California Screaming: Why I hate living in the Bay Area

A Bay Area Million Dollar Mansion

File this one under “personal life” and “little to do with writing.” But, hey, I resolved a few months ago to be sincere and personal on this here blog, and this is what I’m currently dealing with so, here it goes…

I hate living in the Bay Area. I know. Whenever I say this, people tend to jump back in horror and disbelief, as though I’ve just said I don’t find fluffy, frolicking puppies the least bit cute and/or cuddly or that I’ve never watched TV. But that’s the truth of it, so there it is.

And it’s not that it isn’t beautiful, or that the culture doesn’t rock. I love all the quirky parts of San Francisco. I love walking the beaches of the Central Coast. I even like fact that Trick-or-Treating here has no set schedule. But, oy, what you must endure to stay here.

We moved here early in 2000, during the tech boom. I was newly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Absolutely No Job Market For It, and my husband, an engineer several times over, was recruited by one of Silicon Valley’s Fortune 500 companies to join their new college graduate program. (An aside: Turns out if you get a PhD in something useful, people will actually want to employ you. Wish someone had told me earlier, instead of that “study whatever you want, whatever interests you. If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” scam. Please, if you’re reading this and are either in the early stages of academic pursuit or have a child on that path, don’t feed them this bullshit. Yes, take a few classes in what interests you, but you better be sure your ass is getting a degree in Accounting or Material Science or even Education. College is not a place for you to broaden your mind, it’s a place for you to lay the foundation of a killer resumé. Don’t buy in to all that feel good “don’t worry about a major, just enjoy the experience” crap. Unless your family is wealthy or you’re truly a one-in-a-million person who will do well no matter what, you can’t squander hard earned money entertaining your intellect to earn a useless piece of paper. Books are for broadening your mind; college is for making you motherfricking employable. And don’t forget, all those student loans the government foists upon you need to be paid back. But I digress…)

I was reluctant to move to such a different part of the country. In the midst of the Tech Boom, however, Silicon Valley was a perfect place for my husband to grow his career. Back then, we said if we don’t like it, we’d just spend a year or two then move on to somewhere else. I started hating it about the third week in, when I was spending 6-8 hours a day visiting apartments in the area and couldn’t find one available for less than $2000. Back in those days, property managers were enjoying 95% occupancy rates and bringing in tons of money from the .com boomers, whose companies in turn were handing out signing bonuses like they were Kleenex. It took us six weeks of living in a hotel before we were finally able to find a two bedroom apartment we could afford with our pay. Which was twenty miles away from my job. Which, allowing for Silicon Valley traffic, meant I was spending 2-3 hours per day commuting in backups thicker than a polar bear’s fur.

Since back then, housing and weather has continued to be the bane of my existence. Yes, I actually hate Bay Area weather. Every day is so nice, natives take it for granted and don’t appreciate it. I want to slap a bagpipe when I hear audacious Californians complaining about how cold it is today (It’s only 50!) or how hard it’s “storming” (meaning there’s moderate steady rain and maybe a roll of thunder). The spoiled have no idea what a real storm is, when you wake up at 3 AM to the sound of sirens and have to run outside your house through horizontal rain, throw open the doors to your storm cellar, and hope it passes before the rats and spiders get too brave to sample the freshly-laid out buffet.

Several years ago we decided to move out of our underwater home (which lost over 100,000 in value when the housing bubble burst) to a rental in a town with good public schools, “saving” us $2000/month in private school tuition. The property manager assured us she had no intentions of selling, and that we could stay in the house for four years, i.e., long enough to get our older daughter through Ultra Competitive But Highly Recognized High School.  In exchange for her assurance (yes, which we STUPIDLY did not get in writing because, damn, we’re honest people and expect others to be as well), we agreed to do some minor repairs and upgrades in the rental house.

What happened next was my fault. This much, I will admit and take on myself. I know my husband; he’s not a half-ass type of guy. My plan was to repaint a few rooms and put new carpet in a small area of about 75 sq feet. Hub’s actions took three months of work (meaning we were renting the house for three months without actually living in it, while paying the mortgage on our underwater house) and costs $25,000. And, yup, you can guess what happened. As soon as we had the house all fixed up and livable (because it was a piece of crap before), the owner moved overseas, put the house on the market advertising all the upgrades we did, and made a huge profit.

And now, here we are. We’re at the end of our lease on a house that’s already slighted us. Again, we must find another rental so that my kids can finish out in their current schools. (Turns out UCBHRHS is very touchy about kids living in the district, to the point where they have several full time detectives on staff to follow up on tips saying people aren’t.) With the new wave of cash croppers bringing in their fortunes from Asia, Google, Facebook, and a handful of other companies you never heard of, it’s gotten to a point where people aren’t only bidding to buy a house, they’re bidding to rent, all with seamlessly endless supplies of cash. We’ve been looking for a new rental for months, and are out of time. Add to this that we have a small dog. Telling landlords in our area you have a dog is like telling an Ancient Phoenician innkeeper that you’re a leper.

