sarah berger brooklyn bridge

Riley Arthur/Bankrate

Now, I know that — lately — I’ve been throwing big, expensive urban jungles some shade.

A new analysis from Bankrate finds that — this year — the best cities to launch a career aren’t the major metros on either coast, but rather bustling, inland cities, including Houston, Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

Big city dreamers, don’t let this news deter you.

I’ve had an empire state of mind since, like, middle school, and chose to launch my career in New York City, moving there just one month after graduating from college.

New York has always been my dream city. Always. I didn’t budge from wanting to move there after hearing horror stories of the sky-high rents or rat-infested subway tracks. NYC always had a tight grip on me — you can probably blame “Gossip Girl” for that.

During my senior year, the only thing I heard over and over was how expensive it was to live there, how hard it would be to make ends meet on an entry-level salary, and to “be realistic” (which, IMO, is the phrase that leads to the death of dreams).

But I wouldn’t budge. My mind had been made up for decades. So I figured out how I could make it work. I did my research, I started saving my junior year of college so I could get a head-start on rent, and I re-adjusted my expectations, opting for (basically) a closet in Brooklyn, instead of a penthouse on Park Ave.

Now, just a few years later, I have a fun job, an apartment in Manhattan (albeit teeny … but still!!) and a solid savings cushion. I sacrificed a few expenses (like pricey spring break trips and impulsive shopping sprees), but those sacrifices have been more than worth it.

If you want something bad enough, you figure out how to make it work, even if that means getting a work-from-home side hustle. And no, that doesn’t mean putting yourself in tons of credit card debt or a dangerous situation. It means researching, saving (like A LOT) and being on a tight budget. But if it’s worth it to you — like it was for me — you’ll be happy living on a small budget in a big city. It’s all about personal preference, and you shouldn’t let someone squash your big city dreams because they value different things.

Now, go forth and job hunt! If you want more career tips, follow me on Facebook.