how to: live in new york city without a job

Thursday, March 13, 2014

While I have your attention, I would like to take a few minutes to thank a very rare, very select group of people. A group so exclusive - so magical - that spotting one of them is like spotting a unicorn, or Platform 9 and 3/4.

They are, People Who Tip Their Baristas.

People Who Tip Their Baristas are the reason I've been able to live in New York City for the past two months without a job. I mean it. In case you've been wondering what my secret trust fund looks like, let me tell you. It looks like a 12oz mason jar stuffed with 2-years worth of coffee shop tips. Can you say, jackpot? Minus a couple loads of laundry and a few late-night ice cream runs (i.e. life or death situations), every extra penny I made making lattes and cappuccinos went into that jar.

To me, People Who Tip Their Baristas are on the same level of holiness/heroic-ness as Mother Theresa, Gandhi, The Incredibles, and Meryl Streep. Straight up angels is what they are. If you've ever found yourself standing in line at your neighborhood cafĂ© wondering, Do I really need to give this person a whole extra dollar? All they did was pour my coffee and smile at me! This isn't brain surgery! Anyone could do that! Then, let me stop you right there. On behalf of all baristas everywhere, allow me to set the record straight:

You need to tip your barista. Okay?
For one thing, if you don't tip them, they will remember you. Mark my words! You will forever be known as The Guy Who Doesn't Tip. And while it may not be brain surgery, it takes a very special kind of person to pour 300 cups of coffee a day and smile at every cranky, impatient, "mochaccino" drinking son of a bitch that walks through the door. If you really need to justify forking over an entire extra dollar, consider this: Your barista controls your coffee. You never know when you might get decaf by accident.

Am I getting side tracked?

Here's what my girl Mindy Kaling remembers about being unemployed in New York City:

The greatest source of my stress was that it had been three months since I'd moved to New York and I still didn't have a job. You know those books called "From Homeless to Harvard" or "From Jail to Yale" or "From Skid Row to Skidmore"? They're these inspirational memoirs about young people overcoming the bleakest of circumstances and going on to succeed in college. I was worried I would be the subject of a reverse kind of book: a pathetic tale of a girl with a great education who frittered it away watching syndicated Law & Order episodes on a sofa in Brooklyn. From Dartmouth to Dickhead it would be called. I needed a job.

My story is pretty much the same, give or take a few minor details.
For instance, my book would be called From Bachelor's Degree to The Bachelorette - a collection of short stories about a girl with a great education who frittered it away watching back-to-back episodes of House of Cards and eating Chinese take-out. Or maybe, From Starry-eyed to Sing-Sing (who knows what could happen?).

And so. The job hunt marches on! And I march with it.
In the meantime, I can go on living indoors and eating Chinese take-out thanks to the greatest unsung heroes of our time.

To all the People Who Tip Their Baristas, thank you.


  1. Awesome post, from a literary point of view I love the circular structure (lol AP English makes its students strange). Glad to hear you haven't given up, too. Best of luck, Heather!

  2. Good luck on the hunt, I'm sure it will come! As for now, woooo for those that tip!!xx

  3. oh, I just found your blog and it is lovely and I am in the ever-present-dreaming phase of moving to new york when I graduate from university. thank you thank you for having this blog!

    1. Thanks Olivia! Believe me when I say, if I can make it in New York, you can make it in New York. How long until you graduate?

  4. I'm glad theres people like you who are brutally truthful and raw about life and the rollercoaster it is.

    Hoping those tips keep coming and a more stable jobs arises :)

  5. Holla, girl!! I think that so many people think that if they move to NYC they can immediately find a job - I mean, it's the city of possibility and opportunity, right? Well...not really...don't get me wrong, there is plenty of possibility and opportunity, I just never realized how hard it would be! It took me about 3 months to find a job after school. And although my bf is freelancing, he's been trying to find a steady job for the past year. Yes, year. And I know of other people who have been looking for work for many months. It's crazy! And as someone who used to be a server at a busy restaurant, I never take my servers for granted and always tip well deserved! Best of luck to you, dear! I know you'll find something great.


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