Reflections after moving to SF from Miami

A while back I made a post discussing whether or not I should move from Miami to San Francisco in order to accept my dream job. Now that I have been living and working for SF for a month, I figured I'd give my initial thoughts for anyone who cares.

My initial reaction was that San Francisco was pretty nice to explore. I moved a week before I had to start work so I spent 6 days walking around the city. SF has a lot to see in terms of parks, hiking trails, famous streets, cliff and ocean views, and beaches. Granted it was like 60-70 degrees compared to the 80+ that I was used to in Miami. 

Once I started work the initial thrill of having a new city to explore wore off pretty quickly, and the rough edges of SF really started to show. I like my role and my group and my bank so far, but outside of the office, the reality of living in SF set in quick. 

Despite making over $200k, SF is expensive af. My compensation offer was very generous. Getting my first banking paycheck felt great. However compared to Miami, everything I bought felt twice as expensive. Lunch was always $20+ instead of the $8 dollar cuban sandwiches I could get outside my Miami office. My rent is significantly higher for a space much smaller and older. Even buying groceries felt like it was eating up my paycheck. 

The homelessness problem is disturbing. I read in many different places that San Francisco has a notoriously bad homelessness problem due to "overly compassionate" politics or whatever, making the city an attractive place to migrate to if you're homeless. I was not expecting it to be as bad as it is. The city has a few bubbles that are clean and appear to be much more normal. However, on most streets in the city I saw rows of tents, people doing drugs right on the sidewalk early in the morning, wandering around looking like actual zombies. It was disturbing. On a human level I felt like these people need to be helped, but the reality is that their brains have most likely eroded to a mush-like state due to the drug consumption, and they do not know right from left. It's quite sad. 

It hasn't been easy making friends. Miami is such a social city that it is very easy to go out on your own and have no issues meeting people your age or girls worth talking to. Maybe I just haven't figured out where to go out yet, but I haven't really met anyone my age. Hopefully this changes closer to the Summer. Also, moving away to a completely new city is difficult in general. 

Do I regret moving out of Miami? I don't think so. Miami is an amazing city to live in, but having gone to college there, it was weird to go from having a college mindset to a working professional mindset while living in the same place and doing the same things on weekends. Having moved away I now feel like I'm in SF for a purpose and to actually grow professionally. Miami is a better place to be for those who have already established themselves but I think it's hard to get into banking there early on. There's also just so many distractions.

I'm looking forward to seeing what more SF has to offer. They Bay Area definitely has its pros and cons and I feel like I haven't even really scratched the surface yet. I think it will be interesting to see how I feel about my move another 5 months from now. 

Thanks for reading. Now get back to turning comments. 

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Comments (58)

Apr 12, 2022 - 1:54am
pdiddy14, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Sounds like you live in downtown. Of course there are lots of homeless people. I was born and raised in sf and all the residential areas (70% of the city) are nice and clean. Please visit golden gate park often, Richmond district, sunset district (great food), marina district (amazing) pacific heights (10x more amazing), San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel…. The list is exponential for nice places.

Don't limit yourself to the garbage downtown area in San Francisco. It is a beautiful city and you have only been there a month. Relax with the homeless stuff. Make friends and they will show you the residential spots.

Controversial
Apr 12, 2022 - 11:13pm
Fjsjrjdns, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As someone who lived in a couple of the neighborhoods you mentioned for an extended period, I know you're full of shit and propagandizing. Yes, downtown / SOMA / tenderloin is basically zombieland, but every neighborhood has its share of druggie homeless shuffling about with fried brains and shitting on the streets.

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Apr 14, 2022 - 8:46am
fidnevejsjd, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Fjsjrjdns

The fact is the city is too crowded with AWFLs and Asians, the former completely out of their minds and the latter so disgustingly passive and amenable to bug culture and disgusting cities, that nothing will ever change.

uh does anyone else hear the dog whistle blaring in their ear?

