Stories

WHICH COAST, BEST COAST?

Carolynn, 24, found herself stuck between the city that never sleeps and the golden state. She learns that both places are telling her she belongs.

I moved to New York six-and-a-half years ago from San Jose, California and studied Media, Culture and Communication at New York University.
When I first moved out here, I thought I was going back to California immediately after graduation. But as the date approached, I realized I never really lived here, moreso studied here. As a student, I had an entirely different state of mind. Priorities were already set for me — studying, doing my homework, and meeting academic deadlines. There was also this endless pressure from my peers and the city around work. We were told that we go to college just to get a job, and it felt reckless to have worked so hard toward building a career here to just leave the city right after senior year.

While in college, I also constantly considered how much my education costed and was intentional in making the most of it, including getting involved in student government and doing internships. Then there were people I was meeting through my major, from other colleges around New York and all these connections stemming from my time at NYU made me realize I wanted to stay in touch with my college as much as possible.
Ultimately, I wanted to know what it would be like to live here, and decided to stay. I ended up going into the tech industry, and one of the unintentional upsides was that it did keep me in touch with San Francisco. My first internship was a startup in San Francisco called Zumper, and was able to live at home that summer and commute into their offices as one of the company’s first ever interns in a hybrid sales and marketing role.

I now work as a New York-based recruiter at a tech company. When I first started here, all but two members of the recruiting team and talent sit in SF. I was the only recruiting coordinator in New York, there were a lot of things against me from the professional ladder angle, so I just worked extra hard to be visible. Eventually, members of the SF team, whether managers or heads of recruiting, couldn’t forget who I was and that offered me the opportunity to interview for my second role.

It can be hard being in a remote role, working in one time zone, on one coast, when company headquarters and the majority of your team are all the way across the country, but I realized that in tech specifically, SF provided me with a direct look into tech, but New York is where I get to see tech’s impact on other industries. Being very vocal about the benefit of keeping me in New York while also working hard helped me land a role where I got to be connected to my two favorite cities.

I’m also lucky enough that both roles I’ve had at my current company have afforded me the opportunity to travel between SF and New York several times a year, which has allowed me to keep up with my friends and family still living in the Bay Area, all while never having to give up living in New York. It’s really the best of both worlds.

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