As someone who once tried to change her Facebook marital status to “in a relationship with NYC,” I’ve witnessed firsthand how a city can seduce one into blind patronage. Fast forward six adulterous years later, and surprise (even to me), I now find myself living in Los Angeles.
The pleasure -- or misfortune -- of living in either LA or New York as a modern day woman is the topic of many friendly debates, articles, Yelp reviews, and hearsay bar conversations. More often than not it’s a materialistic battle: tacos vs pizza, Hollywood vs. Wall Street, athleisure vs. suits...the list goes on and on.
And while the aforementioned criteria do have their place in determining which city ranks superior, the comparison deserves to be much deeper than the superfluous availability of avocado, or the water quality in bagels...
Alas, it seems the simple Buzzfeed question, “which metropolis is the bestropolis?” is about as easy to answer as the age-old “Pepsi vs Coke” dilemma. It’s subjective, a matter of personal taste, and we all secretly know what really tastes better anyways...Kombucha. Damnit, you can tell I live in LA.
In an effort to spare you my bias (possibly sprinkled subconsciously throughout) I asked 15 badass #WomenWhoSwaay -- Angelenas, New Yorkers, transplants, bi-coasters and inbetweeners -- to compare the “City that Never Sleeps” with the “City of Dreams,” colored in by their personal experiences.
Of the hilarious insights shared, ten common categories emerged: the weather, people, vibe, dating, opportunities, lifestyle, transportation, social life, mannerisms and culture.
And with that in mind, I now present to you: a tale of two cities.
1. Siri, what’s the weather like today?
“Living in New York for a brief time, I remember waking up every morning to a world of grey…walking to class in the rain and the wind, with 0% chance of having a good hair day. But the sun shines here in LA…A LOT…sometimes too much…but I prefer this.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“Everyone in LA is smug about the great weather and beautiful vistas, but spends all of their time and money bicycling in-place, indoors.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
2. People Be Like
“In New York, a homeless person will spit in your face. In LA, your best friend will spit in your cocktail while you're not looking.” -Michelle C., Publicist
“In New York, the people are fun but SOOOO serious – it’s like everyone is in such a hurry to go nowhere, it looks like they need a good cry…and they’re all in suits. But in LA, the people are legitimately insane, which may be from too much sun or maybe too many dreams. It’s cute, but it’s crazy.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“LA people take the time to enjoy life. NY people would never survive without 5 Hour Energy.” -Vanessa H., Finance
3. Do you get my vibe?
“L.A. is very much ‘fuck yeah’ and bright colors...NYC is all ‘fuck this, fuck that, fuck you, fuck the horse you rode in on’ and cigarette smoke grey.” -Cydney T., 26 Investment Services
“NYC is all about intellect; it’s sexy to be a brooding artist, surviving on coffee without time to eat. Dark bags under your eyes paired with high-end clothes is considered chic. In Los Angeles, you can just invert that. It’s all about, OMG I got 10 hours of sleep #blessed, smooth skin, work-life balance.’ No one cares if you’re smart.” -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
Photo Courtesy of Eat LA
4. Dating: Swipe East, Swipe West
“The rating system in NY is inflated. If I’m a 6 in NYC, I’m a 4 in LA…” -Wally B., Comedian
“The dating grass is not always greener. New York has douchey Wall Streeters...we have unemployed Mactors (model/actors).” -Megan W., Publicist
“In NY, a long distance relationship is with someone outside of the tri-state area. In LA, a long distance relationship is with anyone on the other side of the 405.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“It seems like NY is more of a relationship town, and LA is more shallow. It’s always, ‘Is there someone younger and prettier behind me the dude can get with?’” -Steph R., Writer
Photo Courtesy of Free People
5. “This Opportunity Comes Once In a Lifetime” -Eminem, 8 Mile
“LA doesn’t give you everything you need or want up front. She’s guarded, fickle and tough. Yet, if you remain patient and open she will provide you with more adventure and opportunity than you could have ever imagined.” -Atlee F., Singer/Songwriter
“In LA, industry people are nice and inviting...because they know that people can surprise you, and anyone can potentially be that person who opens a door for you. New Yorkers just don't have time to sift through that many humans.” -Alexa K., Program Manager
6. Everyday I’m Hustlin’
“Surviving and thriving spiritually in LA requires constant and active meditation.” -Atlee F., Singer/Songwriter
“In New York, it’s easier to get around but harder to live...there’s no help with literally anything ever. While in LA, it’s harder to get around but easier to live. In fact, people here are overly helpful.” -Hallie J., Digital Strategist
“I hate the shopping experience in NYC. There’s always a line to try something on, and an even bigger line to buy it! Plus when it’s cold outside, it’s WAY too hot inside the stores...but it’s too much effort to unbundle your jacket.” -Tammy S., Film
7. Transportation Nation
“Being in a packed NY train is like playing the trust game ‘who’s not gonna grab my ass while I’m crammed against the door?’" -Atheer Y., Nutritionist
“I’ve made some of my best friends while drunk on the subway...but I’ve also seen a homeless person with an anaconda. It’s constant nonsense. In LA though, it’s basically, “I’ll see you when I see you.” -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
8. Let’s Get Social
“Happy hour in NY means 2-for-1 drinks specials. Happy hour in LA means 2-for-1 sound bath and silent meditation.” -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“NY house parties are in tiny apartments (max occupancy 10-20, with at least 40 people inside). Whereas in LA, they’re so large that people just show up. In reality, the host only knows 50% (which is why everyone asks how you know the host). It's like an audition of how well someone can act.” -Alexa K., Program Manager
9. More Cultured than yogurt
“I admire the hustle in NY. You really have to love it there to stay there, so I think it breeds a strong culturalism which I appreciate. And the toughness…there’s a strong moral character that LA doesn’t seem to have.” -Rachel S., Digital Media
“In NY business casual means suit-jacket optional. In LA, business casual means bra-optional." -Liz P., Marketing Manager
“LA supports a culture of wannabes who end up waiting tables. In NY it’s all about the dreamers who make their dreams come true.” -Vanessa H., Finance
Photo Courtesy of Time Out
"Everyone in NY is an asshole – but it’s just because they need to know what you need. It’s like, “If I can help you in some way I will, but if not, stop talking to me.” While in LA, I’ve noticed people like to openly chat while in line. I’ve naturally met a lot of my best friends Starbucks." -Taylor P., Marketing Innovation
“You can tell who just moved to LA by whether or not they touch the food platter at a party. It’s a shame because it’s always made of the good shit (steaks, sushi, the works). -Alexa K., Program Manager
And there you have it folks, the real differences between LA and NYC, straight from the horse’s mouth. But while their words are insightful, they remind us that just like mimosas at brunch, we’ll never really get to the bottom of it (at least, we hope not).
