Jason Proch and I have been in business for around 5 years now after meeting at a new York business conference. Back then he had a brilliant idea for a fintech startup which was why he made the trek from the UK over here to America, in the hope fo gaining some support, which he did of course in myself. It took us some time to work out whereabouts we would run the business and eventually decided that the American market was probably the better place for it, which means that Jason had to relocate. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching his integration into New York society and I asked him last week what tips he would give to a fellow Englishman coming here to live, here is what he had to say.
On the face of it, especially when compared with the UK, New Yorkers can appear to be very rude indeed and they come across brash and aggressive. In reality however this is how the city has made them and it is less about aggression or brashness and more about simply being direct. People don’t have time a city like this for idle chit-chat or standing on ceremony, so they just cut to the chase.
Nice Guys Finish Last
Running on from that last point about directness, if you plan to come and stay here for a while then you must lose the manners somewhat and sharpen your elbows. In my first few weeks here I was the usual English gentleman with manners, holding doors open for people, giving up cabs for an older lady, smiling at strangers and generally being polite. What I very quickly learned was that if you have this attitude you will get swallowed alive in this city. You will spend all day waiting for a cab, you will be holding that door open for hours and you will be perceived as weird for smiling at people. This is not a town for a gentleman, there is a time and place of course, but rather this is a town where you have to be a matador in order to survive,
Although if we are speaking technically, I am a tourist, I feel like after a couple of years here you earn the right to be frustrated by other tourists. I consider myself a part of the system here in New York now as opposed to a visitor and is why I can say that tourists can be a real frustrating part of your day. Filling up the subway, causing traffic, blocking the pavement and swarming like bees around places of interest. I know that I cannot stop tourists from coming to New York, but that doesn’t mean that I cannot be frustrated by them, and you will too.
The only other complaint that I would have about my new life is the severe lack of tea in this city, or at least a good cup of black tea, everyone seems to be too focussed on ‘cool and chic’ fruity teas, a common frustration which us Englishmen must go through.
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