When you grow up cold in the Midwest, one of the first impulses is to flee from the gloominess and the misery surrounding you: No oceans. Few lakes. Lots of ponds. Faraway mountains in non-neighboring states encapsulate you and make Summers stiflingly hot and humidified. When we reach the age of consent in our time of reason, many of us bolt West to Los Angeles or East to New York. Not many head up North to Minneapolis or Chicago and, fewer still, move Southward to Kansas City. If you are a tender Californian, I urge you to stop reading this article right now. You will not be happy with the continuation of my argument.
Most of my friends who escaped life in the Midwest, as I did, headed headlong into the California lifestyle and never looked back. They are warm and happy there and their natural work ethic is never pressed to the test in the land of golden sunshine. They fit in perfectly well lolling on beaches and working on their tans. Real work is part of their life, but work is never their life.
Those of us who headed backward into history and into the hard and tough maw of life on the East Coast tempt a much more gravelly existence. There is no golden sunshine to soothe us. The blue winters are just as harsh as what formed us as Midwestern children, and yet there is something magnetic and magical about New York City that no other city in the world can match. We are drawn to the challenge of beating the East Coast at their own hardened, unwinnable, hand.
East Coasters are always working. In fact, New Yorkers work 100% harder than Los Angelenos, and I’ll tell you the why of how I know this.
New Yorkers start working at let’s say, 8am. In California, the time is 5am. New Yorkers have a three-hour head start on the day that they never give up.
Californians rarely arrive to the office before 10am. That actually gives New York a FIVE HOUR lead in starting the workday.
West Coasters usually work until 4pm or so — and New Yorkers have to work through the end of the California workday — which means New Yorkers are still “working with California” until at least 7pm East Coast time!
Total time worked in a day for New York: 11 hours.
Total time worked in a day for Los Angeles: 6 hours.
New Yorkers always have to be careful when calling California for fear of waking up the sleeping beauties — while California never has to worry about calling New York because we’re always awake — and working!
California is a beautiful place to visit, but I don’t know if I could actually live there and work because I fear I’d spend all my time in the sunshine and I’d lose my moral and ethical edge to always live up to that little, nagging, Midwestern voice in my head urging me onward to keep working and to keep pressing forward. It’s the relentlessness of that niggling restlessness that separates New York from California and that means you will find, on the East Coast, the best and most majestic people in the world; and we’re all here and awake, and ready for you — whenever you dare to decide you’re ready for us.
It has been largely true in my experience doing technical support for companies in California. I try to call a lot of offices before 10AM but it mostly goes to voice mail. Meanwhile, our office stays open until 7pm to accomodate the people who may be there at 4. Mind you, we are slowest between 6-7pm.
It’s definitely a wild disconnect between working cultures, Gordon. It’s as if two different universes of work ethics exist.