Ok it’s time to talk about “work-life balance”…I put it in quotes because does anyone actually ever achieve this so called beacon of success? Sure it’s great to keep in mind to try and make sure you aren’t ever overdoing it in one particular category of your life but I also think it’s important you don’t stress over really trying to strike your perfect balance because I don’t know if anyone ever truly does? That aside – being conscious of where you are allocating your time is something we have really worked on as adults. Here is our breakdown of work-life balance from the East Coast to the West Coast.
Kelly: West Coast
This is one thing that I have loved about my shift in moving to Los Angeles. At first (as most of you know) I was truly petrified by the thought of New York being up and working 3 hours before me. I HATED that for the first few months and would get to work immediately inundated with emails and messages however than 3pm hits and things calm down. I then have another 3-4 hrs to completely focus on work/decks/emails/whatever and catch up on what I wasn’t able to get to in the morning. Having a block of that many hours in the afternoon has truly increased my efficiency and has made for a more streamlined day. Though I can’t speak to my own company (because the majority of my team is NY based) the LA work environment is much more calm than NY. When I go to other agencies for meetings or to showrooms the whole vibe is just so much more chill and many agencies really do shut down by like 5pm (so trying to schedule meetings outside of those work hours is actually really difficult). People here really do prioritize activities outside of work like working out, getting home in time for dinner with family, etc. which was something I was looking for when I made the move.
While similar to New York in the fact that almost everyone here has a “side hustle” I think that people come here to make their side hustle their career. Side hustle’s here are different though, most people are trying to become a model, actress, singer, comedian – some level of entertainment. So for example, a lot of people I know have 2 side hustles – they are bloggers/influencers but also an actress/model which tends to overlap pretty nicely. I do notice though that while everyone has their multiple gigs, selfcare and wellness is still an ultimate priority which is something that I really love.
Now that I look back on it, I really did not know that many people when I moved to LA. I made all my friends in New York through blogging so when I moved to Los Angeles, I was like “Oh of course I’ll do the same thing there!” But when I moved here, it seemed like everyone already had their ~crews~ and I was like “hey, what about me?!” But I think that made me really work at building friendships outside of the blogger space too – whether reconnecting with old college friends, meeting up with someone I met once in New York or building relationships within my job. I have had to make it a priority for myself to always set up “girl dates” and that is something that is really important to me when building out my friendships here. I am lucky that I am naturally a friendly/outgoing person and I truly thrive off making new relationships but it is absolutely something that I have had to work at and carve out time on the calendar.
Something that was also really important to me when I moved here was to make friends outside of my relationship with my boyfriend. In the (worst case scenario) Matt and I didn’t work out, I wanted to make sure that I would be OK and have a friend group without him. Him moving to Orange County and myself in LA helped because during the week, it really forced me to set up girl dates and build relationships without him (not kicking him in the dust but gotta think about myself first, ya know?)
In LA, I truly think people meet more organically and dating apps aren’t as widely used. I think this relates directly back to having a work-life balance because people are out and about more in LA as opposed to working all day and then getting on their dating apps before bed. Whether at the gym, at a cafe, on a hike, I am constantly talking to people and actually weirdly get hit on a lot more in LA than I did in NY? In New York, I truly felt that people relied on dating apps and didn’t make the effort to go up to someone random on the street or talk to someone at a bar – I hated that when I was trying to date.
With my relationship in general, I put a lot of time and effort into it because honestly I have more time and actual headspace to do so. When I was dating this guy in New York, it ended up being more of a convenience thing as opposed to building an actual meaningful relationship because truthfully, I just didn’t have the mental capacity to give anyone anything else – I was in survival mode.
For the first time in my adult life, I can truly say that I finally have found time for all the things that are important to me – my job, my “side hustle,” relationships, etc. Sometimes it can really, really get tough and no I don’t think anyone ever actually has a true work-life balance but moving to LA and learning to reprioritize things in my life has made me a more calm, present person.
