Hear the first-hand experience of young Irish people living and working in the US in IrishCentral’s latest series on the J-1 graduate visa. We speak to recent Irish graduates working across a range of industries about their careers, motivations, and the highs and lows of their stateside adventure.

This week takes us to New York at night and a career in nightclub promotion with Patrick Greene.

Patrick, 26 and from Sligo, completed a masters in E-Commerce in DCU in 2012.

He currently works as a promoter for No1 Nightclubs NYC.

Prior experience

After I finished my masters in 2012, I started work in a digital advertising agency based in Dublin. I always planned on going to the US on the Graduate visa, but I knew I would need relevant work experience if I was to stand any chance.

Luckily, some of the projects I worked on in the agency were with Coca Cola, Guinness & Vodafone so it was hugely beneficial to refer to these throughout the interview process.

The J-1 Graduate visa is a great opportunity to gain international experience on your resume, but you cannot come over here empty handed either.

Taking the plunge

My family were very supportive as always. It is very hard saying goodbye, especially when you see your parents and siblings upset. Makes you realize how much you love them, but on the other hand it couldn’t be easier to keep in contact these days via Whatsapp, Facetime etc.

I highly recommend getting to work on job leads before you come out here. Have a clear plan as the more time used up on your visa over here greatly reduces your chances of getting a job.

Work as a promoter

The job of a nightclub promoter means you go out every night and party in the best nightclubs New York has to offer.

The job description, in short, would be to promote a nightclub party to people at a different venue every night (mainly to girls but guys can come too) by offering them free entry and drinks on a guest list. Once inside, they drink free vodka and champagne while partying the night away.

It’s a far cry from nightclubs in Ireland where girls and guys pay entry and everyone buys their own drinks.

A nightclub promoter exists mainly because of bottle service – people paying thousands of dollars to enter the nightclub by paying for a bottle of liquor or champagne. The business model works nowhere else apart from NY, Miami and Vegas. I have seen guys spend $50,000 on bottles of Champagne in one night. Last year, Paris Hilton spent $250,000 on bottle service for her birthday party in one of the clubs I work at. Madness!

Pros and cons to American life compared to Irish life

I found that by living in NY you can travel anywhere and do anything. If you want to go skiing, it’s a 1.5 hour journey away or you can travel to world events like Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Coachella in Palm Springs. These things are so easy to do here – just hop on a plane and you’re there in four hours.

However, the main con of living in NY is the cost of living, hence so many people having two jobs to survive and your friends are so busy working that it’s hard to organize things.

Major cons are the 45-hour-plus working week and less holidays but, like everything about moving to a new city, you adapt and accept it.

Have you gained experience that you couldn't ever gain in Ireland?

Yes, absolutely! The parties I’ve promoted meant I got to see live intimate performances from so many big names such as 50cent, Tiesto, and Steve Aoki and got to be at the same table as megastars such as Leonardo Di Caprio, Lebron James etc. That just wouldn't happen in Ireland!

Promoting events in high-end nightclubs means you could see anyone. For example, last Wednesday, Steve Aoki rang the 1OAK GM saying he wanted to do a surprise gig that night and during the summer, I was walking out the hall of 1OAK and just as I was going out the door, Joe Hart and the entire Manchester City team walked in past me. It was surreal and the best thing was nobody in the club knew who they were besides a few of us.

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Have you taken the plunge and moved to the US on the J-1 Graduate visa? Tackled the visa process, the job and apartment hunt and lived to tell the tale? IrishCentral wants to hear from you! Share your J-1 Graduate visa story with [email protected] to take part in our series and advise the next batch of US recruits.