Thursday, June 23, 2022

The First Trimester

Our little bean at 12 weeks.

Some personal news: I'm pregnant, due in mid-December! When this post goes live, I'll be in my 15th week of pregnancy, just past the first trimester. K and I are so excited to become parents. I also feel incredibly fortunate that everything's been going smoothly so far, according to my OB/GYN it's all proceeding as expected and low-risk.

Today's post is about my first trimester. Be forewarned, I mention some detail about things like ovulation tests, irregular cycles when coming off the pill, side effects of pregnancy, and that sort of thing. Along with that, an important disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, but I always take seriously the advice of the team at my OB/GYN's office.   

Friday, June 10, 2022

The Post-COVID Era NYC Rental Market

via Unsplash

I don't know about your neck of the woods, but here in NYC the rental market has gone completely bananas! We got a sweet deal on our previous lease renewal last summer, thanks to the lingering effects of COVID on NYC rents, but those renter-friendly days are definitely long over

Within a few months after last year's lease term started, I was already noticing that rents in Manhattan were climbing back up, eventually increasing by early 2022 to the point where it was almost like COVID never happened. Around 2019, market rents in my not-particularly-hip neighborhood had suddenly skyrocketed over the original not-terrible-for-Manhattan norms that had prevailed since K and I first moved into our current building in late 2015. So when I say the local rental market looks as if "COVID never happened," I'm talking about fairly significant increases over the most recent high water mark of rents (from early 2020, before the COVID shutdowns). 

I was commiserating about the state of the rental market to a close law school friend who lives not too far from K and I. Both of us were bracing for some really painful lease renewal offers from our respective landlords. Somewhat... luckily, I guess we need to call it, even if the result is still a ~18% rent increase compared to last year for both of us... we both actually ended up being... pleasantly surprised by the offers we received. Despite that ~18% increase, both offers are also significantly under market compared to what new leases currently go for in our buildings. (Each landlord also made it extremely clear our offers left absolutely no room for negotiation. It's take it or leave it!) 

It's hard to get a perfect read on what market rates look like right this moment. Listed rents on StreetEasy for one-bedroom apartments in my neighborhood recently shot up by $300+ since the last time I looked in earnest, around four weeks ago when we were considering whether to accept our lease renewal offer. If current listing prices on StreetEasy are serious - I'm embarrassed to say I've never been great at negotiating personal business matters, so I don't know have any read on how much flexibility there might be on new leases - market rents on comparable units are possibly 35%+ more than my COVID-discount rent from last year, and ~17.5% more than I'm paying for my renewed lease, which K and I signed barely three weeks ago! 

If you're a renter, how's the rental market looking where you are? I hear things are pretty tough in a lot of big cities in the US, there may actually be some cities out there that have seen more dramatic recent rent increases than NYC at the moment. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Suiting Up for Job Interviews

Suit on the left is from Theory (blazer and skirt; affiliate links) and the one on the right is from Brooks Brothers. At present, it's difficult to find more conservative-looking wool or wool-blend women's suits at stores with more entry-level pricing!

Today's post is just a small life update: Part of the reason I've been so busy and unable to focus on blogging in recent months is that, in addition to things being so hectic at the office, I've also recently had more interviews for some of those government litigation jobs I started applying for over a year ago! At least two of the government offices I filed applications for in late April of 2021 only started interviewing candidates who applied in 2021 starting around March 2022. 

Many of those jobs can also be expected to have an extremely long hiring process; months can  go by between interviews. Should I be lucky enough to receive an offer, there's also a potentially lengthy background check process, one that can take several more months. 

I must say, I don't think I realized just just how long this process could take for me until I started with this year's interviews. But I'm extremely thankful to have the opportunity to interview in the first place. (With the nature of my current workplace, they don't mind that I'm looking at this type of government job, they're actually quite excited about it. It was also necessary for my current supervisor to write a letter of recommendation for my applications!) 

So yes, that's one important thing going on in my life recently. If I'm ultimately successful with getting one of the jobs I've been interviewing for, that will also involve taking at least a 60% pay-cut - the actual number may be well over 60%, though should at least be a bit less than 70% - from what I currently earn in the private sector. I'm definitely mentally prepared for that, it's part of why I rushed to pay off my law school student loans as fast as I could in recent years, finally finishing them off last July. Though the question of whether I'm actually really financially prepared - can anyone ever be for such a drastic change? - is a much more complicated one, as I'm just not very good at doing long-term financial projections.