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Old 02-26-2014, 11:37 AM
 
49 posts, read 51,050 times
Reputation: 72

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Hi Everyone,

I was recently offered a good job in San Francisco and am strongly considering making a move up to the area. I know there have been a million LA vs. SF threads, but I was hoping that I could get some advice/input tailored to my own situation. Unfortunately, I only have another 2-3 days to make this decision, so I'm really on a tight deadline for what would be a life-altering decision.

Background: A little bit about me - I'm a 26 years old, Asian-American male who currently lives in LA. I've been living here for the past 3.5-4 years now. I graduated from law school last June and am currently working at a law firm. For simplicity's sake, let's just assume that the jobs between LA/SF are reasonably comparable career opportunities. Granted, I'm aware that the significantly higher COL in SF will be a hit, but I'm also taking into account the value of an opportunity to move to SF with a good job (which is difficult to get in the SF legal market). I also have a dog (a 1.5 year old lab).

My Experience in LA: I am originally from Seattle, born and raised. I love that city but I've always wanted to live/start a career in a major metropolitan market, so I moved to CA. Honestly, I hated LA at first, for 1.5-2 years. It was a very difficult city for me to become accustomed to. Each year I've lived in a different neighborhood in LA, so I've had a good spectrum of experiences - Los Feliz, Downtown, Santa Monica, West Hollywood. Over time, I've grown to like LA more and more. Here are a few of my Pros/Cons about life in LA:

- GOOD:
- Weather - I love the sun, the beaches (even though I don't get to go to them often).
- Cool factor - I've been to events out here, some entertainment related/some not, that I don't know I could ever have gone to in any other city. LA has a certain "cool" factor to it for me, there are so many things to do/see that are unique to this city.
- Variety - I love the options. Have never once said "I'm bored" out here.
- The people are beautiful.
- *My life is here* - this might be the biggest PRO to LA. I've spent the last 4 years building a life/network of friends out here. I do know people in SF but it would be basically starting a new life for me. I'm a little scared to completely uproot myself from life as I know it down here in LA.

- BAD:
- It's not a city - it's a collection of cities/giant neighborhoods. It's never felt like a city to me out here, and I love the city life (which is more similar to life in Seattle, on a smaller scale of course!)
- The people - they're not good people. That's a generalization of course, and I've managed to find good people in the mix, but for the most part, the people are not great. Not like people in Seattle. Things are also pretty ethnocentric here - it's very diverse in LA but minority groups tend to self-select into their own areas and hang with their own circles. For an example, I'm good friends with a Persian Jewish classmate out here. When I hang out with him and his friends, I'm not only the only Asian in the group but I'm the only non-Persian Jewish person in the group.
- Dating - I've had mixed experiences as a straight male. The women out here are beautiful but dating isn't easy. They're flakey/sometimes hard to approach/are far more shallow. In the time I've lived here, I've only had one serious relationship, which lasted for almost a year.
- Long-term outlook: While I like LA and how fun it is, I'm not sure I want to stay here long-term. It's hard for me to say, but I do feel like I haven't set "roots" down in this city after living here for so many years, and that's a bit of a red flag to me.

San Francisco: Based on what I've seen/experienced and what I've read about SF, I think I'd really enjoy it/the people. Would be a much more familiar fit with Seattle. Another huge factor is that this may be a one-time-only shot for me to have a chance to live in SF with a decent job. I've spoken to many other attorneys from the area who have told me how bad the SF legal market is and they've all suggested I take the job up there. If I let this opportunity go, I don't know if I'd have another similar opportunity come up in the near future, or maybe ever.

Sorry for the very long post, but I guess I'm trying to ask for advice about whether I should leave LA for SF, or stay in LA. I'm having a very difficult time making the decision and would love to hear your thoughts!!
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:11 PM
 
49 posts, read 51,050 times
Reputation: 72
Sorry, any way a MOD can move this to the general CA forum? Didn't mean to post it in the specific SF section cuz I'd love to hear thoughts of people from LA too.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:22 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
91,025 posts, read 87,719,105 times
Reputation: 98289
NorCal is a little more like Seattle in that many people are into enjoying the outdoors: hiking, beaches, redwoods, boating. People are more laid back, and it's a more intellectual environment generally, than LA.

