Sunday, 20 July 2014

Part II: Candid advice for those migrating to London


So to anyone considering a move to London? Come. Stay. Find your corner(s). Read the Standard and your local magazine. Don’t read the Metro. Download the tube app. Make an effort to make and retain friends. Enjoy alone time. Walk around. Explore. Invite your non-London friends to stay and show them your favourite areas. Join a gym. Play team sports. BUDGET. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. Everyone else is haemorrhaging money too – just plug the gaps where you can, don’t keep a car, say no to things sometimes and ask for a raise as soon as possible. Then ask for another one a year later. 

Live near the tube because night can be scary and winter is even worse. Buy an awesome winter coat and a good umberella. Smile at homeless people, give money to buskers you like, don’t shop on Oxford Street, visit Greenwich, go to the park, do yoga, meditate and take baths. Eat out as often as you can – there’s so much good stuff to try. Don't buy an entirely new "London wardrobe" immediately, based on a few Londoners you thought looked happy. You won't know what that means for you until you've been here a year. Try the tube commute at slightly different times – it can make the difference between standing and sitting. Even better, live at the end of a tube line for a guaranteed seat. Starbucks salads are tasty, convenient, healthy and cheap sources of protein and veg. Eat protein in the morning. Don’t drink too much coffee. Sleep. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Patronise independent businesses. Don't miss the last tube home. They're earlier than you think - especially on Sundays. If you do, get the nightbus. Plan in advance. Know that Whole Foods is awesome, but expensive, and that wheatgrass shots are bullshit. Befriend your phone calendar. Remember that you’re not a unique little flower and there are hundreds if not thousands of people in this workforce/dating pool as hot, or talented or smart or fantastic as you are. It’s a competitive environment. It’s also an environment full of all those people for you to discover and welcome into your world. Do that.

You will get the freshers flu again when you move here while your immunities adjust – just drink grape juice, rest and apologise to your employer.

Know that if you dress like a hipster in Mayfair, people will treat you like you’re a stroppy teenager, and if you dress like the Middleton in Shoreditch, people will treat you like you’re an asshole. And then disregard those facts and dress for yourself (or for that raise). Be aware that it’s not a race. Don’t compare your progress to those who are the same age as you. You have time. Age has nothing to do with it in London unless you want to be a model. Don’t be a model in London. Or do, and realise why I told you not to, and then parlay the money/contacts into something real. Also, disinfect your phone, wash your hands and invest in some headphones that don’t share your song selection with the entire tube carriage.

BELIEVE that if you focus, the job or business opportunity/inspiration will come along when you least expect it. And it will probably be better than you thought it would be. Happened for me, and most of my friends. One went from unemployed PR graduate with no experience to retail at Burberry to assisting on Kate Moss for Vogue shoots at the Savoy in less than 6 months. Awesome if you’re into that sort of thing. Weird shit just happens here, but you have to be here, with a good attitude, for it to happen to you. You may hate London for a year. Maybe even two. I have plenty of friends who did. Don’t show it and it’ll get better. Be grateful to the city even if it’s hard and you’ll be repaid. Once your senses adjust and the metropolis accepts you into its heaving bosom, you’ll start winning. So don’t give up on London. You’ve got to be in it to win it. 

See Part I: An unashamedly smug love letter to London here

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