We have finally been offered a house. Our rent is going up 50%. My mom’s annual total mortgage payment back in Michigan runs about $4000. My monthly rent will be more than my Mom’s annual mortgage by half. You do the math.

So, yes, I hate living in the Bay Area and I hate the Life Californian. But I feel for the stability of my children I’m obligated to stay here until they finish their high school educations. The day after my younger child finishes high school, I will be packing a moving truck and getting the hell out of here. Me and the dog. Four years, 9 months, and counting….

55 Comments  to  California Screaming: Why I hate living in the Bay Area

  1. Brea Essex says:

    Ugh, I am so sorry! I’ve lived here practically my whole life, and I hate the housing costs (among many other things). I really hope things improve for you guys soon.

  2. lisakenny1 says:

    Aaaah, I feel for you 100%! I wouldn’t move, he can’t kick you out even if your lease is up its very hard if you stand your ground till you find something and he should have to compensate you for the work you’ve done on the place if not I’d trash it and put it back the way it was!

  3. Ouch. That’s just harsh. I thought things were bad here – the job market sucks sewer water and rental prices are climbing – but the cost of living is still low, the air clean (usually, though fire season can be rough) and the crime rate is low. I commend you for sticking in as long as you have and for continuing to do so until your children finish school.

  4. Julie S. says:

    I completely understand what you mean. I grew up in the Bay Area, my parents still live there. I escaped to Houston 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    I’ve lived in California my whole life and the Bay Area is no longer the Bay Area that I used to love, it’s full of pompous arrogant self-entitled asses who work at all these tech companies and think they are soooo important, and cause all of the prices of apartments to be jacked up. I’m trying to start up a life with my Fiancé, and I want afford a decent wedding and have kids before I get old and get mistaken for their grandma, when I can finally afford to have them. I blame the rise of all of these tech companies, which by the way are too cheep to hire permanent employees and they first hire these out of country people who don’t mind paying $2000 a month for 1 bedrooms apartments because hell, they are only here temporarily so they can save their money to send back to their families outside of America. I’m just frustrated because I’m now having to look again for affordable living because our rent got jacked up to match the stupid bay area prices, which is why we f–in moved all the way to Fremont to begin with!

    • Alex says:

      I understand what you mean. Fremont rent prices are also sky-rocketing in the last year. Fremont used to offer reasonable rents, but that changed late last year as well. I moved to Orange County instead.

    • Lorraine says:

      So true! Our rent is $3300 and climbing,, but pay is the same as ever. LOWEST for the cost of living. We need rent control so bad. Too many landlords abuse people who need to stay.
      Hurts the local businesses because we cant buy stuff anymore. So sad.

  6. Jimbo Baugh says:

    Yeah, you tell me boss. Even living in the hood in the Bay Area is too expensive.

  7. pleasegohome says:

    You and your husband are the reason the bay area sucks now! So leave! Thank you!

    • Killian says:

      You know, my first impulse was to delete this, but I’d be interested to hear your views on the subject. Please, elaborate.

      • John says:

        And, not surprisingly, pleasegohome has nothing more to say. Typical Bay Area moron. All bark….no bite.

        • Killian says:

          Not to say they’re a moron. I totally get the passion. For a native Californian, it must be like they’re being invaded. But as a native Detroiter, I also understand the far worse reality of what the opposite of the Bay Area looks like.

          • counting the days till i leave says:

            Amy’s comment is spot on. As another Bay Area native who left for 5 year and came back 8 months ago, I am one month away from leaving for good and never looking back. It barely feels or resembles the place I grew up, traffic, smog, cost of living and all callous smugness.

  8. Lorraine says:

    I hate it to,, too many greedy landlords jacking up the already high rents for no reason.. My husband is in Biotechnology and he is not paid half what the techy’s make so we live month to month on what ever, no vacations, no savings.
    Sigh,,, I hear you loud and clear, Employers so quick to fire anyone for any reason and no seasons to look forward to. Just boring dry dust for air. I HATE it. I hope a huge earthquake comes and swallows it up whole!

    • Beth says:

      I had a good laugh at your “earthquake” remark…I used to hope the same thing. Now I’m just counting down my days to get out of here.

  9. Charity Chimni says:

    I am with you a 100%. We lived in the bay area for 4 years and then had to get out! The cost of living is waaaay too much and like your picture on the post, you pay a million dollars for a rat’s nest. Traffic is crazy and I hate the pissing rain. Before we moved, it rained every day in Feb. It was crazy. The storms in Texas are worse than Ca, but at least it rains and then stops and we see the sun lol. And I definitely don’t miss the worry of earth quakes in the back of your mind all the time. And To get a good school district you have to pay out of your nose for housing, and then still pour outrageous amounts of money into the school… Good luck on the move plans. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel!

