From the Farm to the City: Moving to London
As a Kiwi in New York City, I felt exotic; American's would buzz out about a friend's, uncle's cousin that holidayed there, ask me about Lord of the Rings, and quote Flight of the Concords. After living in such a bustling city, there was no way I could go back to New Zealand. London would be my next move.
You all asked, and here is the second post from my three-part series, From the Farm to the City, where I discuss my life moving from New Zealand, Melbourne, New York, London, and Dubai.
Six months into my time living in NYC, I knew I had to stay; I spent weeks researching how I could! I was on the J1 visa (see the previous post), and to be sponsored by your employer they must prove you're the only person capable of the job. I tried a last minute attempt to nab a boyfriend and rush into marriage in the hope of securing the K-1 visa (joking...), but even that isn't easy. I'm persistent, although unfortunately this was something I couldn't change.
Although I loved my upbringing and think NZ is incredible; like Carrie Bradshaw, I'm meant for The City. As NZ is part of the Commonwealth, and if you are under 30-years, it's easy to get a two-year Youth Mobility visa to the UK. You can apply overseas provided you have lived in that location for at least six months.
I knew I had to prepare; I started to save, read books about improving interview techniques and reach out to people on the Kiwis in London Facebook page. 'Women Don't Ask' by Linda Babcock and Sarah Laschever is an excellent read, as is Michael Port's 'Steal the show.' I spent WEEKS finalizing my CV - the Brits like a simple format, with Profile, followed by Education, and Career History (I'll do a post on CV writing in the coming weeks).
The 15th of June 2015 came quickly. I went for one last run down the East River and said my farewell to New York City.
Hello, London! I was housesitting my friend's apartment and Chihuahua for the first few weeks before moving South West to Clapham. I registered with recruitment agencies and discussed everything I liked about real estate in Manhattan - business development, chasing leads, networking, ad generation... however, doing RE in London didn't appeal to me. I was contemplating marketing, specifically PR, but I was open to suggestions...
Every single agency told me I should do recruitment and work for them, to which I said no.
Though... I was starting to contemplate it.
Upon meeting my future manager, Alastair, in The Shard, I knew that's where I wanted to work - who wouldn't want to work in the tallest building in Europe?! I not only loved Ali but got along with the rest of my team. In recruitment, it can be high pressure and the hours can be long. Liking your colleagues can make or break a job.
How my London Experience was different
To say my two years in London was spent traveling around Europe would be a lie. Many of my Kiwi friends made the most of Kiwis in London meetups and spent weekends on pub crawls; however, for me business came first. I threw myself into my job as a Recruitment Consultant for Finance in the temporary job market which, in London, is more lucrative than permanent work.
I started playing football/ soccer, hot yoga, and completed three 10k runs. London wasn't as crazy as NYC (read my comparison), and I found it easy to develop a good work-life routine. As someone who has always enjoyed a good party, I went four months with no alcohol and worked on becoming the healthiest version of myself.
After a long London winter, and years of contemplating what I would do for my side hustle, I finally summoned the courage to start this website. I loved the corporate aspect of my job and I'd developed a fetish for office fashion - suddenly, all my nights were spent researching or developing my blog. (I don't think my friends saw me too much after that!)
A lot of my work as a Recruitment Consultant is done via phone which made me feel awkward and nervous when I started. Because of this, I forced myself to take on any difficult call - any complaint, awkward situation or cold-call to a difficult hiring manager - I did it. And I became great at it! Push yourself as the more you do something, the better you become. (See my post on improving your cold calling).
Don't let other people's opinions get in the way of living your life - in fact, more often or not, it's only your thoughts holding you back! Everyone was very excited to watch my website develop and were keen to offer advice! Who cares what people think - the ones that make the sly digs are the ones that would never put themselves out there.
Try really hard in your job, listen, and work hard on maintaining relationships externally and internally. Your ability to react and interact with people (Emotional Intelligence) has more impact on your career than technical skills or IQ.
See further my post on 'What I've learnt in London' that I wrote at the start of this year.
Hope you liked the second post of my three-part series 'From the Farm to the City' guys? (If you missed Part One of this series, you can find it here.) Join me next time as I move to Dubai! Lately, I've been incredibly busy - on the weekend I filmed my first Vlog and hosted my first Interview with author Nancy Castro who has just moved to Dubai from LA. Both will be going up on my YouTube channel - I'm so excited to share it with you!
If you live in Dubai, I've also started a Women's Networking, Business and Hustle group - some awesome events are planned so I hope you can join.
As always, if you have any questions about moving to London please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I love hearing from you!
Until next time,
Briar Prestidge xx
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