The drill seems to be the same every year: College students and recent grads flock to New York City to find a magazine internship or on-staff job. NYC might be synonymous with big publishing names like Condé Nast and Hearst Corporation, but these stories prove that looking for a job outside the Big Apple is something to consider. Here’s the advice that these former NYC-based editors had to share:
If you don’t think the hectic NYC life is right for you, looking for an editorial job elsewhere might be the answer.
Lauren Bradshaw was an Assistant Editor at Glamour when she realized the fast pace of the city was starting to wear her thin. “I knew I needed a break and I wanted to get my feet wet in online editorial. I was familiar with Sugar Inc. in San Francisco, so I searched their career openings until I landed my job,” says Bradshaw, formerly an Assistant Editor at BuzzSugar.com, and now the Senior Fashion Editor at The RealReal.
Sarah Latta, formerly an Assistant Features Editor at Coastal Living in Birmingham, AL, was also looking for a change of scenery. “While I appreciate all that NYC has to offer, the stress of the city was beginning to take a toll on me. Leaving was the best thing I ever did,” she says.
Although the idea of leaving NYC might be scary at first, an editorial position in another city could offer you more experience.
“Someone said to me: Do you want to be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? The job I took outside of NY had a lot more responsibility, a higher salary and a huge opportunity to learn. There are only six people on staff, so I literally have a hand in almost everything we do,” says Amy Palanjian, formerly the Deputy Editor at ReadyMade magazine in Des Moines, IA.
Most editors agree that leaving New York helped them to approach pitches and stories differently. “Changing your surroundings can do wonders for your creativity,” says Kristen Hawley, formerly an Associate Editor at GeekSugar.com in San Francisco. (She was previously an online editor at Hearst Digital Media.)
Don’t rule out nearby cities or states (like New Jersey).
“We’re just across the river in Englewood Cliffs, NJ, and go into the city for meetings and interviews several times a week,” says Rachel Chang, formerly the Editor-in-Chief of J-14 magazine and now a Senior Editor at Us Weekly. “It’s definitely different to work outside of the city, but we are close enough that we still get all of the benefits,” she adds
If you do leave, you can still keep in touch.
“I try to email my old co-workers at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be a formal pitch, but it could be an interesting link or recent stat that I think could be useful to them,” says Bradshaw.
If you’re hesitant about taking the leap and want to keep your options open, Latta suggests finding a job with a magazine owned by a big publishing company. If you decide to go back to NYC, HR could help you find a position at a sister publication.
And you can always move back.
Ed couldn’t have said it better himself: “Dare to leave. You can always come back later; you just have to be smart about it,” says Hawley. “If you stay in the loop, leaving the city shouldn’t sabotage your career (or chances of returning to NYC)—especially if you continue to work in an editorial position.”