    • Killian says:

      In defense of the rain, we could use a hefty amount. There were a total of two rain major rain systems last winter, meaning it only rained about 4-5 days the whole winter. The reservoirs are almost empty. I guess here it’s feast or famine as they say.
      P.S. That picture isn’t merely hyperbole. That was an actual 995K listing in Palo Alto at the original time I wrote this post.

      • Charity Chimni says:

        Yup the property prices are outrageous in Bay area! When we moved to Tx in 2008, we bought a house for $170k which would have cost us well over a million in the Bay area. and the schools are so much better here. LOL. Good luck with the countdown!

      • Marta Ortiz says:

        Lol, I’m about to have my first child and want to leave before they start school, maybe sooner. Your blog and all these posts are so refreshing! Thank you for being honest!!

  10. Hatethebay says:

    I hate bay area as well.moved here 6 months back.I travel 100mi to and from work,no joke..

  11. herbert says:

    i travel to the bay area all the time from the east coast and i cannot figure out why people are so drawn to this city chock full of mediocrity. your story is sad and i hope things improve for you and the family. stay strong!!

  12. SanFranrippo says:

    I am so sorry about your plight! Hang in there.
    We recently got the heck out of there after 4 years of the
    Bay Area nonsense.

    Moved back to the east coast, thankfully.

    • letscalmdown says:

      I was wondering that since you’ve moved out already, how did you come across this blog? Were you still searching for “I hate Bay Area”? Amazing.

  13. Anthony says:

    It looks like I’m a little late to this party, but yes to all of it. I had brief stints in the East Bay twice, one in 2011 and one recently in 2014. I was alarmed by how much things seemed to have changed in even those three years. The techies have now fully invaded from the South (San Jose) and turned SF into a bedroom community, and now dominate the East Bay up through Oakland and even Richmond. I am also on the writing/politics side of things, and wow is it hard to do that out there now. Not only is rent a huge problem, along with proving an insane monthly income to even apply for places, but what used to be the most progressive and politically-charged Left area seems to have been captured by startup/wild west capitalist mantra. Don’t get me wrong, people are still Democrats…whatever that means now. But it’s certainly not Harvey Milk’s Bay Area anymore. I am also a midwesterner (Illinois) and I got really tired of how people reacted when I “admitted” that. The “why would anyone live anywhere that isn’t California” act gets so old so fast. Hang in there, you will make it out. I for one am happy to be back in “flyover” territory where life is affordable and people are friendlier, less competitive, and less full of their own shit. Good job on posting this, it takes courage to be honest about disliking it out there.

    • Killian says:

      Frankly, I think those of us from “flyover” territories would prefer they stay that way. On one hand, I understand people fleeing California, but then many show up in Oregon, Washington or Texas and try to remake the California experience there. I feel badly for those people having to deal with California expats.

  14. Beth says:

    I agree with you 100%. Moved here from MI last August (husband got a promotion) and STILL hate it. Everyone keeps saying, “Give it time, they say it takes 18 months to get used to a move.”, “The weather is so much better here.”, “Treat it like it’s an adventure!”, blah blah blah. I live in SF and work in Oakland, so it’s even worse. 🙁 I’m not in my 20’s anymore, so it’s not like I can just go out and “make friends”. It’s a constant battle for me not to leave my husband and move back home because I’m so miserable. What makes it even worse, is that he’s as happy as he can be (tells me all the time) and has no intention of moving back.
    And the attitude! I’m surprised you’re not receiving death threats! lol I once made a comment about not liking the food here in SF and some idiot commented that I should “leave California…now”. They’re so moronic and defensive. Pleasegohome is a prime example!

    • Killian says:

      Similar issue with us. My husband LOVES it here. He went to school in the 90s at Stanford, and jumped at an opportunity to move back. I’ve never warmed up to it. Don’t get me wrong: there are some great things about California in general, but the Bay Area is its own pot of crazy. And yes, about the defensiveness. I’ve run into a share of Californians (native or acclimated) who, when they find out you don’t think the BA is the greatest place in the world, chalk it up to the assumption that there’s something wrong with you.

    • Vesta Hera says:

      “Everyone keeps saying, “Give it time, they say it takes 18 months to get used to a move.”, “The weather is so much better here.”, “Treat it like it’s an adventure!”, blah blah blah. I live in SF and work in Oakland, so it’s even worse. 🙁 I’m not in my 20’s anymore, so it’s not like I can just go out and “make friends”. It’s a constant battle for me not to leave my husband and move back home because I’m so miserable. What makes it even worse, is that he’s as happy as he can be (tells me all the time)”

      OMG are you.. me? I don’t remember writing the above! Seriously, though… you sound exactly like me. I HATE it when people say “give it 18 months, treat it like an adventure”… I’ve been here a year and my heart hasn’t changed one bit. And no, it’s not an adventure. I am stuck in my job because I can’t get a job anywhere else no matter how many resumes I send out. I’m also not in my 20s anymore and I traded a big house in another state for a tiny 1 bedroom apartment, twice my mortgage!
      I have been thinking of leaving my husband on a daily basis. He loves it here. He has an awesome job. I am just here to stay by his side at this point. But we got into another argument today. I really want to leave. I really do and I am so miserable here.
      Yeah, people really react badly when you tell them that you don’t like this area.

