Thursday, January 16, 2014

Things I have learned from working in Manhattan:

1. Walk with purpose. Streets near main commuter hubs, all over NJ Transit, and metro stations are filled with people trying to get somewhere. This isn't the time of place to stroll, walk 5 across, and sight see. 

2. Walk in a straight line. For every person you are trying to pass, there is at least someone trying to pass you. Keep your course as direct as possible to avoid trips, collisions, and dirty looks. 

3. Look up. Get off your phone, tablet, or whatever. You're annoying and see #s 1 and 2. 

4. No one has patience for your suitcase or rolley bag. I'm sorry.  Again, see #1 and 2. 

5. Yes - commuter shoes are unflattering and unsexy but they get you from point A to B a helluva lot faster. I keep dress shoes in my desk drawer so I don't have to do as much schlepping. 

6. Keep a medicine cabinet in your desk. After I was hired I went to cvs and stocked up on everything from Aleve to feminine hygiene products. You never know and since you are spending much of your time at work, you will probably use it. 

7.  Similar to #6 get snacks. It is much cheaper, healthier, and effective to bring snacks from home than run out or to a vending machine every time hunger strikes. 

8. Always look for new routes. The other day I discovered the C train. If you are a seasoned NYC commuter this is probably not a big deal, but it is so much less crowded than the A and the 1 and takes me to the same place. Where have you been all my life, C? Look to see where other people are going - why are crowds where they are? How do I make sure I come through that exit? These small finds can save a lot of hassle. 

9. Even if you don't go out to eat, go out to lunch. Because the city is an expensive place, I bring my lunch to work every day but I still try and take advantage of the time and step out of the office. Depending on your location, you can run errands rather than save them for the weekend or just walk around the block. Although the tasks seem mundane, it still breaks up your day and gets you away from the computer. I am fortunate enough to work in Columbus Circle so even on cold days, I can walk through the mall and window shop.

10. Still make "you" time. I have a long day - probably 11 hours out of the house from door-to-door. I come home to a fabulous husband and son, and between 6:30 and 8 - we dine, clean up, bath, play, and put our little man to bed. Its a little bit of a whirlwind but it works and my husband and I have our time together from about 8 to 10pm. Although this second part isn't for everyone, I also get up at 5:10am to workout and shower. I call it "negative time" because both of my men are still asleep, I have the time to myself, but I'm not taking away from any bonding time with my family. 

11. Treat yourself. Although lunch in the city can be costly, you can still go out from time to time and try a new place, buy coffee instead of relying on the office supply, or find a little shop and get yourself or a friend a little something. The other day I got my nails done and it just make my day a little nicer. 

12. An escalator can never be broken - it just becomes steps - and that makes me happy. For the most part, people walking up steps move faster than people gliding up an escalator. Unless you are the unfortunate soul with a suitcase (see #4), everyone's morning commute has been cut a little shorter because of this malfunction. 

13. Hug the walls. When you are walking from point A to B - whether it is in the subway terminals, the side walk, or the stairs - the closer you are to the side, the less people should be in your way. I am still conducting research on this study, but so far I have had more success on the sidelines than up the middle.
14. Being a petite female has proven to be advantageous.
       a) people are willing to give you that last bit of space in the crowded subway. Otherwise, you are like the people who missed the Titanic life boats, staring sadly as the doors close and train sails away.

      b) you become an excellent bobber and weaver, allowing you to make it through the crowds a little bit faster
     c) petite people are awesome

15. Remember why you are working in Manhattan. The least favorite part of my commute - well there are a few - but one is when everyone piles out of the train and trudges up the steps to Penn Station. I feel like a cow being herded and think "am I going to do this until I am 60?" Maybe I will, maybe I won't but I keep my family in mind and the trips we can go on, the healthcare and benefits we have, and that I have a job that allows me to even think about retiring. I work so my family can be comfortable and my son can have the life we vision for him - and I am lucky enough to be going to a good place once I get out of the herd and into my office. 

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