[personal profile] lesmisloony
I kind of hit a breaking point in this stupid apartment/roommate search last night, and this morning it was only underscored by one of my roommate-maybe options officially backing out. I'm just so worn down by all this bullshit.

So I'm thinking... I know some of my lj friends are in or have been in or around the DC area... what's that like? I might broaden my search. I mean, yes, it was always a dream to live in NYC, but right now I just want public transportation and to be able to afford rent. Anyway, DC is halfway to NYC on the Amtrak line, so if I have to get to New York for anything--say, MOR--I probably could. You know, unless I had a job that didn't cut me any slack. But still. It's on my radar now. I've heard that public transportation is great there and all.

Anyway, I have a long list of temp agencies I guess I might apply to and one of them is Professionals for Nonprofits, which pleases my humanitarian side. They have headquarters both in NYC and DC apparently.

The only thing is I have a pretty solid idea of what's cool about NYC, but the all I know about living in DC is there's good public transportation and, you know, politics stuff.

Anyway, I am pretty damn exhausted by this whole search. There's still one girl on my roommate radar but she's kind of lax about answering emails and I'm getting a strong impression that she's either not serious enough or too freaked out by the idea of moving out of her parents' place to actually get anything done.

I mean, I'd prefer New York because I've wanted to live there since I was a kid, but at this point I'm getting really complacent about living with my parents and I need something to kick my ass out the door... but it won't be easy to leave a situation where I essentially don't have to pay for anything at all. So I'm uncomfortable going anywhere without knowing I'll be able to find a source of income once I get there... but I also am not sure if I'm supposed to get there and then find work or find work and then get there. HOW DO I ADULT

Date: 2012-12-22 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] la-victorienne.livejournal.com
Check out Philadelphia, too. DC, Philly, and NY are all on the same Amtrak line, and the Megabus is even cheaper. Philly is a great city with a lot of history, and I think you'd like it better than DC--it's more like Paris, inasmuch as any city in the States can be like a city in Europe. There's public transit, there are a hundred precious little towns outside of it, and the city is pretty freaking awesome.

You might also like Boston? I haven't spent as much time there as I have in Philly, but it's a thought. I liked DC, but I've liked both Philly and Boston better.

Date: 2012-12-23 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesmisloony.livejournal.com
I didn't know a thing about it except Cory lives there, but now I'm like eyeball-deep in websites about it! The nice thing is that my uncle lives in Trenton which is halfway between Philadelphia and NYC, and um rent prices, wow. I've been desperately hoping to only pay $600 a month that seeing options well below that--and lots of them--is giving me new life! Yay!

I think I'll wait till after Christmas to make an official decision (and alert the bad communicator roommate to the news), but still, I'm really relieved. And also philly craigslist is an actual functioning craigslist section and not just a cesspool of spam and scams like the NYC version.

I stumbled onto a room in a Victorian mansion for $450 a month! :O

Date: 2012-12-23 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mmebahorel.livejournal.com
DC's way cool, I absolutely love it here, but [livejournal.com profile] la_victorienne is right that Philly has definite charms, too. I suspect the DC economy might be a bit better, though.

DC is not Washington. There's seriously a difference. Sure, the city of Washington encompasses the entire District of Columbia, but that's not what I mean here. Washington is so politics-y. It's "I work for senator so-and-so" and "when I was on so-and-so's campaign staff". DC is "that band is so great, right?" Much of the DC population is peripherally involved or uninvolved in the politics aspect. It doesn't define DC within DC - it's recognised as how outsiders see us because man, those assholes are loud and annoying. You tend not to run into them so much away from Capitol Hill. It's the Hill bars where you run into that due to proximity.

There are a variety of neighbourhoods with a wide variety of housing stock, but housing in this area is very expensive. Not NY expensive, but Philly is way cheap in comparison. Rentals can be anything from a group house to a condo in what was a rowhouse that is now subdivided, to a purpose-built apartment building. I can definitely help you vet neighbourhoods, including in the suburbs, but the best thing to do to get a feel for DC might be to start poking around at http://www.popville.com - PoP (Prince of Petworth) is a neighbourhood blogger who has managed to take the blog city-wide and full time. He covers real estate, restaurant openings and closings, takes pictures of pretty houses, and talks quality of life issues. The commentariat can be ridiculous and annoying with lots of anonymous posters, but that's DC. You can start to get an idea of what the real city, rather than the monumental city, looks like and costs.