      • Beth says:

        I hope things will get better for you. I finally got a job I actually like, which has helped enormously, but I still can’t wait to gtf out of this area. Funny thing: My husband finally sees the BA for the cesspool that it is and can’t wait to get out of here now! January 2018 baby! I just hope I can hang in here until then 🙁

        • letscalmdown says:

          Good luck on your move, now that your husband also agrees that you’re living in a cesspool.I feel for you.. January 2018 it is!!!! Only 26 more months to go.Amen.

          Please make sure you educate people wherever life takes you, that what a cesspool and full of s**t bay area is, so that they never consider moving here.

          • letscalmdown says:

            Excuse my math. It’s actually only 14 months. I thought the move out date is January 2019. More power to you.

  15. Louise says:

    My story is a bit different, I grew up in bay area – SF and Peninsula – in 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when it was a great and wonderful place to be. Moved out in 80’s for job transfer and now in retirement would like to go ‘home ‘. Well, as you can imagine, can’t afford to go home. And boy, is it a different place! Resent that I can’t go home and resent that it is not the place I know. I left my heart in San Francisco and it is broken for what it has become.

    • Killian says:

      I can imagine. Honestly, my dream would be to move back to Michigan, but it has the opposite problem. Too few jobs, a declining standard of living, and a crumbling infrastructure and future prospects.

  16. Boxo Hero says:

    I find solace in reading about other seemingly rare birds that dislike the Bay Area. I’ve been in San Francisco for seven years with my significant other and ironically the people we like the most here are native San Franciscans (another rare bird). I often say San Francisco is easily one of the most conservative places in America; obviously not by a political definition, but because if you’re not an extreme leftist or technocrat then you’re a pariah. We can’t bare to be here more than another year, and even if we could, we couldn’t afford it.

    Its great you’re staying for your children, if one thing can be said for the Bay Area its that many of the schools, at all levels, are top notch. Thankfully, the end is probably near for our stay in San Francisco. Maybe we’ll pass by one another during a trip from our affordable homes to a relatively inexpensive dinner night somewhere in the vast Midwest.

  17. kris says:

    i guess i bounce back and forth on this one.. i like the warm weather year round.. i love the redwoods, the oceans, the clean air and the hills…

    on the other hand i am SICK of hearing about the latest gadgets like they are some type of messiah that’s going to save me.. and when i don’t buy into the hype– being ostracized.. i don’t care that someone took a PDA and combined it with a cell phone and a camera .. i admit.. i bought a smart phone.. but i don’t care about it that much!!! i’m not in love with my laptop! i don’t pick my outfits based on what the latest apple billboard dancing kids are wearing.. oh wait they’re always neon silhouettes.. well you know what i mean..

    i’m sick of people who move here and think they are going to MAKE IT BIG. i know some of them do.. but why am i obligated to give a shit? just like i watched the dot com bubble burst.. and then come back.. then i watched the housing bubble burst.. and then come back.. it’s on and on.. when things are good people think THINGS ARE GOING TO BE GOOD FOREVER.. WE’RE ALL RICH BECAUSE OF THE INTERNET… that was the late 90’s.. then the housing bubble burst and WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE BROKE FOREVER.. ALL OUR HOUSES ARE WORTH NOTHING.. except somehow a lot of the bay area escaped this problem.. well.. now it seems there’s some new wave of the dot com gold rush.. WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE RICH FOREVER BECAUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA SITES!!!!

    i can’t listen to it anymore.. some kid copies myspace and people think he’s einstein.. i admit.. i like to “google it” but i can’t stand the cult thing of these companies.. i grew up here and refused to major in computer science.. i bet if i grew up anywhere else in the country i would have been curious about comp science.. but there’s just too much of it here.. it’s non stop.. i don’t want a watch that tells me how much rem sleep i had.. i might want one if it weren’t MANDATORY. … if i weren’t branded a moron for not wanting one..

    it’s all advertising.. a lot of the companies here get most of their money from advertising.. you click on their site and they get ad money.. that’s just like the entertainment industry.. radio, tv, they get boatloads of money from advertising, and now same with the internet.. so yea hollywood people act like they are geniuses too.. but in such a different way.. we’re like the “intellectual hollywood” who pretends it’s not just a nerdy version of entertainment.. i watch “youtube videos” because i’m a genius and super into social satire.. it gets a little old.. we didn’t reinvent the wheel.. i’m glad media is more accessible to everyone.. less censorship.. more freedom of speech.. but the portlandia episode where she has to declare social bankruptcy… it was nice to see that happens in places OTHER THAN JUST THE BAY AREA… AAAAAHHH… i mostly unplugged.. i admit it…

