Working (Upstate) for a Living:
How I’m Bringing Home the Bacon
My husband and I were 100% only looking for a weekend home/airbnb rental when we started our home search earlier this year, so we didn’t have to even think about how our work lives would be impacted until we decided to make the switch to full-time about three weeks before closing.
Rob has taught industrial design at the Pratt Institute for the past 13 years – and they managed to move his teaching schedule to Wednesdays and Thursdays so he can spend just one night in Brooklyn with various friends. Most of his clients for his own practice are in Manhattan, an easy two-hour drive away when they aren’t communicating via email or text. Done and done.
I started my own business a few years ago doing international higher ed marketing and strategy around six years ago and my clients are almost always a Skype call away. I had been wanting to travel less anyways, so the longer trip to JFK didn’t bother me much.
Just to keep things interesting, though, I decided to use the opportunity to pursue another career option that had been tempting me for years, which, unsurprisingly, is real estate! I finally got my license this summer – with no idea if I’d affiliate with a broker upstate or in Brooklyn. I thought I’d do this part-time initially, but the question was really where did I want to spend my weekends showing homes?
The answer was very clearly upstate – and, in yet another bizarre twist of fate, my real estate agent and I got along incredibly well. Like, sit on the deck during the very long home inspection and chat without a moment of awkward silence kind of well. Like, realizing I wanted to learn from her and work with her and help her build her new agency kind of well!
So, Deborah and I approached each other cautiously and I’ve now not only ended up totally changing where we live, but have also started working as a real estate salesperson at Habitat Real Estate Group in Stone Ridge.
Is it weird for me to combine the two things so far? Well, not really. I have most of my calls for my business in the morning because of time differences, and my weekends and evenings are free for real estate. I’m even sharing an adorable little studio behind the Habitat offices so that I can keep the businesses separate.
I’m guessing that I’m working more than full time, BUT it’s also the most amazing way to get to know a new area and meet new people – and I somehow still seem to be able to squeeze in a trip to the swimming hole, the meat vending machines, or a hike after work!
Figuring work out is something that seems kind of tough for a lot of recent city transplants up here. Either they have something they can do remotely and/or they kind of cobble things together. I get the sense that there are a lot of people who are incredibly passionate about what they do and are taking the opportunity of the lower costs to try something new. Plus, our broadband internet is faster than in Brooklyn, even if the cellphone service leaves A LOT to be desired.
The Ulster County Office of Economic Development keeps putting up Facebook ads for me on why I should work remotely from here, and, I have to say that I think they’re right on. It is beautiful. It does cost less. It is plenty easy to get to Manhattan. AND there are tons of smart and creative people up here.
I guess the only thing that’s really been weird for me so far is the fact that I came here on vacation for about five years before moving full-time – and getting my head around the fact that I’m sitting in an office when there are apples to be picked or novels to be read on my deck is still pretty challenging. Not that NYC didn’t have plenty of temptations…and I sure am saving money and feeling healthier without the 4 billion options from Seamless on my phone for lunch.
Megan is a real estate salesperson at Habitat Real Estate Group in Stone Ridge, spending most of her time making connections between buyers from NYC and sellers in Ulster County. She is a writer, marketer, and entrepreneur who founded a company dedicated to helping universities around the world attract more international students. Megan gave up her frequent flier status and planted roots in Kerhonkson, NY with her husband Robert and cat Stinky in the summer of 2016.