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New Yorkers who have left and lived to tell about it

Alec Piliafas, Global Social Strategy Lead at Levi Strauss & Co.
At home in San Francisco

Posted by Mary Ann Kelly

Have you ever considered moving away from the NYC area? After this past winter it has certainly crossed my mind! But where would I go? What are my options?

Over the next few weeks, we will be doing a series on New Yorkers who have left and lived to tell about it. In this week’s post we spoke to Alec Piliafas, Global Social Strategy Lead at Levi Strauss & Co. Alec moved to San Francisco last spring. Here’s what he has to say about his move:

MAK: What drove your decision to relocate?

AP: I wanted a better quality of life than what I had in NYC. I was tired of the commute, the tiny apartments, the weather, the non-stop work emails at 2AM. I had a great opportunity present itself in California and was up for a new adventure. NYC was great for when I was younger and needed big brand experience.

MAK: What would you say is the biggest difference between NYC and San Francisco?

AP: There are so many! The weather is better, the pace is a bit slower, and you’re more active. There are more opportunities to do things outdoors and be healthy.

MAK: What do you love about your new city and miss about NYC? Will you ever be back?

AP: I love the work/life balance and having actual space. The weather is phenomenal. I will always miss the grind of NYC and the different things that are available to you in the city. With the right role and salary, I could see myself coming back, but not for a few more years.

MAK: Did you move with or without a job? What’s your advice to people hoping for relocation?

AP: I moved with a job. San Francisco is way too expensive to wing it without one. I wouldn’t move to a city without a job at this stage in my life. If you’re relocating, really do your research. Look at housing costs, transportation, etc.

MAK: Is the pace/agency life significantly different? If yes, how so?

AP: I’d say agency life will always have certain similarities, but California moves at a slower pace. I worked late on new business pitches, deliverables, etc. like I would in NYC but I also didn’t feel the need to show my face in the office at 8PM for the sake of being there. No one ‘shamed’ me for going home to work. In NYC, my boss once told me that if I left at 6:30PM, it would be looked at poorly because other colleagues were staying late. No one has penalized me for doing my work during working hours and leaving to go home to make dinner with my family.

MAK: In Eat Prey Love, the main character comes up with one word to describe each city she’s lived in. What’s yours for NYC and San Francisco?   

AP: NYC – chaotic

San Francisco – home

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