Tag Archives: nyc story


It’s been a whole year since I left off from our How God Brought Us to NYC story [Part 1Part 2, Part 3]. The big story wasn’t put off on purpose. As we’ve discovered during our first year in the city, life gets a lot busier as a 1-year-old becomes a 2-year-old and many of life’s conveniences are no longer available to us (car, cheap groceries, in-house laundry, personal space).

So it’s been a long enough cliffhanger. Not even LOST leaves us hanging that long.

Previously on How God Brought Us to NYC — Now that we were getting used to the city and the idea of living in other peoples’ apartments, I started pounding the pavement for a job. Craigslist was a jumble of poorly written and sometimes disturbing headlines. Somehow, I got my first-ever real job interview, which I whiffed on so hard that I think I pulled a shoulder…

As I said before, I left the stink bomb of an interview with my pride hurt, but slightly relieved because I realized that I didn’t want the job. I had nowhere to go but up from there. Well, I got a little lost on the street and saw my interviewer on the street a couple of times, but THEN I had nowhere to go but up.

After days of more fruitless searching on Craigslist, I hit upon a promising lead. It was an unpaid 3-month internship that involved blogging and editing for a large social network. Clever longtime readers will remember from long ago that I’m actually half-OK at those things. Unpaid, yes, but it was finally a toe in the door of the kind of career that I wanted.

This, my second real job interview (though it wasn’t for a real job), was a success. Unlike the other jobs that I’ve had in life, I didn’t have an inside connection that guaranteed me the position. However, God still showed how head-scratching marvelous He is. The young lady who interviewed me

  1. went to the University of Florida, just like me
  2. knows some of my good friends
  3. and has seen my band play before at her church.

This is all from me responding to a seemingly-random Craigslist ad. I got my 3-month unpaid part-time internship.

Not content with just partially hitting the big time in NYC, I kept searching for something a little more permanent. I soon scored an interview with another web company. I was on a roll.

It was a startup, and when I walked into the small office, it was filled with young geek-cool types with DJ headphones staring at monitors and deftly rapping on their keyboards. The place was devoid of human interaction.

I interviewed with the startup’s young Indian CEO. It was a smooth conversation, and he liked me. So much that I was offered the job via email about a day later. Unfortunately, the salary was a tad lower than I needed, with a Cool Family to feed and all. When I asked about the possibility of higher pay, I never heard back.

Despite that little setback, I still had momentum. At my internship, it was great to work with new people in a whole new industry for me. I commuted to their Times Square office everyday. I had reason to fix my hair every day. I had a purpose in New York City.

I also had a mortgage and rent to pay, and I didn’t have any income.

Next time: Finally, the score

Cool Dad: On August 29, 2008, we boarded a plane in Orlando, FL with two suitcases, two backpacks, a car seat, and the idea of turning our lives upside down. We landed in Philadelphia, took an hour-long train ride that seemed three times as long, and arrived in New York City.

We’ve told our story on this blog and will continue to tell it as it happens. If you want to catch up, here’s how we left nearly everything we had and everyone we loved in Florida for the unknown challenges of NYC: Part 1Part 2, and Part 3. Part 4 to come.

Cool Mum: Within the first few weeks in NYC, I was already dreaming of staying here longer than our original one-year plan would allow. I fell in love.  Dirt, dog poop, smoke, and all. I came here mainly to take away all I could from the city – life experiences and photo opportunities – and now I am more and more inspired to give, to reach out, to seek God here. Thank you, God, for this opportunity and for putting the desire in our hearts to move here!

CD: We’d like to give you an anniversary gift. Here is a slideshow of Year 1 of the Cool NYC Adventure, set to the song that we’ve listened to the most over the last 365 days: ‘Life in Technicolor ii’ by Coldplay.

CM: I told Cool Dad that I wanted “Dare You to Move” by Switchfoot to be the theme song for the slideshow. My clever and humorous-to-me idea was rejected.  But still, I do dare you to move to that place that God puts in your heart, whether it is a new friendship, a new city, or a new country.

