Help! I've been in the SF Bay Area for a year and HATE IT

Hey guys,

So I'm a 1st year analyst in MBB in the SF Bay Area and hate it here. I'm a Duke graduate, and I'm used to being in a "work hard, play hard" mentality. Compared to before, where a lot of people were both smart and had good social skills, people in the Bay on average are quite weird and ugly. I understand valuing your career, but if you knew nothing about my job, I still have other hobbies and interests - I play guitar and piano, play sports, do archery, am into male fashion, etc. But a lot of people here are so career oriented that that's all they got gong for them. Their entire identity runs around "I'm an engineer at Google," and thus, they are extremely boring people.

Looks and fashion aside (it's horrible in the Bay), people are quite book smart, but they are honestly semi-autistic at times. I've been to bars where guys have literally tried to pick up chicks by talking about crypto-currency or their new startup ideas or some left-wing political talking point. I don't view myself as particularly hot, but just because I am fit and dress/groom well, and know how to actually talk to people, I feel like I get a bump of at least 2-3 points on the attraction scale. Other guys are so terrible it is so easy to land chicks, although they aren't really lookers themselves. On the flip side, because I'm well dressed, a lot of guys and girls assume I'm gay.

A lot of people I know are utterly obnoxious. They post their GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores publicly on social media, and 70%+ of their instagram posts are career related as they have no hobbies or real interests. My beta male roommate once got mad at me because I made out with a girl he brought him (that he knew for 4 months) whom he never made a move on before lmao. It's pathetic.

I am looking into moving to SoCal (LA or SD), Texas, or NYC. Is there anywhere else you would recommend? Yes, people in the Bay are quite "smart," but they don't really have much else going on. I'd rather be with fun, well rounded people instead of constantly being around super nerds (being nerdy in moderation is okay, but it's way too much here). Thanks.

Comments (64)

Most Helpful
May 30, 2019

You don't sound terribly well-adjusted yourself from this rant, but I enjoy NYC. Lots of concerts and nightlife

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Jun 19, 2019

Yeah was thinking the same exact thing; sound like just as much of a try hard as the SF people he's talking about.

May 30, 2019

Hey man, live in SF myself, I definitely see where you're coming from with regards to "working at Google" is people's whole identity and the other stuff you said. There are some people here a bit chiller though so PM me if you'd like to grab a drink sometime.

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Funniest
May 30, 2019

you sound like a fit for LA. go there

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May 31, 2019

+1. LA is a love-it-or-hate-it type of city, as is NYC, and it's the polar opposite of SF.

May 30, 2019

Fashion reference is not no homo. Sf is best market in the country right now for trim and money.

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May 30, 2019

I grew up in the Bay Area, I absolutely hated it for the reasons you just wrote. LA was better, but I got annoyed at slow pace of life and imo not conducive to having a social life if you work long hours (MBB friends based in LA are very "suburban house with a dog" type people). New York is definitely the best of both worlds, I think just having 4am last call + more geographically compact than LA helps a ton.

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May 30, 2019

Have lived in Southern California and multiple places in Texas, and spent considerable time in NY. Can't go wrong with NYC or LA. If you want to stay in MBB, Dallas is an option. Not a bad city, but far less sexy than the other two. Austin is a great city if you want to work for a tech company. SD is great too, but you may struggle to find interesting opps there.

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May 30, 2019

I lived in Seattle for a bit after b-school, a city that is quite similar to SF in many ways. I absolutely HATED it with the passion of a thousand suns. I have really good friends in SF as well and also hate that city. Both cities attract a mix of sanctimonious tech geeks and super liberal hipsters/SJWs (of course those 2 groups are by no means mutually exclusive!). There are way more men than women, so if you are a single straight dude, the dating scene is horrendous.

I moved to L.A. last year and can't be happier. Although I do miss NYC at times, the weather and lifestyle here are hard to beat. It's a lot cheaper than NYC and SF, and nonstop good weather really lifts your spirits. The only real downside to LA is that there aren't that many great high paying jobs, as the city is still transitioning to a more diversified economy.

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May 30, 2019

I don't want to go off-topic but being born and raised in Seattle, I agree with you 100%. Leaving Seattle was one of the best decisions I ever made when it comes to dating. Seattle and SF both have a lot of jobs in STEM which unfortunately attracts people who lack social skills. Also consider the fact that STEM jobs are male dominated which screws up the guy/girl ratio and ruins the dating scene.

Interesting fact: While I can't speak for SF, since Seattle's inception as a city it's had a lot less women than men, so much so that it use to be a big problem for the city. There are several museums in the Seattle area who talk about this problem the region faced. Seattle's first two industries were logging and fishing (male dominated) and apparently the trend continues to this day with Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.

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May 31, 2019
Guywithtoaster:

I don't want to go off-topic but being born and raised in Seattle, I agree with you 100%. Leaving Seattle was one of the best decisions I ever made when it comes to dating. Seattle and SF both have a lot of jobs in STEM which unfortunately attracts people who lack social skills. Also consider the fact that STEM jobs are male dominated which screws up the guy/girl ratio and ruins the dating scene.