I've had good luck with temp agencies, but I know a lot have been oversubscribed due to the recession (it hit the nonprofits in town hard). I really don't know how it looks out there right now, to be honest, since I'm not looking for entry-level work. I think things are better than they were last year, and the area as a whole was never hit as badly as most of the country. We're not immune to recession: we just have a bit of insulation because so much is linked to the feds in one way or another (as in - the feds are freezing but not cutting pay, so people are still buying lunch, so Cosi doesn't have to lay off lunchtime staff).

Weather-wise, I'd recommend DC or Philly - NY can get some nasty winter weather.

Oh, and between Bolt, Mega, DC2NY, and the Chinatown and Jewish buses, you can get to NY for $20 each way on average, frequently for less. Never bother with Amtrak - costs 4 times as much and hardly any time is cut off the trip. Philly has mostly the same options, but I don't know if they do the same volume - number of departures and all that.

Looking for work in a place you don't currently live rarely works - they want to hire people who have already made a commitment to be there. Ideally, save up what looks like 3 months of living expenses before you make a move like this (call it $6000). This gives you money for deposit on apartment, any furniture you might need immediately (Craigslist and Ikea are your friends), and will keep you for a month or two while starting with temp agencies or looking out for the sort of quick hire work (customer service, restaurant work, that kind of thing) that can keep you while looking for a better job. Because you'll need to plan for the possibility of a one-month's rent deposit as well as the first month's rent in advance, and you need to eat for that first month, and a month goes by quickly. I wouldn't make a move to a major city with less than $4000 in the bank. You can easily go through $1600 just getting an unfurnished bedroom in a shared apartment, and you don't want to feel desperate, having signed a one-year lease, if you don't get hired anywhere in your first week in town.

If you can come up with direct questions, or even topics you want to know more about, just ask. I've been here since 2003, after all.

Date: 2012-12-23 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesmisloony.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for taking so much time to write all this out for me! Especially thanks for the heads-up on job-hunting from afar... that makes sense I guess. My problem now is that my 39 hours a week at Target are slowly draining the life out of me (I suspect it won't be as hellish once Christmas is well behind me) and are only putting around $250 in my account a week. I have no desire to stay in this job any longer than the seasonal position, meaning mid-January I'll be taking my leaave, and that's not enough time to save up for an expensive city... those French hospital bills cleaned me out BUT over there I paid about $8000 for six (I think) days in the hospital, two or three of those in intensive care, and once I got back to the US the American hospital ran a bunch of tests on my blood and hit me with a bill for $4000 just for bloodletting, so if I was going to almost die thank goodness I did it in France, even with an expired visa!

As for weather, I tend to love nasty winterness since I come from the South where we're lucky to see one inch of snow any given winter, but I know what you're saying. I'd still like to try NYC someday but I think financially it's not a good move right now. My goal for the next year or so is to get better stuff than "cinema employee" on my resumé and get some kind of decent income that can help me pay off student loans, rent, and maybe even save up for those NYU online translation certification classes. But I want to do this significantly away from North Carolina without actually leaving this time zone or straying too far from the Amtrak line (it has a stop in my hometown, meaning I can make it back here for holidays or emergencies without much effort). If I can't start in NYC, I want to at least be somewhere where I don't need a car.

So yes. Thanks so much for this! If I do end up looking at DC again this is an absolutely fantastic crash course!

Date: 2012-12-25 01:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yobambam666.livejournal.com
I don't know anything about actually moving and all that, but I just wanted to say two things.

1. You might actually be better off moving somewhere that you haven't built up in your head for all these years, because once you get there it might not live up to your expectations. I know that when I get my hopes up and then get let down it feels even worse than if it had just been shitty without the getting my hopes up part. - Not saying you shouldn't follow your dreams, but it is something to consider...

2. I agree that you should get out and live your own life, but I think it's also important not to rush yourself. Don't panic if you can't do these things right away. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, or you'll end up with more situations where you feel totally burnt out. Or at least give yourself breaks every once in a while during this search to take a breather and remember that you are human. Yet again, not saying don't follow your dreams, just sayin' that you can't over do it or you'll end up having a mental breakdown.

ps. Merry X-mas!

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