Does London Live Up To The Dream?

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With its big skyscrapers, fancy restaurants, top class West End clubs, glorious sightseeing destinations and it being the money making capital of the UK, London has a lot to offer. There is no denying that fact. However, if you a dig a little deeper, does this city live up to the hype?

Working in London

I have a job in London after years of trying; I commute in every day and pay an enormous train fare to get to work as I live outside the city. I do all that as working in London is painted to be such a big opportunity, and if you ignore the slight problem of the packed underground, it definitely has it perks.

All I have to do is say to family and friends that I have found a job in London and automatically eyes light up, beaming smiles appear and exclamations of “you have made it” pour out. You don’t even have to tell people where you work – just saying that you work in the big city of London will suffice. That is down to the strong reputation of London being the place to succeed, the land of dreams, which is partly true (as if you wanted to go into banking all the main headquarters are based in Canary Wharf). If you want to be in media, all the big three television companies (BBC, ITV and Channel 4) are London based, so the people that want to work for them need to be here. Stock broking, publishing, sales & recruitment are all industries that are catered for in this city.

However, time and time again when half my wages go on transport and the other half goes on renting a room, you begin to question whether this London bubble is worth it. To maintain a London lifestyle you need to be on at least £30k, but by the time I work my way up to that wage, my glorious twenties will have passed me by.

What people don’t realise is that sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a small business, rather than a small fish in a big company. It is easy to get lost in a bigger platform and it’s a deadly fight to get yourself noticed, whereas a smaller company gives you time to flourish. In some cases, it might be better to get the experience outside of London, then, once you have that under your belt, branch out, as London is not the only place with potential to succeed.

For anyone starting out in their career, entry level, training and intern roles are low pay. There is no correlation between the London lifestyle, which can be quite spectacular if you have the money, to the wages most twenty-somethings are on as they struggle to make it in the big city. This is frustrating as the early twenties are billed as the prime of your life, but the trendy after work bars and funky eateries are redundant to most once happy hour is over.

London is a beautiful city. It is easy to see why it generates the praise it does, as there are some great attractions to go see and with it being so busy you do get a buzz like no other. However, to truly experience it to the max you need to be on good money, as this city is an expensive one and my wish is that it didn’t have to be so hard to achieve this experience.


Feature image from Wiki Commons.

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