Interesting fact: While I can't speak for SF, since Seattle's inception as a city it's had a lot less women than men, so much so that it use to be a big problem for the city. There are several museums in the Seattle area who talk about this problem the region faced. Seattle's first two industries were logging and fishing (male dominated) and apparently the trend continues to this day with Boeing, Microsoft, and Amazon.

I know a lot of MBA students at top programs who refused to join Amazon due to the Seattle location. It really hurts the firm with respect to getting top talent. This is a major reason why Bezos chose NYC as HQ2 before AOC and the crazy Democrats killed it.

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May 31, 2019

...but the music scene was awesome from 1991-1995!

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May 31, 2019

100% can confirm. Spent a great deal of my life in Seattle and noticed quite the list of cons:

  • Finance opps are terrible.
  • Nightlife is horrendous for a supposed "major" city.
  • Culture of praising fresh software engineers who are literally coding basic decision trees.
  • A strong hatred for anything remotely conservative or libertarian. This has created a toxic environment where most "free speech" that isn't completely left leaning is frowned upon.

I used to catch Seahawks games back in the day and almost every game had a group of uninformed & unemployed teens outside protesting whatever CNN had told them to that week.

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May 31, 2019

Help? If you don't like it, move somewhere you do. Shit isn't complicated.

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May 31, 2019

I bet you wouldn't like LA or NYC much either, given the kinds of people who drain your soul (I feel your pain). Also poor quality of life just like San Fran. A Texas city makes sense. Salt Lake City, Boston, Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago are probably all good options for you.

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May 31, 2019
Danielplainview:

I bet you wouldn't like LA or NYC much either, given the kinds of people who drain your soul (I feel your pain). Also poor quality of life just like San Fran. A Texas city makes sense. Salt Lake City, Boston, Nashville, Charlotte, Atlanta, Chicago are probably all good options for you.

Pretty sure the OP would love LA or NYC. He's young, single, smart and accomplished but still wants to enjoy the city life. And the people in LA and NYC are not as nearly as obnoxious and SJW as SF.

May 31, 2019

Very subjective, depends what culture and lifestyle you want but there are plenty of options.

May 31, 2019

Safe to say that SF has the worst reputation on this site?

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May 31, 2019

Yeah, safe to say finance has the worst reputation in SF so the feeling is mutual, and I'm from SF originally.

May 31, 2019
Brio:

Safe to say that SF has the worst reputation on this site?

SF and Seattle are hell on Earth.

May 31, 2019

I can't find it right now, but there was a thread someone absolutely shit all over Seattle, very similar to this.

Jun 5, 2019
BubbaBanker:

I can't find it right now, but there was a thread someone absolutely shit all over Seattle, very similar to this.

It's because of the Seattle Freeze

Jun 6, 2019

SF is a cesspool

May 31, 2019

Consider Orange County over LA or SF. You still get the beaches, great weather, and close proximity to LA/SF/SD/Vegas, etc without having to actually live in those cities. And cost of living is extremely reasonable in comparison. OC also surprisingly has a decent amount of finance/accounting firms.

May 31, 2019
buggylovesfinance:

Consider Orange County over LA or SF. You still get the beaches, great weather, and close proximity to LA/SF/SD/Vegas, etc without having to actually live in those cities. And cost of living is extremely reasonable in comparison. OC also surprisingly has a decent amount of finance/accounting firms.

OC is fine if you are married but terrible for singles, although I think Huntington Beach is emerging as a hot spot.

Very little finance aside from PIMCO and PAAMCO. The county is dominated by real estate and healthcare, with a nascent tech sector in Irvine (e.g. Amazon has an office there).

May 31, 2019
May 31, 2019

Pretty sure you'd hate Socal and Texas. Socal swings too far in the other direction (they're quite put together but the pace of life will not be what you're looking for). Texas is similar; Austin is autistic, Dallas is probably more what you're used to but it feels much more "industrial" than lifestyle, Houston might be a good choice depending on where you're living. I'd second some of the above suggestions for Chicago, SLC, and Boston. Atlanta maybe, although that city has gotten worse over the years. I'd also toss in a vote for Philly.

SF sucks and I'm sorry you have to be there. I was there for literally 3 months before I couldn't stand it and moved away. Never hated a city that passionately in my life. I was also dead center in "young and broke but wanna live in the city" (the Mission), so maybe that contributed to my distaste.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

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Jun 3, 2019

Is there stuff to do in SLC for non-Mormons? There's obviously a ton of great outdoors stuff, but I was just wondering about the city in general.

Jun 4, 2019

It's a decent sized city in a beautiful area. If you're an outdoorsy type, you'll love it there. I'm not too familiar with the social scene though. Either way, there are plenty of other non-Mormons around that you can hang out with, if that's your concern ;)

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Jun 18, 2019

There isn't much to do in SLC. I've been living in SLC for a few months now. I like the people and it's much better than I expected but it's a very small city and there isn't much nightlife either, every thing is dead by like 8 pm. Loads of outdoorsy stuff if that's your thing though.