Just remember that whichever city you chose, one thing’s for sure: you still can’t make that your relationship status on Facebook.
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New parents re-entering the workforce are often juggling the tangible realities of daycare logistics, sleep deprivation, and a cascade of overwhelming work. No matter how parents build their family, they often struggle with the guilt of being split between home and work and not feeling exceptionally successful in either place.
Women building their families often face a set of challenges different from men. Those who have had children biologically may be navigating the world of pumping at work. Others might feel pulled in multiple directions when bringing a child into their home after adoption. Some women are trying to learn how to care for a newborn for the first time. New parents need all the help they can get with their transition.
Women returning to work after kids sometimes have to address comments such as:
"I didn't think you'd come back."
"You must feel so guilty."
"You missed a lot while you were out."
To counteract this difficult situation, women are finding mentors and making targeting connections. Parent mentors can help new moms address integrating their new life realities with work, finding resources within the organization and local community, and create connections with peers.
There's also an important role for parent mentors to play in discussing career trajectory. Traditionally, men who have families see more promotions compared to women with children. Knowing that having kids may represent a career setback for women, they may work with their mentors to create an action plan to "back on track" or to get recognized for their contributions as quickly as possible after returning to work.
Previously, in a bid to accommodate mothers transitioning back to work, corporate managers would make a show at lessoning the workload for newly returned mothers. This approach actually did more harm than good, as the mother's skills and ambitions were marginalized by these alleged "family friendly" policies, ultimately defining her for the workplace as a mother, rather than a person focused on career.
Today, this is changing. Some larger organizations, such as JP Morgan Chase, have structured mentorship programs that specifically target these issues and provide mentors for new parents. These programs match new parents navigating a transition back to work with volunteer mentors who are interested in helping and sponsoring moms. Mentors in the programs do not need to be moms, or even parents, themselves, but are passionate about making sure the opportunities are available.
It's just one other valuable way corporations are evolving when it comes to building quality relationships with their employees – and successfully retaining them, empowering women who face their own set of special barriers to career growth and leadership success.
Mentoring will always be a two way street. In ideal situations, both parties will benefit from the relationship. It's no different when women mentor working mothers getting back on track on the job. But there a few factors to consider when embracing this new form of mentorship
How to be a good Momtor?
Listen: For those mentoring a new parent, one of the best strategies to take is active listening. Be present and aware while the mentee shares their thoughts, repeat back what you hear in your own words, and acknowledge emotions. The returning mother is facing a range of emotions and potentially complicated situations, and the last thing she wants to hear is advice about how she should be feeling about the transition. Instead, be a sounding board for her feelings and issues with returning to work. Validate her concerns and provide a space where she can express herself without fear of retribution or bull-pen politics. This will allow the mentee a safe space to sort through her feelings and focus on her real challenges as a mother returning to work.
Share: Assure the mentee that they aren't alone, that other parents just like them are navigating the transition back to work. Provide a list of ways you've coped with the transition yourself, as well as your best parenting tips. Don't be afraid to discuss mothering skills as well as career skills. Work on creative solutions to the particular issues your mentee is facing in striking her new work/life balance.
Update Work Goals: A career-minded woman often faces a new reality once a new child enters the picture. Previous career goals may appear out of reach now that she has family responsibilities at home. Each mentee is affected by this differently, but good momtors help parents update her work goals and strategies for realizing them, explaining, where applicable, where the company is in a position to help them with their dreams either through continuing education support or specific training initiatives.
Being a role model for a working mother provides a support system, at work, that they can rely on just like the one they rely on at home with family and friends. Knowing they have someone in the office, who has knowledge about both being a mom and a career woman, will go a long way towards helping them make the transition successfully themselves.