    HELP…

    no matter what happens.. i always love the fact that i can go on my cell phone and search for an answer for most questions i have.. like today.. when i was wondering if anyone else in the world ever hates the bay area.. and i found you lovely people.. OH THE IRONY…

    also.. i lived in illinois until i was 8.5.. and i had to go back there for summers.. and went back for college for a couple years.. so that makes me qualified to say i have hated both types of places.. and also loved both places 😀 it’s good to vent though!

  18. Jada says:

    Hi, I moved to the bay area with my husband in 2003 from Atlanta due to his job. I’ve never liked the bay area for all the reasons you mentioned. In addition, I find people to be rude. Even in the health care field where I work, I find that most people lack compassion, and caring for others. it’s much different from what I was used to in Georgia. I am hoping to move also. Good luck to you with all your plans, and thanks for sharing your opinions

  19. Beth says:

    I work in the health care field as well and agree that it is much different here. The majority of the people want to do the least amount of work, yet get paid top dollar. Their work ethic is terrible! And yes, people here are not very friendly…too busy staring at their phones to look up and say “hi”.
    All the “tech hype”? So tired of being inundated with all the ads of the latest and greatest app. With all that being said, I must admit I am liking the fact that there are many things to do and the weather is nice. Can’t afford to retire here though, so pretty soon it will be “PEACE OUT!” Overall, I’ll be glad to start a new chapter somewhere far from here. Just not sure if I’ll be able to handle the cold of the midwest again…

  20. Martin says:

    I totally feel you. I hate bay area, too. However, most jobs are here for what I study. Sometimes, I just wanted to run out of this crap and start new life in another cheaper state. Although the pay is lower, but it is a sensible choice! Regardless of how my friends keep on saying how nice the weather is and how good the pay here is, fxxx all those bullshi!

  21. MW says:

    I moved here in 2014 with my husband for his residency and I hate it here too 🙁 we are from Michigan… We have 6 more years of residency.

    • letscalmdown says:

      MW, I heard that doctors get paid considerably higher in the rural midwestern areas because they have a shortage of highly skilled physicians? Imagine no traffic, no overpriced homes, no full of shit people, flat land for miles, cheap gas, and, FOUR F’ING SEASONS. Since your husband is also going for a fellowship after his 3 years of residency, he can pretty much move anywhere he wants to. if I were you, I’ll be over the moon with joy. I have tremendous respect for this profession. Hopefully your husband will be able to say no to 350K plus salary he will be offered here after his residency.

  22. Marta Ortiz says:

    I agree with you 100%. It’s just not worth it unless you can wipe your ass with cash.

  23. Lindsey says:

    Hi,

    I am so sorry you feel this way and I just wanted to tell I can relate on so many levels! I moved to the Bay Area almost two years ago, also for my husband’s career. I had just graduated school with a degree I didn’t know I would not be able to find a job in.. I spent a year and a half working a minimum wage job (I have a masters degree in social work, and was told throughout school I would always have a job, bullshit!) while applying for every social work position I could find. Nothing. I finally gave up the stressful hunt and began pursuing home baking just to help with extra income. We had to sell our other car when we moved to the city because we couldn’t afford to have two. So, fast forward to now.. We live in the ghetto of Oakland because it’s all we could afford and now i find out we’re pregnant! Although I’m ecstatic, I worry about our child’s future. I absolutely hate living here. We will never be able to afford to buy a home, have our own yard, or save any money. I seriously don’t understand why people like living here. The cost of living is so ridiculous and for what????? I have tried to make it work here and every time we turn around, I feel like it’s another sign that we should just move back to the south where both our families are.

    • Vesta Hera says:

      I think that it might just be this area. You should be able to find a job with a MSW just about anywhere else. I am stuck in tech in this area and I do want out. The problem is that I send off dozens of resumes to other places around here and I don’t even get a call back. I have a PhD for crying out loud! Am I really competing against hundreds of other PhDs? Mine is from a state school outside of CA and I guess I am competing against people who are coming out of Stanford and Berkeley.
      This place is so competitive and everyone is fighting each other for a job the way hungry animals fight for crumbs of food. It’s awful. I knew this place was expensive but didn’t understand how expensive and competitive it was until I moved here. What a huge disappointment. I feel like I’ve been scammed… Scamafornia Bay Area.
      Congrats on your pregnancy, btw! Hang in there.