Most lawyers practicing in SF don't live in the city. They live across the Bay or north of SF in Marin County. The easier commute is to the East Bay, because of the BART rail line. Berkeley and Oakland are good for dating and entertainment. LOTS of Asians around! Fremont, just south of Oakland, and on the BART line, is Asian central, just fyi. South Asian and East Asian, recent immigrants mostly, due to the tech sector in San Jose. Berkeley and Oakland are mostly American-born Asians, and Asian foreign students at UC Berkeley.

Did you have your heart set on living in SF? We can explore that, too.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:27 PM
 
49 posts, read 51,050 times
Reputation: 72
I don't have my heart set on SF but I think I'd like it and am really open to the idea. If I did move, I would want to live in SF, which is what I'd budget for. And Asian communities are great (although I'm actually generally not attracted to Asian women). Really I'm trying to figure out not only if SF would be a great fit for me, but if it would be worth leaving LA behind.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:28 PM
 
Location: oakland / berkeley
507 posts, read 844,794 times
Reputation: 404
Relax. They're both in the same state, so it's not like you have to pass the bar again Focus on building your career -- you're only 26. You can always move later. SF does have an intense COL, but it's much more manageable if you come here mid-career instead of entry-level.
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:51 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
91,025 posts, read 87,719,105 times
Reputation: 98289
Quote:
Originally Posted by mirage1287 View Post
I don't have my heart set on SF but I think I'd like it and am really open to the idea. If I did move, I would want to live in SF, which is what I'd budget for. And Asian communities are great (although I'm actually generally not attracted to Asian women). Really I'm trying to figure out not only if SF would be a great fit for me, but if it would be worth leaving LA behind.
Take a look at SF rents on Craigslist to see what your options are at whatever your price point would be.

In terms of variety and entertainment, if you include the entire Bay Area, the possibilities are endless. Often there are multiple events to choose from on any weekend that would fit your individual taste.

Lots of diversity, ethnocentrism isn't an issue. I wouldn't say the people are "beautiful", like in LA, but they're more down-to-earth. However, SF is seeing a major influx of techies, whatever that may mean for social life, deep vs. superficial, etc.

Judge the "cool factor" for yourself. SF is very compact and walkable, that's one advantage. Lots of interesting neighborhoods to explore, each with its own personality. Some people complain that the nightlife isn't all that great, if you're into that.

SF tends to be foggy, especially in some of the more affordable neighborhoods. For sun, you'll do better in the East Bay, or neighborhoods closer to downtown SF.

Message the mod for this forum, Sam I Am, and ask her to move this to the California general forum.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:08 PM
 
2,147 posts, read 4,710,414 times
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People in SFO/bay area mix and mingle more than so cal, in my experience living in each [RE: your example of persian jewish friends]. The bay area is much less with the walls and boundaries in that regard.

Although it's normal to not feel rooted at age 26 [IMO], it does sound, from your post, that you are not enamored enough with LA to consider settling down for good. If that's true, then you'll need to move *eventually*, right?

Question/consideration: Would this professional experience in SFO give you options to move back to LA or elsewhere in the future? If so, then the COL hit or concern that you might really miss LA, are not as heavy.

The laid back in so cal comes with a price that IMO is superficiality and lack of commitment. But the people are beautiful, you are right. [I am female and more of a nor cal girl, but have lived in so cal now for 11 years]. Also, that 'easy breezy' vibe really does grow on you, as does almost daily sunshine and the superficially friendly/happy thing.

Others mentioned that the bay area has an intellectual climate. Since so cal largely doesn't, this is potentially a pro for you.
If you love [or are interested in exploring] forests, wine and denser urban life, SFO is a great choice.

I do think SFO has many 'only in SFO' features or happenings, too. Though obviously very different than the ones in LA.
Lastly: Both places have their own version of 'pretention' and their own style of friendly people, as well.
I'd say on the whole the bay area will have more 'good people' [generalization as you said] b/c it doesn't have that slimy entertainment industry thing going on, where everyone is looking to get something. You can probably have more real interactions in the bay area, where people are not on the make in any given moment, per se. Though, SFO is a pretty freakin' pretentious place. LOL

As our neighbor said to us when we were offered the option to live in SFO several years back [living in San Diego at that time]: "Everyone should live in SFO once in their lifetime." We had an amazing time there and in spite of its cost and pretenses, would do it again in a heartbeat. It is an intoxicating place, if the timing and opportunity are right for you.