Jun 4, 2019
chicandtoughness:

Pretty sure you'd hate Socal and Texas. Socal swings too far in the other direction (they're quite put together but the pace of life will not be what you're looking for). Texas is similar; Austin is autistic, Dallas is probably more what you're used to but it feels much more "industrial" than lifestyle, Houston might be a good choice depending on where you're living. I'd second some of the above suggestions for Chicago, SLC, and Boston. Atlanta maybe, although that city has gotten worse over the years. I'd also toss in a vote for Philly.

SF sucks and I'm sorry you have to be there. I was there for literally 3 months before I couldn't stand it and moved away. Never hated a city that passionately in my life. I was also dead center in "young and broke but wanna live in the city" (the Mission), so maybe that contributed to my distaste.

Dallas is great if you grew up in the area. Not a good place for transplants.

Depends on where you live in SoCal, as that is a huge area we are talking about. Orange County suburbs is boring, but westside LA (Santa Monica down to Marina Del Rey) and Hollywood/WeHo are fairly urban, with a lot of stuff going on.

Jun 19, 2019

Why not Dallas for transplants?

Jun 4, 2019

+1 for Philly

Jun 4, 2019

Philly sucks. On the east coast, it's NYC or bust.

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Jun 6, 2019

No one ever believes me when I tell them Philly is a fun spot. They usually have a shitty impression of it from when they went to Wharton 5+ years ago but the city has come so far in the last 5-10 years. And if you make decent money here (which, to be fair, is often the challenge) you can live like a king.

Jun 4, 2019
chicandtoughness:

Atlanta maybe, although that city has gotten worse over the years.

In every imaginable way, Atlanta has improved "over the years." How do you think it has gotten worse?

Jun 16, 2019

Is Austin that bad? Im thinking of moving into Software Sales, and was thinking about moving there.

Jun 18, 2019

YMMV, really. I hate it and I would discourage folks from moving here if you have better options elsewhere. That said, there are obviously plenty of people who DO live here and get along just fine.

I guess in short, comparatively speaking it IS that bad. Looked at it in isolation, it's not horrible. Does that makes sense?

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

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Jun 4, 2019

Move to SD
- Cheaper
- Still decent job prospects
- Hotter women
- Better nightlife (I think?) and party people
- More conservatives
- More superficial / care about how they look and clothes they wear. In SF, this type of thing does not matter at all, which I prefer, but some people especially from the East or South don't like this

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Jun 5, 2019

Solution

Be like me and bring your own women (plural cuz she also has hot friends, which we all came from the same college) to SF. I moved to SF with a girlfriend.

I travel a lot domestically. And at least in the Western US, I'd rather live nowhere else than San Francisco or Hawaii. Places like Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver seem more one dimensional or boring to me to live. San Diego and North County is nice and reminds me of Hawaii but then I'd rather move back home. LA (Santa Monica to Koreatown) is ok. I'd rather live in SF though.

Solve the woman issue and money issue, and SF is great. I love cities with spontetity. Even seeing a homeless fellow doing his thing normally doesn't bother me.

BYOW, otherwise wouldn't be as good. But I'm of the age with kids so in a different mindset. My first few years in SF in the 2000s post college were awesome. The club scene has changed, gotten worse; but then again techno/house music is not my scene.

SF has changed. Mainly worse since the 2000s, due to tech and hipster culture. I liked the free spirit hippies and the finance centric SF world, but Silicon Valley and higher cost of living arrived 2010-2019. Hippies are gone. The most prominent building used to be 555 California (Finance companies), now its the Salesforce Tower. The old school broker-dealers are gone.

For finance in the West, SF is still the place to be either for HQ or regional office. Deep employment market.

BYOW sorry to emphasize. Some of my friends did ok though, but dating was rough and I heard complaints. Great schools in Berkeley and Stanford. Easy to travel to Hawaii and Asia.

Only other place I might like as much is NYC but haven't been there enough to really know if I like it better. I hate cold weather though.

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Jun 5, 2019

Talking to old school people, SF seemed awesome before the tech wave that began in late 00s/early 10s. It has beautiful natural scenery, decent weather, and back then, the city had a cool vibe. Supposedly (and this is hard to believe) there were also a lot of hot women back in those days

Jun 5, 2019

Try NYC, its really a great place for you to develop your career and its so globalized, you can meet lots and tonnes of interesting people from all over the world.

Jun 5, 2019

It sounds like you're king of the castle - why leave? If you go anywhere else you'll be playing on hard mode. Take advantage of your situation. You're in one of the best cities in the world for weather and outdoors activities, take advantage of that (the downside the the low girl:guy ratio, but that doesn't seem to be an issue for you). SF is a huge city, there are tons of people there that aren't autist beta's, seek out a better social circle. Take advantage of what you have, you will never have this kind of chance again.

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Jun 6, 2019

You should probably make a habit of stealing girls from those betas and teach them a lesson on masculinity. They are unsalvageable anyway, you might as well enjoy the time you are there, while you look for another place.

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Jun 6, 2019

Yuge duke guy eh

Jun 16, 2019

Have you considered Oakland? Closer than LA and would solve most of your problems. Wherever you go, get over people being too "ugly" for you. Much easier than changing cities.

Jun 16, 2019
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Jul 21, 2019