Apr 12, 2022 - 1:58am
pdiddy14, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Oh I forgot cole valley and Hayes valley in sf as well. Baker beach is the best view in the world. Visit presidio park and Chrissy field. Oh yeah, haven't even mentioned all the places north of sf. Napa, sonoma, russian river. Once again, you've been there a month. I haven't explored 70% of the bay and I've lived there 18 years.

Apr 12, 2022 - 3:02am
InvestmentSpanker, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did you seriously write a reflection post after living somewhere for 5 weeks? I've had vacations longer than that, you're a tourist 

Apr 13, 2022 - 5:52pm
NoEquityResearch, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Personally, I've found that your first few weeks living in a new city are among the most magical. All the restaurants are new. There's so much to see. You're getting to do stuff for the first time. If the first few weeks suck, you're off to a bad start....

Apr 12, 2022 - 7:02am
RegretMyJob, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I got bad news for you buddy, the women there are also extremely busted. I've lived in many cities on both coasts, and I've never seen ugly chicks with an ego as big as SF women. I'm talking 2s and 3s who wouldn't even get on the waitlist for the shittiest clubs in Manhattan. This is coming from a woman in her twenties also. 

Apr 12, 2022 - 9:43am
Pierogi Equities, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Seattle is similar.

Quant (ˈkwänt) n: An expert, someone who knows more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing.

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Apr 12, 2022 - 11:04am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I want to echo your comments on the homelessness. I think most people outside of SFO and LAX will read that and say "oh, but there's homeless in every city in America". And that certainly is true. But in California it's just different. I have been to both SFO and LAX in the last couple of years and I grew up in LAX - the homeless problem in California has really reached a whole other level. After seeing it firsthand, I remember thinking to myself that this is not something you can just throw money and services at and everything will be better. Something has just plain gone fundamentally wrong in California. I'm afraid that the problem there has reached a point that you simply can't un-fuck in a reasonable manner. 

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Apr 13, 2022 - 11:39am
GoingToBeAnMD, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The pikers stand by and point fingers like cowards. The leaders think forward to solutions. 

Which one are you going to be, son? 

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Apr 12, 2022 - 12:43pm
S.S EBITDA, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agree with all your observations. Lived in SF for about 1.5 years and overall would consider it a low point. Things just felt dull to me in a weird way. Definitely a ton of beautiful parks/beaches/sceneries, probably the best out of any city I have lived in. But, this is only a fraction of what most people our ages enjoy (at least for me). I do think the group of people you connect with plays a huge role, you cannot just go in and start meeting people and vibe like you can in NYC/Miami/etc. In fact I would say you are up against a lot of odds if you don't have at least 2-3 people you can consistently hangout with and you share commonalities with. SF tends to be very cliquey.  

I ended up moving out of SF, and have not regretted my decision one bit and have definitely felt happier in the new city. I do miss some things like the food, nature spots and beaches from time to time but I would say overall quality of life has improved since moving out. 

SF is definitely not for everyone, and you have to be very optimistic and open minded if you're going to make it work for you.   

Apr 12, 2022 - 2:27pm
hba2013, what's your opinion? Comment below:

What neighborhood do you live in? I always counsel people new to the city to optimize for nice neighborhood > nice unit in a less good neighborhood any day of week. 

I recommend you rent a car on weekends and get out into exploring the Bay Area - Berkeley, Carmel, Sausilito, Sea Ranch, Sonoma - my perspective changed once I started treating the entire region as home rather than just the city of SF. Live well and welcome! 

Apr 13, 2022 - 12:11pm
alfwamp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Been in SF about 7 months. This is true, but actually a major downside imo. Feels like half the city is out of town every weekend. No one wants to live here full time. Being in finance makes this 10x worse because plans have to be last minute. Not many people in SF get that. I don't hate the place, but the vibes are off. I was in LA before this and liked it, so it's not a California thing. I'm heading to NYC ASAP. If you're in your 20's, not from the Bay Area and didn't go to school here, I'd stay away.

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Apr 12, 2022 - 7:27pm
odog808, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I lived in SF for 17 years

  • I would say the City had that vibe in the 2005 - 2008 timeframe, where you can meet people new.  I think that still was the case in the 2010's with a lot of Web 2.0 hiring of young ("cringy") tech workers.  That said, and I went out in the Marina over the weekend, first time in 3 years, and you're seeing life coming back.  What you need is a guy friend, similar situation as you.  Working hard and looking for tail.  Your perspectives will change when you have someone to hang out with.  
     
