I'm in a mid-twenties rut, get me out of here!
February 6, 2010 7:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a mid-twenties rut. Please help me think of activities, classes, or organizations in NYC I can partake in to get me active and motivated!

I'm in my mid-twenties and recently moved to New York in August 2009 to pursue a career in print media. After a month and a half, I finally got a job in production at one of the Big Six publishing houses. My passion is on the editorial side, but I was willing to take whatever I could to make money and to get my foot in the door. It's been almost six months now, and the job is not as fulfilling as I want it to be. I'm hoping for some suggestions on skills I should learn, organizations I should join, or general attitudes/encouragement for this awkward mid-twenties slump of post-college life in a new (and big) city.

Just as an example: I've signed up for a book copyediting class at NYU's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. I'm excited for this because I'll be learning something new, it'll contribute to my job and future freelance opportunities, and I'll be getting out of my usual routine. Can you think of other pursuits in the same vein as this NYU class that would get me out my rut and benefit someone in their mid-twenties?

Some of my favorite activities from college were writing/editing for my school's alternative weekly, doing publicity and programming for a film society, and doing some activist work with LGBT and women's issues. Obviously, I'm still figuring out how to translate these college activities to the 'real world.' Thanks!
posted by jamnbread to Work & Money (13 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
If you are in a rut, go help someone else. You will meet lots of cool people (myself excepted) there too.
posted by shothotbot at 7:22 PM on February 6, 2010

I used to volunteer at God's Love We Deliver - loved that!

Here in LA we have a sister organization called Project Angel Foods - not as compelling for me. A friend of mine totally digs it, though.

God's Love is AWESOME.

Their link.
posted by jbenben at 7:47 PM on February 6, 2010

Mefi's own Jonathan Soma (aka my roommate) is in charge of the Brooklyn Brainery. I'm in the class on scents and it's been amazingly informative and fun.
posted by zoomorphic at 7:50 PM on February 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding volunteering. I do this a couple times a week, and I can say that helping others can be a great way to fill the post-college meaning vacuum.

Also, is there a meetup group in the area that's related to any of your interests? Surely there must be something since you live in New York City. If there's nothing, what about starting your own group? Very recently I started a through on meetup.com to play fancy European board games. Getting together with some cool, new people with similar interests has been really exciting for me, and I can't wait for our next meetup.

I live in Pittsburgh and I find cool things to do. In NYC there must be 100x as many things going on--I'm sure you'll find something. Good luck!
posted by squawk at 8:08 PM on February 6, 2010

Find a literacy group you can volunteer with. McSweeney's has one of it's workshops in Brooklyn. Otherwise, maybe at a women's shelter or something? Volunteer work pretty much changed me from an aimless, deadbeat 20-something into someone who started to do something with his life.
posted by GilloD at 12:16 AM on February 7, 2010

Best answer: I have moved several times during my 20's, each time to a new city where I've had to reacclimate. It's not fun.

Some things I've done:

-- had a dinner party and asked each of the (2) people I knew in Chicago to each bring a friend I didn't know, to meet some new people

-- joined various photography meetups on Flickr. Some of my closest friends in DC, Chicago and Philly, I met through Flickr. Usually people who are into photography also are into other cool things, and can introduce you to all sorts of fun activities. Plus, you can ask them questions and become a better photographer.

-- Learned Braille. I volunteer at a Braille publishing house and took a series of classes to learn Braille (sighted people don't use their fingers to read Braille; we use our eyes.) This was creative and publishing related, which is why I mentioned it. Think outside the box when it comes to publishing.

-- I organized a board game night. I like to play board games but I didn't like the (mostly male, kind of socially awkward) people who played at the organized meetup and the club in Philly -- so I created my own club, inviting my friends and their friends and so on. It's turned into this nice little weekly event held at various pubs.
posted by melodykramer at 6:21 AM on February 7, 2010 [5 favorites]

I was also going to suggest the Brainery (I was in the class on scents, too, though I ended up only being able to go to the first session). But it's cheap! And fun!
posted by ocherdraco at 6:56 AM on February 7, 2010

Improv Acting class? Get you comfortable thinking on your feet and working as part of a group.
posted by fings at 7:45 AM on February 7, 2010

Best answer: i know book production isn't your thing, but you could take some classes related to it that might open up new ways of thinking about your job. like, for example, a bookbinding class. you could learn all sorts of cool ways to make books by hand. or a letterpress printing class. or a screenprinting class. etc. etc. there are some very cool small presses that put a big emphasis on high production values in their books. maybe you could volunteer with them?

the other thing is--publishing pays jack sheeit. if you end up sticking it out in production, might i recommend switching over to advertising? you'll still be at the bottom of the heap, but you'll get paid much better than you would in publishing. but then again, if your passion is to get into the editorial side, you should stay put.
posted by apostrophe at 9:17 AM on February 7, 2010

one more thing. i assume you might be interested in the editorial side of things because you are a writer. this could be major projection on my part, so ignore it if not. but consider that you might be romanticizing editorial. it's probably just as bureaucratic and office-y as production. and it's still not writing. is there a way to 'shadow' someone in that department, to get more of an idea of what they actually do? find a mentor over there--come in early, stay late, and try to squeeze in some time getting a feel for the reality of it. interview people that work in that area, especially fresh-out-of-college assistants. they might be just as jaded as you.
posted by apostrophe at 9:40 AM on February 7, 2010

It is important to balance mental and physical stimulation. I'd encourage you to pursue both.

Small sided sports helped me when I was in a similar rut. I played Futsal (5-a-side football) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Plenty of options re mixed or single sex with a wide range of skill levels. You can get your own group together or contact the organisers directly and see if they know of any vacancies. My brother managed to played three or four games a night just by turning up on fixture night. I only stopped when I re-injured my shoulder :(.
posted by dantodd at 5:02 PM on February 7, 2010

Sign up to nonsensenyc and look at the volunteer/learning section. Kickass parties too.
posted by lalochezia at 10:13 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, folks! Sounds like volunteering is the way to go. And I'll definitely check out the Brooklyn Brainery.

apostrophe - I get where you're coming from by saying editorial will also be office-y, but since I'll be working on books (hopefully ones I like and want to read) I figure the grunt work won't be as bad. I've just been in the business for 6 months though, so I am definitely still looking around in other fields.
posted by jamnbread at 10:18 AM on February 8, 2010

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