I met Lauren years ago, in a pub technically speaking. Her career has been in online marketing, in Australia and in the US. Lauren has worked both for smaller agencies and a couple of WPP agencies. Moving from MediaCom Australia to MEC NYC gave her a fair chance to compare not just two amazing cities, but also two strong media agencies.
Below is Lauren’s story on moving, integrating and enjoying her expat life in “The Big Apple”.
- Why have you decided to leave Australia and move to the US? Why did you chose NYC?
I moved to the States because I really wanted to experience life living in a different country and NYC has one of biggest media industry in the world, so I knew the move would be great for my career as well as my personal growth.
- How did you find the whole visa and job searching process?
I did a lot of networking prior to leaving Australia so that when I arrived in NYC I was able to really hit the ground running and ended up getting a job with the sister company that I had been working for back in Sydney. The Visa process was pretty straight forward also.
- How would you compare the Australian and American media market?
There are a lot of general similarities in the way things are done, however I did find it challenging at the beginning trying to adjust to the office politics and formalities of how Americans tend to work. I had to adjust my pronunciation of quite a few words and rethink my vocabulary as American’s are not quiet as creative with the English language as we are in Australian and so often they had no idea what I was saying or what I meant by certain phrases.
- What’s the work culture like, work-life balance?
I’m sure that every office is different, but for the most part the company that I worked for didn’t really have a great work-life balance. I often found myself working back to 9 or 10pm, which is not unusual in NYC.
- How do you find the American culture outside of work?
Some things I love and others I’m not that crazy about. For instance, I play in a softball league throughout Spring & Summer which I absolutely love and have made some great friends as a result. I also love that you almost always get a pickle on the side of your plate if your order a burger or sandwich. And I love the diversity of the city’s inhabitants. There is so much creativity and colour (on a good day). As for the things that I’m not so keen on… New Yorkers tend to be big consumers and quiet wasteful with a lack of concern for their environment. The garbage that litters the streets and parks on a daily basis is something that after two years of living here I still find really heart breaking, especially to see in such a developed nation.
- How has your career benefited from the move?
The experience I’ve gained having worked on multinational clients with multi-million dollar budgets is something that I just wouldn’t of been able to get at home.
- What’s the pay like and career progression in comparison to Australia?
I would say that it’s on par.
- Are you planning to come back? Why? When?
Yes. Australia will always be home. I miss the beauty of Sydney, the warmth and casualness of our work culture. I have a few more things that I want to achieve before I do come home though, and so these next few years will be all about working towards achieving those professional and personal goals.
*** Lauren Hotson is a Founder & Chief Executive Officer of DigitalPollinators.com