By now, the 24/7 culture of corporate America is no secret. In fact, that’s precisely why so many people have gotten burnt out or refused to return to the office after the pandemic. But one TikToker says she found the key to happiness by creating a better work-life balance for herself — and all it took was a sizable pay cut and a move to Paris.
“Moving to Europe gave me a significantly higher quality of life,” explains Soldana (@iamsoldana) in her recent viral TikTok.
Just three years ago, she was a college grad making roughly $80,000 a year as her base salary. But because she was living in New York City — AKA the most expensive place to live in the world as a single person — Soldana wound up rooming with three strangers in a downtown Manhattan apartment just to afford the rent.
After a few years of this, an opportunity came her way that offered a different path: It was a similar job in consulting, but located in Paris, which gave her the chance to explore life in a whole new city.
As cool as that sounded, Soldana was hesitant.
“If you know anything about the European job market, if you compare it to New York salaries, the salaries are a huge cut,” Soldana explains in the clip. “But I said ‘f*** it,’ and I took the job even though it was a lower salary, and it was probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Since the cost of living is lower in Paris, Soldana says she was able to go from a four-bedroom shared apartment in New York City to living in her very own Paris apartment, which was a pretty major step up.
“On top of that, the additional paid vacation time is just insane,” he said. “I went from three weeks of paid time off in New York City to having seven weeks — the legal minimum — paid time off in Paris.”
There’s also another nice perk to moving cities: Being able to take quick trips to other European countries on the weekend for a fraction of the cost.
“Also, if you’re a foodie and you love going out to eat, going out to eat was not a possibility for me when I was a new grad, it was just too expensive,” explains Soldana. “I would limit it to the weekends.”
Going out to eat in Paris, however, is a much more affordable venture. Not only will a typical meal with friends cost her about 30 euros ($32.94), cocktails included, but there’s also no tipping required in France, which really adds to the savings.
“Last but not least, I think that it was a lot easier for me to make friends in Paris as an American than it was for me moving to New York from California,” confessed Soldana. “It may sound counter-intuitive, but being a foreigner, it’s a lot easier to start a conversation with and makes it easier for me to meet new friends.”
She adds that the ex-pat community in France is so strong that it’s easier to bond with fellow Americans who’ve made the move. You just have to be patient while “infiltrating” the ex-pat scene.
In the comments, a lot of people were immediately starry-eyed over Soldana’s life in Paris, which sounded almost too good to be true.
“7 weeks of PTO?!” one person asked. “Lemme get this visa chile.”
“Not to mention how much light European apartments get versus NYC ones,” another person said. “No more vitamin D deficiency.”
“emily in paris vibes,” someone else quipped.
Other Americans, who’ve either made the move abroad themselves or are about to, also chimed in with their thoughts.
“Yes love this!” wrote one commenter. “I’m an American expat, I moved from NYC to Amsterdam 5 years ago.”
“I’m moving from LA to London in the fall,” added someone else. “This was so reassuring.”
Some people said they actually did the reverse move to America and were sadly disappointed.
“I moved to the US years ago because the salary was huge but it was so expensive (healthcare, rent, etc) were so expensive that it wasn’t worth it,” one person lamented.
And then there were those who expressed an unmistakable touch of bitterness.
“Key phrase: ‘had the opportunity…,’” one person noted.
“well I ‘made’ the opportunity,” Soldana clarified. “I asked for an internal transfer and worked to learn French to make it possible.”
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