CD: We hope that the second year will be even more fun – for both you and us. Thanks for being cool and sticking around. Turn your lights low and your volume high…

[RSS readers: link to embedded video on YouTube]

New York City has represented more than just a new location to me. It’s new experiences, the biggest one probably being The Job Search. I’ve never endured the time-honored process of answering job ads, sending out resumes, and interviewing. I’d just ended the job that employed me for 6 years full-time in addition to a couple of years as a student. I got that job through a close friend.

In our new place, I planted myself in a very uncomfortable stool in front of the computer and delved into the aesthetically-displeasing world of Craigslist. The job listings on the site seem to range from multinational corporations to street vendors and anyone in between. Here’s a sampling of the job postings on Craigslist NYC right now:


@@@Office/Project Manager@@@@ – (Flatiron)

Intern to the Office of the President, BBC Worldwide Americas – (Midtown East)

Females Needed for Beer Pong Tournament (B Real of Cypress Hill) – (Downtown)

Earn $100K+ Your 1st Year in RE! GREAT TRAINING!! PROVEN RESULTS!!$$$ – (Midtown East)

2009/2010 Harlem Village Academy High School Math Teacher – (Harlem / Morningside)

So sifting through these eBay-like headlines to find viable opportunities took some time. The good news is that once I got a feel for the site and how people use it, I started finding jobs that looked fun to me. But there was a problem.

Good, interesting jobs always had these outlandish requirements like “education” in that field or “previous experience.” I was annoyed that they weren’t open to hiring likeable ol’ me even if my credentials barely differed from the literal bum off the street. Hey, how many bums run a sometimes-humorous Christian parenting blog?!

Despite my difficulties, I still slung applications and resumes out there, and by God’s grace, I got one or two leads. And with much more grace, I got my first job interview in NYC! Actually, my first real job interview ever. And I laid a stink bomb.

I don’t know if I can handle retelling the story, so here are random points:

  • Bringing two suitcases was great for easy transport between apartments, but I didn’t pack proper interview clothes. I wore a dress shirt and slacks – nice, not impressive though. I don’t know why I didn’t bring better clothes, but at least I had a collection of witty graphic tees at the apartment!
  • I had submitted my resume using the company’s input form on their website, and added HTML for the appropriate boldfacing and italics. However, when the interviewer printed the resume, the HTML code was printed, too, making it a garbled mess. Lack of printer and foresight to go to Kinko’s meant that I didn’t have another copy of my resume. Bad move.
  • When asked what I did at my previous job, I was all over the place in my explanation, and the interviewer cut me off to get to the point.
  • And my most Uncool Dad moment – he asked me what is probably an interview standard: “If I have to decide between you and someone else who has prior experience using our software, why should I pick you?” My answer wasn’t just like fumbling the ball, it was running the wrong way to score for the other team.

    Me say something like, “Honestly, I’m not sure that you should. I would be an honest, likeable employee, but if I were you, I think I would choose the other person.”

    After a smile and slow shake of the head, his reply was “OK, from interviewer to interviewee, that was the wrong answer.” He then explained that I should’ve said that, while the other candidate has experience, I could quickly learn what he knows and offer a fresh perspective on things. Actually I didn’t score for the other team because at least half of the stadium would’ve been cheering for me. This was fumbling the ball and then plowing into a pyramid of beloved cheerleaders.

Miraculously, despite the stink bomb, I walked out of there smiling. After he explained the job to me, I realized that I didn’t want the job and I let him know. Too bad, I’m sure that he was about to offer me the job along with a full sack of cash with a $ sign on it.

It was a humbling learning experience – just what I needed. He was kind, but straightforward. He gave me feedback on the interview and wished me luck on the job search. Fortunately, I had a lot more than luck on my side.

Next time: In what should finally end the debate on the existence of God, I get a job (or two)

In an effort to help others avoid the same shame, this is a part of Works for Me Wednesday.