Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Young New Yorkers The Working Poor

I just finished reading an article in The New York Times about the starting salaries of young New Yorkers right out of college. It was filled with sad little tales of no haircuts or manicures, or no shopping or eating out, of eating a $3.99 plate of rice and beans late in the night to stave off hunger until morning, of living in apartments the size of a closet, of not being able to have an iPod.
Some things never change. No matter when you land in New York and get your first jobs and first salaries, you never have enough money. You are one of the walking working poor.
I was for sure.
But I never was afraid, and never unhappy. I could literally be down to my last subway token (translate last trip on a Metro Card), and have a bag of pasta in the cupboard, and maybe a dozen eggs in the frige. I might have to walk alot until the next bit of cash would come in, but I never felt down and out. Living in the city was its own reward, and like all the kids in the article, you find ways to live a pretty interesting and full fun life. Being young, you can't really look bad, no matter how little money you have to spend on clothes. And there are a zillion ways to do things for free. You can never be bored.
The good news is that this part of life phases out as you find the next better paying job. But even if you make it to six figures, NYC is still expensive and you will always feel like you are living paycheck to paycheck.
In today's economy alot of moms, dads, and grandparents are doing some of the same money saving things the New York kids in the article are doing. Not everyone is rich, or planned wisely.
So hang in there kids. Money is just a thing albeit a useful thing, but not a value of measure of who you are. Everyone remembers their starving artist days with fondness, because life was precious and everything one got to do or have was really appreciated.
Read the article: Starting Salaries But New York Tastes HERE
Do you remember how much you made way back then?

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