Working In New York

Posted On 28 Aug 2019

Working In New York

28 Aug 2019

EST10 Team, News & Events

Working In New York

This week we invited Executive Assistant, Ashta Doyle, to do a guest blog post. Ashta lived and worked in New York for two and a half years, as an EA. Having recently moved back to Australia, she gives us the low down on working in NYC, how to get a visa and her top brunch spots!

It doesn’t matter where in the world you go; there will always be a pocket of hard-working Australians thriving in any given location! I found them in London. I found them in Dubai, I found them in Delhi and most recently I found them in New York.

Most people, myself included, assume it’s very hard to get a visa to live and work in America. Unless of course, you marry, win the green card lottery or head over for one year on the J1 straight after university. But, thanks to George W. Bush and John Howard, there’s a little known special visa class available to Australians to live and work in America, with limited requirements.

The E3 what?

The E3 visa (thanks again President Bush and Prime Minister Howard), has a quota of 10,000 available each year and is solely available for skilled Australian citizens. The quota is only ever about 70% exhausted. You can renew your visa up to 3 times, and if married, your partner is eligible for a work permit for any style job including casual work. Their definition of a skilled employee is anyone with ten years experience in their profession (be it a chef, hostess, hairdresser or X) or a university degree relevant to the job you are applying for.

A term that is commonly known amongst most Australians living in NYC or the USA for that matter, as the ‘visa run’. Essentially a short 5-7 day sojourn to the nearest US embassy – outside of the states. I’ve been to both the Bahamas and Barbados. Both were very simple, streamlined and a total breeze (The embassy workers only asked two questions!).

Still confused? I found this incredibly helpful and actually sent it to recruiters as well.


Education vs Experience

In NYC, education is king! An Australian Bachelor degree is not as long as an American Bachelor (3yrs vs 4yrs), but this is not an issue. Just ensure that any qualifications and education you have are listed, and specify what they are.

Experience at larger, international companies are preferred, but if you don’t have this, grit and persistence will go far (That, and knowing someone to refer you!).


Salary Expectations?

New York is a costly city. Rent is expensive, drinks are even more expensive, and you have to tip for EVERYTHING! However, you are at least paid relatively well compared to other parts of the country. Salaries will always vary depending on experience, role and industry. However my counterparts who worked in the Fintech industry were on gross $90k USD (132k AUD), not inclusive of overtime (if this was offered) and private health insurance.

Private Health insurance is legally mandated and must be provided by the employer to all full-time employees. However in the USA it’s not essential to have superannuation paid, this is often an elected self-sacrifice, so this is never included in the package.


Work- life Balance

When they say NYC is a city that never sleeps, I honestly believe its true! That being said, while New Yorkers work hard, they also play hard. I found the hours were longer than elsewhere, especially Sydney, generally 8:30am-6:30pm and lunch was often al desko. But drinks with coworkers after work (or in the office if they provide this) and occasionally a lunch out was still de rigueur.

As with all jobs, if there are urgent tasks to be done or an important project, employees will work longer than normal to get through it. However, in NYC, there was always a feeling of needing to always be “on”. People check their emails incessantly and will respond at all hours. There’s also an expectation that as support staff you should be there before the seniors arrive and leave after they leave – which can often be quite late!


Recruitment Process

Unfortunately, if you are thinking of making the move, it’s highly unlikely you will be able to line up a job before you leave. Even if you reach out to recruiters and arrange skype/facetime interviews beforehand, realistically no one will put you forward for roles without having met you in person. The best option is to have as much money as possible saved, a short term lease arranged and travel on a tourist visa (you get three months) and start the job hunt asap! Once you are on the ground, recruiters are aggressive, and you will find the process quite quick. I went with a smaller recruitment agency in the end, as they had the same personal touch that a boutique agency such as EST 10 has.


Top tips for job hunting/making the move

  • Make sure you have enough funds to sustain yourself for the three months and to cover the visa run.
  • Get a US phone number immediately and chase recruiters so they can meet you.
  • Be prepared to educate the recruiter and the employer on the E3 visa – they will always ask, and no one is informed about this special visa, that is solely for Australians or how simple the process is. I found showing them this infographic on my iPad was REALLY effective!
  • Do not let them think it’s like the H1B – which has an exhausted quota, lottery system and can take up to 9 months.
  • List your US address and US phone number on your resume, so they know you are living there.


But, more importantly, where to live, eat and drink coffee NYC!?

Where do I begin…? I lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – which is kind of known as little Australia. There are great bars, restaurants and transport options available, and it’s also slightly more relaxed than Manhattan. It is the place of choice for a lot of 30+ professionals.

A lot of my friends also lived in Tribeca (pricey but gorgeous), Lower East Side (noisy with a young party scene), East Village (more chilled out with great bars, restaurants and nightlife, but many apartments are old and decrepit).

And despite what people may say, there is actually a lot of great coffee to be found – you just need to know where to look! So when you’re looking for your flat white and smashed avocado fix, I recommend the below:

One of the first Aussie cafes has now expanded to two locations in Tribeca and Lower East Side.

Only does coffee, but is actually partly owned by Hugh Jackman, with all profits going back to the Foundation it supports for ethically grown coffee in Ethiopia.

Coffee, burgers and more!

Great food, coffee and happy hour!

Great coffee in a cool spot.

An institution run by former Aussie lawyers turned Caffeine purveyors – there will always be a line nearly out the door for this place.

Set up by a former AFL footballer and banker in 2013, this place kicked off the wave of Aussie coffee and now has become a chain of sorts.

  • Butler, Dumbo and Williamsburg

My favourite local selling the best sausage rolls.

Their coffee is good, but really the pastries are next level!