Courtney: East Coast
For this post in particular I really have to start at the beginning of my career in NYC! When I first moved here I worked in a corporate fashion job doing product development (I did this for 3 years prior to taking on the blog full time). I worked for a brand within the company that had just launched and compared to a lot of my coworkers, I was putting in a lot more hours. I remember the post grad to work life being realllly tough on me. I developed a lot of anxiety and was really having trouble finding my place in New York City. Which I think is where the working part of *work life balance* really comes in. NYC is a tough place. It knocks you down and people work harder here than MANY cities in the entire world. We put in hours, everyone is dedicated and everyone is chasing a dream. During my initial first year and a half I struggled to find the balance and many New Yorkers do. Compared to other cities, almost no one in New York works a typical 9-5 and if they do they are most likely going home to continue working or continue with emails on their phones. However the best part of this being that you will develop a hustle at a young age that many of your competitors never will. It will be tough yes and you will have to sacrifice things like happy hours, softball teams, going out, but it will be worth it.
Something that I find interesting about NYC is that everyone has a side hustle. I meet people all the time working a corporate job by day then developing a t-shirt business (what have you) by night. When I was at Macy’s so many of my coworkers were working other creative jobs on the side whether that be an Etsy business, modeling, designing, creating companies (Shea Brand shoutout to Krystal!), to people like me blogging and creating content for businesses! Everyone has so much passion here it is truly inspiring but because of that you definitely extend yourself to not always a great place. For me personally, having a side hustle that required so much work caused me to have to give up things like working out and running. It was hard and definitely affected my mental health. It wasn’t until I learned to balance better that I was able to handle it all. I also feel that in New York there is this hidden pressure to have a side hustle or to have a very definitive hobby. Which is a weird pressure that I never felt anywhere else. Definitely not a deal breaker in living here just something to think about!
As in any city, post college life, you go through the ringer on balancing everything in your life. Friendships were something that were tough for me post grad because previously all of my friends lived in like a mile proximity. In college it wasn’t difficult meeting up daily to go to the gym, lunch, or grab drinks. Now I almost feel like it is a production lol. Making sure everyone is available, making a reservation, oops someone canceled, adjusting the reservation, IT IS TIRING! However there are many pluses about New York City within maintaining friendships and the #1 being how easy it is to get around. When I lived in Bushwick there was still no excuse to not go into the city for drinks or happy hour because the L train was right there. The subway is our long lost bff people!!!
As always you also have to put in the effort. Something that I have found really beneficial now a days is picking a workout class centrally located in Manhattan and then telling all of my friends. It is easier, cheaper, healthier than grabbing drinks and New York City has over one millllllion different classes to try out you can do a new one each week!
SHOP COURTNEYS LOOK
Oh dating life in NYC – something I DO NOT miss. All the boys I met before my current boyfriend were d-bags and gross. It became something I definitely de-prioritized on my list of work life balance because I really didn’t care. However once I started dating Kyle I will say that the balancing act was hard. This became the most important relationship in my life in NYC besides Kelly (whom I lived with so it was easy!), and making sure I was excelling in my job, working on the blog, working out, and still spending time with my girlfriends was hard. In a city like New York you have to know that you will always, ALWAYS, have fomo. There will always be something going on and I learned the hard way that you cannot always do it all. I was lucky in that Kyle has always been extremely understanding about my time and lucky in that he is in the same friend group as myself! (Kelly introduced us)! Which makes it a lot easier to balance my friendship and my relationship.
Overall I think that New York City will always be a challenging city to maintain a fantastic work life balance in. I am not sure if I have ever felt 100% at peace here but that is not something I am striving for in my life at this current time. I enjoy the fast pace and I owe almost all of my successes in my adult life to this city. I think to survive here you have to be comfortable in never feeling comfortable. You also have to be able to speak up for yourself in a mature/professional manner. You can get pushed around and taken advantage of but if you ask for things that are important to you like getting off work early to make your favorite workout class, or being able to speak up to your friends letting them know you can’t go out on a Saturday night to focus on your side project, you will be successful and find a peace here that works for you. 🙂
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