Me and my friends thought my heart was in New York already.
I commute some nine hour insane trip for my internship; I spent hundreds of dollars on hotels and transportation for some looming networking opportunities; When I created my online dating profile, I chose New York as my location.
But most recently I started to question: is New York really the city I want to stay in?
I came back from an up-scale soiree in Manhattan last week and was somewhat confused. I skipped classes and researched attendees and got some fancy letter press business cards but ended up making no connections. The dilemma of the fashion industry once put me off came back bugging me again. When I did fashion my own way, I made awesome supplier connections, sold some exclusive designer deals and maintained many loyal customers who later turned friends who would write me letters and send gifts. Despite all the transactions happened in the virtual world, our connections were real and genuine. But when I was in New York, some of the fashion/luxury networking scenes made me uneasy. I couldn’t help notice the pretentious smiles, wandering eyes, and insecure smirks. People checked you out by looking at your watches, bags and shoes and they were too occupied to impress than to be impressed.
By far, I have enjoyed my internship very much. The co-founders of the company are brilliant, humble and down-to-earth entrepreneurs that work hard and respect their employees. And that’s what I have expected for New York. However, the reality struck me that there is always a part of the glamour, expressionism, show-off side of fashion that I have to live with. Will a behind-the-scene type of person be comfortable stepping into the spotlight? I have no idea.
But that’s the fundamental reason why I have to experience, feel, fail, and learn. If it were not for the internship and the networks, I would have lived in an imagined world of New York. Reality check is so important that a job is more than a job, it’s part of your larger eco-system including your off-job life and relationship, which are equally important as a career.
Networking is more than getting connected with other people; it’s also about getting connected with yourself.