee, then why was I upset when my bestie Rahima said that New York kind of made me one? That’s because there is this negative, bitchie and whiny connotation behind the word diva. As a New York girl, “Stop being such a diva!” is something I hear all the time – and I swear that it’s (almost) never justified. I’ve noticed a few typical situations that provoke people to call a woman the D word:

#1 She clearly states what she wants

#2 She clearly states what she doesn’t want

#3 She voices her opinion even if not asked

#4 She complains when she doesn’t get what she earned

#5 She has high expectations of people around her

Wait a minute…if you replace “She” by “He,” you have the description of every single man across the five boroughs. New Yorkers are known for being confident, bold, and anti-bullshiters.In this City more than anywhere else, hustlers were born and are celebrated. So why are we called divas when men would be called hustlers? Well, probably for the same reason why we are sluts when men are bachelors. Taking risks, being determined and ambitious are characteristics that make great men and, apparently, not so great women.

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Has becoming a New Yorker changed my behavior and the way I interact with people? Maybe. But the consuming nature of life here changes anyone. New York women may be more demanding than the average person, but that’s because New York demands more than the average place. While the City keeps us just as busy as men – if not more because, let’s face it, we have to stay fly – we still have to work harder to be on equal terms. Yup, for every 77 cents that we make, they get one dollar…and we should be softer?

As much as I’m feeling Beyonce’s definition, people use the word diva as the sexist version of a hustler, and not like she intended. But New York women are just standing their ground like anyone else. They are not divas, they are true hustlers…in heels.

 

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How To Become European in America

I never thought of myself as a European…at least not until I moved to America. When you grow up in the Old Continent, you are not aware of your own “Europeaness.” You are too busy being French, Portuguese or Greek to see the whole picture.

So when I first came to the US, I didn’t understand why people called me European. To be honest, I thought it was because of Americans’ infamous geography skills. But after six months in a New York College, two jobs in Manhattan, one boyfriend from Atlanta, and many American friends…I finally get it!

Americans and Europeans may be referred as “Westerners” by the rest of the world, but the truth is, they live complete different lives. Here are three basic signs that will not only prove that being European is real, but that you’re officially one:

#1 No matter how long you’ve lived in America, time will never be money to you 

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In the Motherland of multitasking and efficiency, gyms and cabs have TVs, coffee is to go, dinner is at 6 PM, even weddings start on time. You may have become a little more aware of the fact that when people say they will meet you in 20 minutes in the USA, well they actually mean 20 minutes, and not an hour like in Europe. As an expat, you try to fit in and meet friends for dinner right after work, but deep inside you know that you WILL get hungry at 10 PM because your inner clock works differently. A good American day is when you organized your time so well that you got to do a lot. A good European day is one that turned out into your favorite activity: doing nothing.

#2 Your idea of comfort is still in its infancy stage compared to American people 

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America is designed to save people the trouble to do stuff or think too hard. Cars are automatic. Streets have numbers and not names. It’s not about how charming things are, it’s about how convenient they get. A hot day in the USA? Turn up the AC to the point that you have to wear jackets in July. Americans have solutions to all problems and don’t think twice about it, while nothing that Europeans do is practical. It’s too hot in Europe? C’est la vie baby! We Europeans love to think that we are low-maintenance because we don’t believe in changing the nature of things. But in reality, we are too lazy to live up to that noble cause. We deem comfort or gadgets as unnecessary bullshit, but it makes us unproductive. So we end up complaining a lot, which leads right to my next point…

#3 America made you a more positive person, but being happy is a whole other story 

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When Americans are optimistic, Europeans are nostalgic. That’s because people from the Old Continent love to complicate things. We know that there are easy solutions to our problems, but we don’t necessarily trust these solutions, so we’d rather stick to what we know. Just because we have the option to do stuff doesn’t mean we will. We are better at thinking than acting, which is why we don’t have the most innovating technology, but Europe is home to groundbreaking art. While we are still stuck trying to figure out the idea of happiness, Americans are  busy pursuing it every day. We ask too many questions about everything which is why the world loves us, but also makes us suck at life.

 

In the end, the complexity of the Euro swag is both a gift and a curse. What else do you think makes European different from Americans?

 

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