  24. Omar says:

    Dropping by to say I fucking hate this place. Bay Area native but the older I get the more I hate it, cant wait until I graduate college so I can haul ass out of here and go to the midwest or Alaska. Theres no future for young people in this state unless theyre tech yuppies

  25. M. says:

    Crazy to think that this thread started over three years ago and yet the issues besieging all of us have only worsened. The unfettered “wild west capitalist” greed, insane competition, congestion, traffic, displacement, soaring living costs, H1B worker invasion, smug, calloused inhumanity of the most arrogant douches in the world; list continues ad nauseam. The infrastructure was not built to sustain this population. Gyms are packed all hours of the day; so much for working out to “clear your head.” Hidden gems are discovered, go viral, hit critical mass, and suddenly you’ve got lines around the block, full parking lots and gladiatorial bidding wars. There’s no escaping it. Used to be that you could hop on over to Alameda County, the “sunny side of the bay.” Well now it’s the fastest growing county with the fastest-shrinking black population. I grew up in sleepy Seattle; moved to SF in ’05, left in ’06, returned in ’09, left for the East Coast in ’14 and vowed never to return, then had to a year-and-a-half later. The stuff that drove me nuts has only been amplified… by orders of magnitude. I’m in constant awe of the natural beauty here, love the regional parks and hiking opportunities, met a girl I fell in love with, and yet find myself miserable 4/7 days a week, lamenting why everything has to be a death match fight for every last little resource. But she’s a native and is firmly rooted here for the next 3-4 years.

  26. Atul Lall says:

    Hi I’m super late to this party and don’t know if anyone even reads this blog anymore, but I just thought I share my 2 cents. I’m a CA native born & raised here, and I’ve lived all my life here… AND BOY DOES CALI SUCK HARD NOW! As far as the sentiment of ‘pleasegohome’ I can understand where that person is coming from, however I don’t fully agree with that person’s rudeness.

    CA today is mainly populated by 3 kinds people:

    1) Mexican/Hispanic immigrants (both legal/nonlegal)

    2) H1B immigrants mainly from India or China – they’re part of the reason the rent is so high

    3) People like yourself… Individuals/families with an engineer or someone who works in the tech field that wants to be part of Silicon Valley to further their career, or to get the high salaries paid here and who thinks CA is just full of rainbows and sunshine -you’re the other reason rent in CA is so high.

    Honestly, native Californians like myself and people like “pleasgohome” are fed up of people moving here from out of state/the midwest/east coast just so they be in the sunshine or in be part of SV. This is nothing personal against you or anyone else, it’s just that your migration here is what everyone else out there is doing; which in turn raises the demand for housing/public services/education etc. and thus increases the rent prices and cuts resources in half. I don’t understand why other states don’t try harder to create their own Silicon Valley’s, rather sending their own skilled laborers here.

    The other issues there are far too many people from other countries (mainly Indian and Chinese) who come here and don’t mind paying $3k/month to rent a shit hole one bedroom apartment while having 10 roommates because it’s still a step up from the country they came from. Plus most of these people don’t expect to stay here and just save their money and send it back home – the other reason our rent/cost of living is so high in CA. The other bad side is that most of jobs go to these people because they’ll work for less and demand less perks/benefits.

    Now, I don’t blame either group of people for looking for a better way of life, and I love the diversity… However, I think it’s hilarious how many people move here and then complain about how CA is, when their migrations here is the very reason things have become the way they are. CA simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to support the absurd amount of migration that’s taking place… It’s not like the sun doesn’t shine anywhere else in the world!

    In order for CA to go back to what it once was, 4 things need to happen in particular order:

    1) Out of towner’s need to leave for somewhere else and make wherever they move to just as prosperous/desirable; which will mean that there will be many other nice places to live other than CA. Less demand = less inflation.

    2) Immigration and hiring foreigners over skilled American workers needs to curtail and stop altogether for a while at least… Especially for foreigners who even don’t live/reside in CA, but buy up the property here and creating bidding wars.

    3) The tech giants like Apple/Google/Facebook need to move to other states and need to be regulated. If you have all the giants in one location, you’re just asking for problems.

    4) Landlords need to have rent control placed on them.

    That stuff aside, I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, the same is happening to everyone here. I know it offers little consolation, but at least you’re not alone on the sinking ship that is CA. One thing I didn’t get was why you decided to remodel/upgrade a place that you were renting and didn’t own? In CA, there’s a rule of thumb… If you don’t own it, don’t bother touching it.

    As a native Californian, this place is not even close to what it used to be. I agree with you that rent is outrageous, and for what? To be stuck in a dirty overcrowded smog infested dump, so you can sit in traffic for half the day and never see your family because you’re always working overtime to pay off the million dollar shack you just sold your kidney for!
    I resisted leaving CA because of all my family ties here and because I also work in the tech field. I’m 36 now and I haven’t progressed moving forward in my life –like buying a home, getting married, or having kids all because I’m running this awful BA rat race, yet I never seem to make any progress and instead only just get by from month to month.

