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Living & Working In New York City

The perks and challenges in the city that never sleeps.

New York City is easily considered one of the best cities in the world. Travelers from all over the globe come to enjoy the theater, the restaurants, and the overall feel of the city that never sleeps. But with a bustling city like this, the challenges that can come with constant tourists combined with the over 8 million people that call the big apple their home can be overwhelming.

As a company with a branch located in the heart of Manhattan, we talked to some of the people that work there to find out what the best (and worst) things are about working in New York City.

Brandon Marotta is the Senior Account Executive at the Western branch on 10th Avenue. He cites that one of the many advantages of living in NYC is how easy it is to meet new people – both professionally and personally. To some that live outside of the city, there is a perception that people in New York are rude. That’s a fallacy! With the many museums, pubs, restaurants, and live entertainment, there is always something to do with people who share your interests. You may not make a friend just walking down the street (everyone in NY is also very busy), but that’s ok. You can find a great support system easily with the many different team bonding and networking opportunities.

On the other hand, he said, the main challenge he noted is public transportation. There are plenty of buses and taxis, but all of them are subject to repairs, delays, and TRAFFIC. He notes that “gridlock is all too real and getting a few blocks might take a long time if you get caught in it!”

When it comes to his job, in particular, he also said, “The pest pressures in New York City are unlike anywhere else in the country, where pests are often times attacking our clients from all sides, even above!” This should come as no surprise to anyone since there are often videos of rats dragging a piece of famous New York City pizza down into the subway. But it’s more than rats. With so many hotels, bed bugs are a serious problem. Restaurants can be overrun by cockroaches and flies. And public transportation (the subway system especially) can be a haven for any and all bugs and rodents. Keeping the city clear of these pests is an uphill battle but one he and his colleagues are up for!

He did end by saying that NYC is constantly growing and changing. Meeting new people and discovering new things has always been one of the main reasons I’ve enjoyed working and living in NYC – and that doesn’t seem to be changing so I’ll stay for now!

Vincent Cicileo is the manager of the Western New York City branch. He, too, mentions that the dense population in the city creates an environment where meeting people, both professionally and personally, seems to be easy. There are uncountable things to experience in NYC and it seems like something is always being added. If you lived here your whole life, it would be hard to get to it all. You certainly are never bored in NYC!

He was able to come up with the most serious challenges, though. He cited the very high cost of living, pollution, congestion, traffic, and crime as the most difficult ones. Some areas are affected by each one more than some others, but overall, it’s expensive to live here – and even expensive to work here.

When it comes to his job, he said there is no shortage of competition in NYC. Customer expectations are incredibly high when it comes to delivering high-quality service. He said, “Failing to respond to a customer’s need or request in a timely manner is simply not acceptable. A customer’s level of acceptance in NYC, in all aspects of our business, is very high. Your team must be prepared to respond immediately to any and all requests.” There is very little room for error and even less patience in New York City. That has become the East Coast culture of working hard and long hours, which is why people moving away from the area are so highly sought out in more southern states. The work ethic they bring with them has been engrained into them and is hard to shake.

Still, he says he loves working in the city. Mostly because no day is the same. He noted, “As a leader, we are challenged daily to navigate the complexities of operating in the largest metropolitan city in the United States. I am motivated by the challenges and obstacles presented to us daily. NYC keeps us alert and ready for anything.” You have to be alert in NYC. That cab won’t wait for you to get it together.

We also spoke to Mariaignez DeOliveira, a Senior Account Executive that has been with Western for 20 years! She lives in Greenwich Village, one of the most famous areas in New York. She said, “If you’re looking for a certain type of food, you can find it in Greenwich Village. If you can’t find it there, it does not exist.” Sounds like bold words, but it’s pretty much true. She also said she loves that the city is a mix of old buildings and new construction. As an always-evolving city, you will certainly never be bored.

Things have certainly changed for New York City because of COVID. Most people aren’t back in their offices and unfortunately, some areas of the city still look deserted. It’s sad to see for anyone who has seen the city in its previous glory. She is optimistic that it will return but right now, for her job, in particular, it’s difficult to find the decision-makers in companies. It’s a lot easier to not answer the phone when you’re working from home than if you’re in the office. That makes sales a little more difficult than it previously was.

The main challenge she spoke of is actually also a perk: New Yorkers wear their hearts on their sleeves. If you ask a question, you’re going to get the answer – whether you like it or not. It will be direct and concise. We don’t have a lot of time, remember. New Yorkers are busy, so we get to the point and get to it fast. Don’t waste our time. We don’t have it to waste!

For a different perspective, we spoke to William “Woody” Chue. As a service technician for both homes and businesses, he is out and about in the city every day. What he loves the most about working in New York City is the people. Everyone is interesting and he tries to connect with every customer. He said he loves seeing the relief and happiness on his customers’ faces when he is able to resolve their pest issues. He makes sure to keep a positive attitude but it’s easy since his customers are always thankful and grateful to him for relieving the anxiety that can come from having a pest problem.

On the other hand, pest control issues can take time and that’s the biggest challenge he has: explaining that to his customers. Everyone wants a quick fix but sometimes that just isn’t possible. He knows he will fix it, but he has to manage their expectations. He finished with, “But overall, I love working with the people and customers in New York.” There’s that positive attitude again!

It sounds like there are almost equal amounts of perks to living and working in New York City as there are challenges. That’s probably true everywhere – you must weigh them and figure out if the perks outweigh the challenges. It’s a personal decision and choice, but from our research, New York City seems to be a fantastic place to live and work. We should know.