Animal Instinct

There are two important things I’ve learned living in NYC – and I’d be forever grateful for those lessons – are to adjust fast and solve problems fast. I love my new skills. And if you want to live and work here (to put it simply – if you want to achieve anything here) you have no choice than to acquire these skills. 

I’ve had all different kinds of jobs here for over almost eight years in NYC, and it always looked the same way. You come one day, they tell you what to do, or ask you to observe the person whom you’d be replacing and…that’s it. You begin the next day, and you work. Only working as a manager at a restaurant I had two weeks training (I actually worked the second week, but I had a supervisor), but it was just because my knowledge about hospitality business was zero (or below) and it was a busy place, and I was put in charge.

You have to adjust quickly here. No one will guide you through the process. You’re expected to know it the next day. There is no time to give you more time. There are too many people here, so if you can’t do it, someone else will. And this is how you learn. If you want this job, you have to possess the necessary skills right away.

It’s terrifying at the beginning (and won’t be lying – very stressful), but once you’ve done it a few times, your thinking process goes faster.

Now when I’m thinking about it is like an animal that has to adjust to survive – that is what the NY environment expects from you. But it’s not only that – you have to also thrive in it.

I just got a job, and I was supposed to have a three-day training, so I came the first day, watched the guy whom I was replacing for an hour and…the next day the guy didn’t show up, so I worked by myself. As I said – adjust right away.

I’ve learned to have my eyes around my head. To keep this animal comparison going – I’m like a predator now – whatever new I start doing, I watch every detail; I pay attention to everything, absorb everything, and ask as many questions as I can because I know that it’s my only chance. I was always well organized, but I used to be a bit careless when it comes to details; it had to change, I’ve learned here to check everything three times. As they say – the devil is in the details, and they are right. If you don’t pay attention, you lose. And you can’t afford to lose; not here.

Because this environment is unpredictable and everything goes fast, the other skill that you have to acquire is to find a solution immediately.

I used to postpone things, and now I act in the same minute I find out that there is a problem. I don’t wait, just do what has to be done. I discovered that the solution is always there, you just have to google the right word or ask the right person. Something broke, someone didn’t show, something is missing – no problem; it will be fixed before this hour ends (that’s the skill I’ve learned working in the restaurant).

And that’s why they say that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. It really is not an exaggeration. You develop the animal instinct here, and it helps you to thrive whenever you decided to go next. That’s why I can recognize a New Yorker in different States – there is something cocky and a bit demanding about us. We just know that some things can be done right away. And we ask to do so.