    Well enough is enough! I too am done with CA. I want to own a home one day, not rent a room for $5k/month and live with 4 other families for the rest of my life. I want to find a down to earth wholesome woman to marry and have kids with, which seems impossible with all the self-absorbed spoiled girls in SV with a princess complex. The level of asshole, entitled douchebag and smugness in SV is appalling. Most of these jokers don’t even have the balls to back up what comes out of their mouths, and have never thrown a punch outside of their gaming chairs.

    I commend you for hanging in there as long as you have, but do leave CA soon for a better and more wholesome life. Because CA’s gov and population refuse to wake up, I will take my skills and tax money elsewhere and contribute it to another state.

    CA is a dying state and it’s becoming severely gentrified. CA has an energy crisis, the roads are horrendous, the traffic is miserable, it has no water, it’s over populated, it’s the highest taxed state in the US across all variables; and it costs more to live here than anywhere else in the US, but you get the least amount back for what you sacrifice here. In 10-15 years time CA will be known as one of the worst places to live, and the tech giants won’t even be here anymore.

    I hope both of us make it out soon, and I wish you and your family all the best- stay strong and out CA behind you.

    • Killian says:

      Actually, this still remains my most hit on/commented on article. Given that I wrote it three years ago, I think that speaks to something.

      I think if I wrote it today, I would be more careful to distinguish California from the Bay Area. The BA isn’t, I feel, representative of the state as a whole, and the state itself is huge, with a plethora of regions, each with its own culture, strengths, and challenges. I don’t think anyone can argue with the idea that the population increase is out-strapping the infrastructure, but that’s also a symptom of mismanagement on the part of the state government. i.e. There hasn’t been a new reservoir built in almost 40 years, a span of time during which the population has increased from approximately 20 million to 40 million.

      I also agree that with the current state of infrastructure and housing, such growth cannot be sustained. While the population growth rate has decreased as a whole, the “turnover” has increased dramatically. It’s clearly reaching a tipping point. In fact, at my day job (sadly, writing still doesn’t pay the bills) we keep losing out on candidates because they refuse to live in a place where they won’t be able to afford a home or because the cost to rent is too high to allow them to take time from their careers to have children. (My post didn’t touch on the cost of child care in the area, but that’s also a crisis, with some high quality centers charging more per month than the insanely high rental or mortgage payments.)

      It’s a complex problem that will require complex solutions. I assure you, there are other areas of the country and of the world that are trying to siphon off companies and workers from Silicon Valley, and some are starting to have success (i.e. Austin, Portland, Dubai, Upstate New York), but sadly, this is still the place to be if you want to be in the depth of the game. I wish it weren’t so. I would leave tomorrow if I could. I’ve been luckier than most. After many years of renting (in the span of the five years I was renting in PA, my rent increased from $1900 to $6500), we were finally able to pull enough money together to buy. There’s a tradeoff, of course. Now, instead of a 10 minute car commute or a 20 minute bike ride to my day job, it’s an 1.5-2 hour/way commute and private school for my younger daughter. For my daughter’s stability, I’m planning on remaining here until she gets out of high school. After that, I don’t know what possible reason I would have to stay.

    • Vesta Hera says:

      “The tech giants like Apple/Google/Facebook need to move to other states and need to be regulated. If you have all the giants in one location, you’re just asking for problems.”

      I came here because this was the only place where I could get a job. I work in high tech and sent out dozens of resumes. Unfortunately, it is what it is and while I would have loved to have stayed where I was living before (where I was a homeowner), I could not find a job there… nothing comparable to what the SV has.

      Many of us come here to pad our resumes and leave. I wish companies would open up in places like Detroit or other areas that need building up. What about opening up companies in Stockton so that they can recover from bankruptcy and get cleaned up? Unfortunately (and I don’t know why), companies seem to only want to open up shop here in the SV. I wish It was different and I am sorry for what this area has become.

  27. Jon says:

    The SF bayarea is also well know for its incredibly rotten, pompous, arrogant, self centered, rude, clueless unskilled drivers. Be it the asshats in their BMWs and Audis who can’t operate their overpriced machines in a respectable manner, to the wayward Prius crowd whose either tailgating you or going 55 in the fast lane. Then there’s the growing number cretins who drive without their headlights on in the pitch black, and the idiots who won’t dim their frigging high beams. I actually used to enjoy driving, but that was a long time ago. There are other reasons why I hate the bayarea, and hopefully I’ll be able to say adios, in a few years, to this grossly overrated and even more so grossly overpriced community.

  28. Vesta Hera says:

    As I mentioned before, I really really really hate this area. I’ve been here a year and I am suffering from depression. “Scamafornia”… I work in one of the tech companies and not only do I hate corporate America but I hate the cost of living and paying $2500 / month for a crappy apartment in the east bay because it’s cheaper than living across the Dumbarton. Fuck this place. I want to leave as soon as my lease is up at the end of the month but my husband, who has a great job here, wants to stay another year.
    Overrated is an understatement.
    I FUCKING HATE THIS FUCKING OVERRATED PLACE!!!!!