  • I mentioned in another SF post, Bring Your Own Girl(s) BYOG, to solve the dating issue.  

So, anyways, I went out last weekend for networking.  SF Bay Area has some great networking - 1 to 2 degrees of separation from people doing something that might be relevant to your growth.  While 1 - 2 degrees is nothing for people from the right schools or careers, it increases the chances of you falling (and then grabbing on) into something you never imagined doing from a career standpoint.  
 

The tech conferences are coming back to SF after the pandemic.  It's pretty cool that SF is the center of gravity for that. Which is an indicator of what is being created here. I don't have to get on a plane for that, and that has value.  
 

That said, not getting the vibe that SF used to have.  Not just yet.  There was a time when Union Square in front of the Westfield Mall was jam packed with people.  I haven't been back there in a long time.  Not sure it's back. 

Have compassion as well as ambition and you’ll go far in life
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Apr 13, 2022 - 12:01pm
rohit107, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly I've lived in both, SF 2014-2019 and then Miami 2020-2022 -- my one gripe with Miami is that their 'tech scene' is a lot of partying/socializing/almost like you're always celebrating a tech exit... SF used to be much more focused on just building without judgement... now ofc homeless ppl aside, you can live in North Beach/Russian Hill/Marina right next to the Fort Mason/Golden Gate Bridge and it's a damn beautiful life... Miami is gorgeous too, both can be expensive in different ways i.e. going out is ridiculous/rent is cheaper/food again is expensive (I still can't find a chill Miami spot for dinner lol). But if I were to choose one to be in early 20s and I was either a tech banker or Growth/PE, go SF, better for your career.

Apr 13, 2022 - 4:30pm
anonguytoibd, what's your opinion? Comment below:

SF and Silicon Valley is more insular than other areas and in ways more career focused than even NYC on average. People are always networking and will assess you as worthwhile to keep in touch with depending on what you do or what you've done. It's a turnoff but if you are a founder or young startup employee or even aspiring founder or young startup employee, I understand the rationale behind being "on" all of the time as your future is at stake. The good or bad result from this is that it is fairly normal to be friends with your coworkers. That's probably your best immediate avenue at making friends.
 

However, you can make friends outside of professional circles if you share real interests with people like anywhere else. Many of these activities are outdoors focused like sailing, biking, snowboarding, camping, ect. Volunteering is another way to get to know people outside of work. Lastly, you can in fact make friends at bars and events but it just takes time. 

Apr 25, 2022 - 5:32pm
Charlesroarke, what's your opinion? Comment below:

SF and Silicon Valley is more insular than other areas and in ways more career focused than even NYC on average. People are always networking and will assess you as worthwhile to keep in touch with depending on what you do or what you've done. It's a turnoff but if you are a founder or young startup employee or even aspiring founder or young startup employee, I understand the rationale behind being "on" all of the time as your future is at stake. The good or bad result from this is that it is fairly normal to be friends with your coworkers. That's probably your best immediate avenue at making friends.
 

However, you can make friends outside of professional circles if you share real interests with people like anywhere else. Many of these activities are outdoors focused like sailing, biking, snowboarding, camping, ect. Volunteering is another way to get to know people outside of work. Lastly, you can in fact make friends at bars and events but it just takes time. I personally shifted to Long Beach. 2 years there. No regrets so far :)  https://localnlongdistancemovers.com/long-beach/ helped me a lot with my moving!

I lived in SF for a year. Can't say that the experience I got there is pleasant :( 

Apr 26, 2022 - 8:59pm
mef, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Hey any advice on how your adjusted on moving cities for work? Hope you're able to meet some more people soon! I may be moving from Baltimore to Philly (I'm 22yrs old so we're probs around the same age). 

Apr 29, 2022 - 11:29pm
Fast and Fiduciary, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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May 10, 2022 - 5:03pm
chief_hoss, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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