I think maybe a list of your top 5 or 10 things about LA, that you will not be able to find in SFO, would be a useful exercise. ie, You will find/make new friends and activities in SFO. So while you may miss them in LA at first, it's not like you will abandon them permanently. So, don't include that on the list. Any deal breakers on that list?

Also, it's a short, cheap Southwest flight to visit L.A. (:
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:19 PM
 
49 posts, read 51,050 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooliemonster View Post
Relax. They're both in the same state, so it's not like you have to pass the bar again Focus on building your career -- you're only 26. You can always move later. SF does have an intense COL, but it's much more manageable if you come here mid-career instead of entry-level.
You're absolutely right. The hard part is that of the two job opportunities I have, both are solid and neither is significantly better or worse than the other, so I almost can't make the decision on long-term career outlook. I also have budgeted in SF's increased COL to the salary I'd make there, and yes it's definitely a consideration but I also think that would be part of the opportunity cost of getting to move to the city/try it as a new experience.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:24 PM
 
49 posts, read 51,050 times
Reputation: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrmsd View Post
People in SFO/bay area mix and mingle more than so cal, in my experience living in each [RE: your example of persian jewish friends]. The bay area is much less with the walls and boundaries in that regard.

Although it's normal to not feel rooted at age 26 [IMO], it does sound, from your post, that you are not enamored enough with LA to consider settling down for good. If that's true, then you'll need to move *eventually*, right?

Question/consideration: Would this professional experience in SFO give you options to move back to LA or elsewhere in the future? If so, then the COL hit or concern that you might really miss LA, are not as heavy.

The laid back in so cal comes with a price that IMO is superficiality and lack of commitment. But the people are beautiful, you are right. [I am female and more of a nor cal girl, but have lived in so cal now for 11 years]. Also, that 'easy breezy' vibe really does grow on you, as does almost daily sunshine and the superficially friendly/happy thing.

Others mentioned that the bay area has an intellectual climate. Since so cal largely doesn't, this is potentially a pro for you.
If you love [or are interested in exploring] forests, wine and denser urban life, SFO is a great choice.

I do think SFO has many 'only in SFO' features or happenings, too. Though obviously very different than the ones in LA.
Lastly: Both places have their own version of 'pretention' and their own style of friendly people, as well.
I'd say on the whole the bay area will have more 'good people' [generalization as you said] b/c it doesn't have that slimy entertainment industry thing going on, where everyone is looking to get something. You can probably have more real interactions in the bay area, where people are not on the make in any given moment, per se. Though, SFO is a pretty freakin' pretentious place. LOL

As our neighbor said to us when we were offered the option to live in SFO several years back [living in San Diego at that time]: "Everyone should live in SFO once in their lifetime." We had an amazing time there and in spite of its cost and pretenses, would do it again in a heartbeat. It is an intoxicating place, if the timing and opportunity are right for you.

I think maybe a list of your top 5 or 10 things about LA, that you will not be able to find in SFO, would be a useful exercise. ie, You will find/make new friends and activities in SFO. So while you may miss them in LA at first, it's not like you will abandon them permanently. So, don't include that on the list. Any deal breakers on that list?

Also, it's a short, cheap Southwest flight to visit L.A. (:
Thanks for your insight. To answer your question/consideration, I'd get good experience at both the SF job or the LA job. In terms of potentially moving back to LA, it's possible - in the past 4 years I've made friends/developed a network down here, and my law school pulls weight in the SoCal region, so if I really did want to try to come back to LA, I think I could make it happen. The tricky part is that the same is not necessarily true vice versa. The legal market is much smaller and even more oversaturated in SF, and I have no network there/my law school pulls much less weight in SF. If I choose not to take the SF job, I don't know if/when I would get a similar chance to go there (assuming I really wanted to) anytime in the near future. I've spoken to numerous SF attorneys about my situation and they have all told me (I'm guessing based on the state of SF's legal market) that I should take the job/chance to go up there.
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Old 02-26-2014, 02:25 PM
 
Location: oakland / berkeley
507 posts, read 844,794 times
Reputation: 404
If the jobs are roughly equivalent, then come to SF. It's much more like Seattle. You can scrape by in SF, Oakland, or Berkeley while you're young and working all the time, and buy a beautiful place in the East Bay hills when you're a partner. It's not urban at all, so I'm personally disinclined to living there at least at this point in my life, but it's unimaginably beautiful, e.g. Wildcat Canyon. This is a fairly common trajectory.
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