Basics of Working in New York



The concrete jungle of the United States has always been a magnet for thousands of aspiring professionals who see it as that one special place where dreams do come true. New York is one of the country’s busiest, most profitable and leading financial centres so expatriates who are about to work here will find themselves in a work environment where competition is so stiff they might as well think they're on a battlefield. 

New York has gained the reputation of being that ‘pot of gold’ at the end of the rainbow. Every year, expatriates from different parts of globe find their way in this city where many multinational companies and corporations are situated. It is also the home several organisations listed under the prominent Fortune 500. But with so many skilful, determined and equally competitive rivals, how can one secure a fruitful career in the Big Apple? Here is a short guide that every foreign assignee on their way to New York must read. 

Business or Work Etiquette 

Though New York is a highly diversified city, working here still requires some basic knowledge on how to interact and set the right impression to local colleagues. Dress to impress; that’s one golden rule for all professionals working in the Big Apple, and it is important to be well presented all the time. The suit, collared shirt and tie for men while casual dresses for women. Avoid colours that are too loud and stick to the conservative tones such as grey, navy blue or black. 

On an interview or when introduced to someone for the first time always shake hands while maintaining eye contact. Not shaking hands is a sign of rudeness for them. Gift giving, unlike in Asia, is not a common practice in New York. Small talks are welcome even in business meetings but avoid unnecessary topics such as religion and politics. And last but not the least, utilise the e-mail. Stay in the loop and always respond to an e-mail immediately. 

Work Schedule 

A typical work day in New York starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm. The total hours/week for a part-time employee is 34 hours and 35 hours for full-time workers where both should not exceed a maximum of 40 hours in a week. According to the New York State Department of Labour and under the ‘One Day Rest in Seven Law’ employees are entitled to a full 24 hours rest day within a whole calendar week. Overtime pay and leave credits usually vary with every sector and employer so expatriates should coordinate with the Human Resource department of their company for further knowledge. 


Here is a list of all the holidays being observed in New York: 

January 1

New Year’s Day

January 18

Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday

February 12

Lincoln’s Birthday

February 15

Washington’s Birthday

May 30

Memorial Day

July 4

Independence Day

September 5

Labour Day

October 10

Columbus Day

November 8

Election Day

November 11

Veteran’s Day

November 24

Thanksgiving Day

December 25

Christmas Day

December 26

Christmas Day (Observed)