    • letscalmdown says:

      I, too, hope that you “leave as soon as” possible and both of you find great jobs in the place from where you originally migrated. It must be hard living here every day filled with so much hatred. This is not healthy. There are other great places for tech jobs including Portland, Denver, Houston, Austin, Dallas, Philly metro area, New York city, Chicago, DC metro area, Raleigh, Charlotte, most Virginia and many, many more. Please look into these and take your pick. Move before these places also become “fucking overrated” places like the Bay Area. You can remind your husband, if needed, that there are much more important things in life other than a “great job” and you need to move ASAP.

  29. Casey says:

    I Googled “I hate the Bay Area” and landed here. So sorry to hear all of your stories; I feel exactly the same way, sadly.

    I am a transplant who moved to California after graduating from a fancy East Coast college; I moved here because 1) I received several job offers in tech (I’m on the business side, not engineering) and 2) all the cool kids seemed to be moving to the Bay Area. Worst mistake of my life. Fast forward a few months and I am completely sick of the disgusting traffic, eye-gouging cost of living, and smug attitude of everyone who lives here. I live on the Peninsula, but despite my tech pay, my rent eats up so much of my income, even with two roommates. The drivers are terrible, and everyone who’s lived here for a week or more acts like they own the place. (I feel so bad for you native Californians!)

    I’m also in shock that anyone would call San Francisco a global city. It’s dirty and has the infrastructure of a third-world capital. (No offense meant to third-world cities; they are much more vibrant than money-infested SF.) My car was recently towed in SF for blocking part of a driveway (it couldn’t have been more than an inch or two); I paid $550 dollars in municipal and towing fees to get it back, plus $110 for my parking citation. This was a huge burden for me, a tech worker. How would a low- or moderate-income person be able to afford having their car towed by the meter maids? I am very liberal but am appalled that this “progressive” city is such a dump, run by greedy politicians who profess solidarity with the working class but stick their head in the sand instead of trying to forge policies that tackle the city’s extreme inequality.

    I agree with other posters that people like me moving here is a huge problem. I would have gladly stayed on the East Coast had I been given the option to work in New York or Boston. Do all engineers or finance people or HR folks at these companies really need to be in the Bay Area? These “innovators” make the world so interconnected – couldn’t they spread workers across the country and run their businesses / hold meetings via the so-called “groundbreaking” technologies they’ve created?

    I feel bad for all of the Californians who will never be able to afford a home in the towns they grew up in. I don’t know who’s to blame. I just know that my friends in Boston, Philly, D.C. and Charlotte have comparable salaries and are much happier – and wealthier – than I am here in the Bay Area.

    Good luck, folks. We really need it here in the Bay Area.

  30. Thecityisbs says:

    I stumbled upon this tonight after talking to a friend that is visiting SF right now from TX. I am opposite of most posters as I did leave CA 6 hrs ago. Native Bay Area resident who literally decided to move. Like throw a dart at the map and buy a house and move. I had a unique situation as my husband and I at the ripe age of 29 were expecting our 3rd…yes 3rd child. (This alone should have had us ran out of the Bay Area with pitch forks) and I had already established a work from home gig in our short stint in FL when my husband was attending flight school(helicopters). We knew we could never afford to live in a non shithole with at the least – decent schools for our three girls. So my husband finished school in 2010 with zero job prospects. And by zero I mean he would apply for anything even a delivery driver job and promptly be contacted by a Nigerian prince. In 2010 it was bleak for probably anyone but more so if you didn’t have a tech background. So I did research found the lowest cost of living combined with the highest employment rate and freaking moves. Left all family behind and moved. My husband didn’t even have a job. It was terrifying but liberating. Fast forward 6 yrs our family income has more than doubled and we make 6 figures and have a home that we paid $100gs for. It can be done people. It takes courage and sacrifice but you can get the fuck out of the Bay Area. I have never regretted it one damn day.

  31. letscalmdown says:

    Bay area is not a place if you are living paycheck to paycheck. There are other places where you can do that and still have a decent living standard. If I was this sad and miserable in my current living situation, I would move the f out! There are jobs in places other than California. Has anybody started applying for jobs in flyover states yet?!?! It’s not going to happen if you don’t make an effort. Actually it’s better for both the influx and out-flux states’ economies if people move.

    On a side note, California celebrates it’s diversity and cultures, but unfortunately I see people here who really harbor strong hatred for mexicans/indians/chinese/other immigrants living in the bay area. I would suggest educating your kids and getting them a useful college degree, so that tech companies don’t have to hire outside workers. No pains, no gains. We all are very different and have our own liking and expectations. But we should still be able to respect that and live together. That’s what makes this country great.

Your two cents appreciated: