It just isn't worth the price premium. Restaurants close at 9:30 (why do people eat so early?) - lack of beautiful modern mid-rise and hi-rise condo housing, lack of public transportation, last-call is at 1:30PM... it really sucks here. hard.
I spent over a decade not visiting the area all that much, and was excited as all hell when I had the opportunity to transfer out here for work. I'd heard bits and pieces about how the region had changed, but I didn't really have a grasp as to just how much change had taken place beyond the cost of living. I'm sure you can imagine the disappointment my wife and I had when we realized the reality of the place we'd just moved to. There are people from all walks of life and countries and cultures out here, but despite that, you're absolutely right when you say that SF and SV both lack culture. It's terribly homogeneous and downright bland.
There are still reasons we have for living here, but we've been having more conversations lately about living places we never thought we'd agree on. Paying such a premium to live in an area that feels so bland, homogeneous and nestled within its own little bubble just doesn't seem worth it to us.
The article's mention about Patagonia made me laugh and cringe, because sometimes it feels like Colorado is sponsored by Patagonia. That being said, I'm "guilty" too, because I wear Patagonia. But part of that is because they make solid items and they are generally environmentally conscious about their production (I still wear a jacket of theirs from 2013 that looks brand new).
On the more perverse end of consumption, I am now starting to see Canada Goose jackets all over Colorado; they are about 2x or 3x what Patagonia costs, which I believe is already quite expensive. I remember seeing something similar happen with North Face jackets years ago; once they became ubiquitous, the wealthy find something more expensive to show off.
Seeing all of this happen while the homeless population increases and more people that grew up in Colorado get pushed out due to rising housing costs, it's enough to make me feel hopeless that this situation can improve and overall disgusted about my part in it, as well. So I can definitely understand this feeling of "wanting to get out" due to hopelessness.
That being said, states like Colorado and California are some of the few areas with solid protections for LGBTQ people. There is a certain amount of unacknowledged privilege in seeing other posts on this site, mostly by straight, mostly white, men who talk about moving to "the middle of the country" to get out the bubble. But I think that a lot of people forget that many marginalized people move to these areas precisely because they provide legal and cultural protections and generally more openness.
For sure. That, and similar aspects, are what we really enjoy about living here.
Great point none the less!
Edit: That's not to say that they're anywhere near as homogeneous as SF/SV have become, though. I just think it's worth mentioning as it relates to the broader topic.
The extreme costs of everything pushes out creatives, which leads to a lack of culture.
Also, as a creative, I couldn't agree more. They're the heart and soul of a community. They've been priced out of SF, now they're being priced out of Oakland. I want to raise my children around a strong artistic culture, and I've struggled to find more than a few small pockets of that out here.
For example - if you're on Tinder, use the "passport" feature to set your profile to NYC for two days. Let me know the number of matches you get.
I really wish I knew that my dating life would have been so much easier if I move to NYC.
If I was her, there wouldn't have been a second date.
I thought I was the only one. This will probably go over most heads here, but man - the way people DRESS, particularly men, is staggeringly bad. Hysterically awful.
I've seen this same situation before as well.
Here's a hint - don't wear anything with your company logo on it unless you're at a company event. You're welcome.
I'm still going to wear sneakers, t-shirts, and a puffy because it's dramatically more comfortable than dress shirts and leather shoes. I can know I'm dressing poorly and still choose to do it...
company logo is another story - that one escapes me
*Disclaimer: I have no experience with silicon valley.
Basically assume that the quality of public SV schools are high enough that high earning parents are "OK" sending their kids to those schools rather than paying for private school. If you have 2 kids and would otherwise spend $20k/year for ~14 years of PreK-12 then living in your preferred public school district will save you over $500k+ in tuition.
If you are single or have no plans to have kids (thus shifting more free time toward cultural activities vs raising kids) then agreed living in SV is really boring and uninspiring and not worth it.
Gunn just misses the top 20, PA just misses the top 50. Everything else is further down, and those are expensive places to live even by SV standards. Several states/areas, notably IL, do much better for a fraction of the cost. My daughter attends #56, in what is considered an expensive town hereabouts, and that's still about 1/3 what I'd pay to live in SV.
Those are fine schools, but if you're paying SV prices for the sake of your kids' education, you're making a bad choice.
Yes, for the average rank-and-file it's probably a worse deal than elsewhere, but if you are mid-level and have a chance at upper mgmt role then what you make is wayyy more than what you could elsewhere, even with the CoL.
Here's another way to look at it. There are a lot of people earning big money in Silicon Valley, but there are only a few thousand students at the local top-100 schools. To buy a home in one of those few towns, you need an income that's high end even by local developer standards. By contrast, not only is the cost of living lower in Illinois (for example) but the ratio of demand for their skills to demand for slots in top-100 schools also works in their favor. Those add up to a cost reduction even greater than any likely pay cut.
The only way those high Silicon Valley salaries help in terms of getting your kid into a top-100 school is if you take the money and run. Earn all that dough, save it, then use it to buy a house in another part of the country before your kids hit high school. Don't get into an auction with people who are even richer than you are.
SV is not expensive because "public schools are good". Its expensive because both the government and the landlords, that have a huge intersectino of people, capture the largest chunk of the surplus tech workers get.
Right now it’s cheaper to rent a place than buy in SF (rent to home price ratio is almost 1:30 where 1:15 means it’s equal).
Most landlords are betting on property appreciation, but even that isn’t guaranteed if you have tenants as they lower the value of the home.
Are they really the best if they're putting that much pressure on kids? Surely there's an argument that can be made that schools that are one tier down from the quality of these public schools (read: still good schools overall) while putting less pressure on children might be better than high-pressure public schools in the long-run, no?
I've had several friends in the bay who grew up there struggle coming out high school - one wasn't really up for college at the time, and the only option to move out on the $16-ish an hour service job into a doubled-up apartment in a bad part of town. Surprise surprise, extreme depression. The other had their parents just paying for their rent - they got to mostly sit around and play video games, but mental health was fine other than just general lethargy.
Don't go - you'll fall in love!
But yeah, cool city.
This author has the right attitude, leave, because it's not the same place it used to be. Unless you surf in the ocean, I don't know why anyone needs to live there, even then, the water's warmer lots of other places.
They ski, they surf, they hike and mountain bike. I do none of those things (anymore) - so there's no reason for me to be here anymore.
The NYC I remember, and love, from then was dirty, smelly, and culturally adventuresome. It was also diverse ethnically and socio-economically in a not so segregated way.
Today, when I visit NYC, and even Brooklyn for that matter, it feels like a city for the wealthy, and it feels much less ethnically diverse than it used to.
I lived there for a little over a year...agree that Manhattan is not necessarily that inspiring.
I could never figure out what to do on the weekends. It felt like I was always stepping outside into a financial district and all anyone did was go to mediocre & expensive brunches.
Do you enjoy nightlife? If not, you may not enjoy the city as much.
But there are frequent live music shows, good bars of all types, great late night food options (food trucks, pizza spots, Japanese izakayas), beautiful parks (I liked Prospect Park especially, but Central is gorgeous too). And if you're a single heterosexual guy in your 20s, the dating scene is pretty incredible. It seemed at least decent for other orientations too.
But yeah, there are overpriced brunches too. I tended not to do that as much because I'm not really a fan either.
BTW, I live near Portland, and while I do love it and its weirdness, I wouldn't call it the most culturally sophisticated city I've lived in, at least in some respects. For example, the Oregon Symphony has this concert listed in its calendar: https://www.orsymphony.org/concerts-tickets/1819/sci-fi-at-t.... While cool, I wouldn't call it "better" culturally.
NYC is still the epicenter of culture. Period.
San Francisco, when people spoke of it affectionately, was the cool grey city of love. It wasn't only that, or always as good as that, but that was the appeal. The appeal of San Francisco is that it was an urban place with a notably less frenetic vibe. I'd also say that San Francisco is actually considerably more urban than almost every other city outside NY in the United States, even though, somewhat paradoxically, it has less of the urban vibrancy you describe.
Here's a link to some urban density maps from a discussion forum.
The first thing you'll see is that in the US, it's New York and everywhere else. But of everywhere else, San Francisco has notably more widespread high urban density than the other US cities you mentioned. It's enough that you actually can live that life in SF, even if it is somewhat limited.
This appealed to a lot of people. It actually still does - or would, if people could afford it. Something odd happened to San Francisco. I grew up here in the 70s and 80s, and San Francisco wasn't ever really known as an alpha city for a career. Living here was a softer version of living in, say, New Orleans. Nobody says "I hate living in New Orleans, but I have to be here because of the amazing career options in finance/tech/entertainment." It's not that you can't pursue a profession with ambition in New Orleans, but the main reason people who make the choice to live in New Orleans do so, in spite the problems, is that they love New Orleans.
So it goes, or went, for San Francisco - though San Francisco was a strong beta-plus, perhaps even alpha minus, city for careers. As late as the mid 90s, parents in SF were encouraging the younger set to consider leaving SF for career options, considering SF to be somewhat limited for career advancement. I explained to them, at the time, that tech really was bigger here...
Wow have things changed. Gayle Laackman McDowell wrote a post:
It's hard to explain how unlike the San Francisco I grew up in this post really is. It is the opposite of how SF perceived itself. SF was where you lived because you liked it so much here that you were willing to give up on the career options available in New York, London, even Chicago or Los Angeles. The idea that SF is something you put up with for the career options, but leave if you want an alpha minus career but a better quality of life, is a 180 degree change, and it happened with light speed.
I think this accounts for a lot of the "10 reasons why I hate SF" posts of the lament about SF you see on places like HN so often. Until quite recently, you wouldn't have seen a post on why people like NY so much better than SF that because person would't be living in SF. They'd visit for a conference, say "huh, things sure close early here", and go back home to NY. Any sort of complaining about needing to live here for career advancement would have met with general puzzlement. Even tech, which was bigger here, but not nearly as big a deal as it is now, and mainly concentrated in the South Bay anyway.
I get it, you hate SF but choose to live here because you put career above living in a city you enjoy - a tradeoff that came into existence so quickly it has a lot of long time San Franciscans blinking like deer in the headlights. And SF has largely lost the qualities that people enjoyed about it, even though it sounds like those are qualities you wouldn't have valued much anyway.
For lifestyle, yes. For the opportunities in tech, there's no place like it. Before you name the other not quite as good tech hubs, yes there is opportunity but not like there is here.
This is what people unhappy that they live in a dystopian hellscape tell themselves to try to justify why they live in a dystopian hellscape.
An extreme tiny minority of "engineers and programmers" live in SF. You absolutely do not "need" to be there.
no you don't, this is completely inaccurate
This person just graduated college. This is a wildly unremarkable piece of writing about a widely discussed issue, and the author has no unique insight into the problem. The sanctimony of repeating "This is Silicon Valley" over and over as if this pedestrian blogpost carries the weight of an MLK speech is just silly. Yes, life can be disappointing in these ways. No, discussing Google's use of plastic straws is not deep. Yes, our whole culture has a problem with isolation. No, your "I'm quitting facebook" post is not an incisive expose of that problem.
I'm actually not trying to be mean, because I know part of growing up is clarifying these thoughts to yourself and trying to make sense of it all. And I don't mean to diminish her experience - I'm sure it's sincerely felt. We can probably all agree that it's a frightening and disorienting experience entering the "real world" and discovering that you have to find your own meaning.
So the problem isn't the author - everybody thinks or writes these self-righteous, disillusioned screeds from time to time, even if we don't put them on a blog. The issue is - can't we, the readers of hackernews, find a better object of discussion? There have to be a million better words written on this topic. Seeing this on the frontpage makes me feel like people are really nodding their heads to this and thinking "Thank God somebody has said it!" But... we're better than that right? We all understand this for what it is, right? Please?
EDIT: As I'm reading through the replies, I feel a little better. At least there's some level of consensus that this is a pretty juvenile hot-take. It'd be better if the snark was directed at ourselves rather than the author though. The world is full of 22 year olds' opinions, it's our fault for putting it on the front page like it's some great piece of writing
Maybe attack the ideas and not the structure / style of the piece?
It has nothing to do with the author "finding meaning." It's critiquing an overpriced, socially bankrupt culture and area, and the toll that can take on mental health and happiness.
>It's critiquing an overpriced, socially bankrupt culture and area, and the toll that can take on mental health and happiness.
This is what the piece _thinks_ it's critiquing. That's what it wants us to think too. But I'm arguing that it's very obvious where the author is coming from. You can tell from the examples she picks that she's just basically a new Google hire who's not really fitting in, and feeling disillusioned with her cohort. "Everybody goes to Lake Tahoe for the weekend"? Tell me that's not coming directly from somebody who's feeling bored and unfulfilled and surrounded by people she hasn't bonded with. And so my point is that this is something that a lot of people go through, and it doesn't have much to do with the monotony of Silicon Valley or the moral decay of our society (which, as a reminder, I don't really deny as real phenomena!). This is basically a diary entry of someone walking through a tough time in their life, but it's trying to bring the weight of society's problems along with it to make you feel like it's a deep insight. But it ain't. And we, as adults, should be able to understand what's going on there, and call it like it is.
I think it has a whole lot (if not entirely) to do with the author finding meaning. In particular, the reason this "bankrupt" culture takes a toll on the author's happiness is because she doesn't find Silicon Valley's value structure to be meaningful. In other words, surrounding yourself with people who have a different value structure than yourself can cause mental health problems (especially when you haven't taken the time to explicitly inspect your values bc you either feel like there's something wrong with you or everyone around you is a horrible person).
Such a critique shows more about you and your inflated sense of yourself than anything else.
I remember being at the company party after we closed our series A and thinking, "Is this it?". I was expecting a much stronger sense of accomplishment.
I'm curious what the experience was like for other founders. For me, I realized that what I thought was going to make me happy, didn't. Not only did it not give me the happiness and satisfaction I was hoping for, it ate up some many other parts of my life that do bring me real happiness - family life, friends, traveling, adventure.
The deeper I dig into the world of startups and VC the more I realize that it's very much not what it seems.
Good luck on your quest for true meaning. You won't find it here.
I recommend taking some time to figure out what your core values are.
Why did you want to start a successful startup? What were you really chasing after? Some superficial answers might be financial security or social status, but you should keep asking why these things are important until you arrive at something that is important just because you feel it is. These are your core values.
Once you figure out your core values, you'll find that:
1) The event that resulted in disappointment either didn't contribute to one of your core values
2) The core value that you've identified is partially out of your control, and so, your achievement made you feel good, but it was only temporary.
To me, values are the measuring sticks by which people quantify success in life. Whether or not we realize it, we constantly measure our actions against our values, and how we 'measure up' determines our self-worth.
Once we actually know what we value, we can either change those values (bc they are too extrinsic), or design our life to optimally fulfill them.
I find this to be a very helpful framework for engaging in a more scientifically rigorous discussions around happiness and life satisfaction.
Maybe google gets to shelter their employees from a lot of the cruft of SF, but walk 2 blocks away from the google offices in SF and you'll get yelled at by homeless people.
Also sad that the writer does not see a correlation between homelessness and public policy, but blames it to income inequality due to the tech companies. Without tech companies SF as a dump would not be masked by 6 dollar coffee.
Facebook and Google could reverse their negative PR so quickly if they actually put some money meaningfully toward the problem, not into fake tax shelters for their founders.
We need more fucking housing. Period. End of story. We need condo towers. We need townhomes. We need mid-rises.
And secondly, we need free and low cost mental health services.
That's it. Problem solved. The problem is we're 20 years behind.
If there's one thing that makes Silicon Valley unpleasant to me, it's the "simple, just do X" hand-wave that so many there indulge in regarding every damn topic. I'm sure your job isn't so simple a child could do it. Why act like everybody else's is?
And just giving homeless people a better place to live is only one, tho extremely important, dimension along which homeless people can be helped.
And then of course one should expect side-effects to any help one would give, e.g. increasing 'demand' for help for homeless people. I'd imagine one reason why there's so many homeless people in San Fransisco is that it's already one of the best places to be homeless.
If you are a private worker you pay a monopoly surplus to the landlord and then get taxed to hell, and then you would give charity to help the homelessness the previous two mostly provoke?
It is in fact exactly what it should be - a search for better life until you are satisfied with what you have, whether you are escaping war-torn Syria and hoping to run a barbershop in Beirut, or escaping boredom-torn SF and hoping to run a hedge fund in NYC. Nobody owes you either, therefore you have to make if happen all by yourself.
I've come to realize that I am not programmed that way at all, and it has made it difficult for me to really be happy working in that kind of environment.
The article isn't a parody, and is expressly saying that SF/Silicon Valley can be a pretty bad place to live, specifically with regards to the author mental health.
I'm not sure how people are getting from this piece that SF is a great place with no problems
But if you walk down a street in SF you risk stepping on a needle or human feces. It's a catastrophe and some of the issues raised here seem to pale in comparison.
But seriously, it’s hard to read “look how tough we have it” about getting a 6 figure job out of school. You didn’t get into Harvard. That’s not a life defining tragedy... hoping this is parody. The vast vast vast majority of the world works harder for less. We should be thankful, not weirdly bragging about how hard our childhoods were. Try Detroit or Bangladesh....
The kids that ended their lives aren't bragging or complaining anymore.
This author speaks on their behalf.
It is not a life-defining tragedy until it becomes a life-ending one. And saying "you should be happy" doesn't help a bit to those who are getting tired of living.
Some people have it better, some have it worse. The kids who killed themselves don't have it any way. The kids who are writing these posts could have been next in line.
Mental health is a serious issue, and collectively, the successful part of the Valley seems to be very, very broken.
A rich person with cancer is still a person with cancer. A successful kid with depression is still a kid with depression.
So I'd ask y'all to show some empathy, as withiut empathy there is no understanding, and without understanding, there's no fixing the problem. And there is a problem. Something is rotten.
And have some empathy for yourself too (yes, that's you, parent commenter!). If you grew up like this kid did, yes, you grew up in a fucked-up environment, it probably fucked you up, and it's not right. If you feel obligated to be happy, you are broken.
What you have doesn't define who you are. And a well-paying job doesn't give you all you need. Being poor sucks, but that's just one way life can suck. There are many, many others. And the only way to get to a happy life is to understand what makes you happy and thankful rather than what you feel you should be happy and thankful for.
The disconnect between the two -- well, that's a part of how those kids ended up on the tracks.
I didn't grow up in the Valley (or anything remotely similar), but I live here now. It's a silly place. Take care of yourself, y'all.
Mental health is a serious issue, but the author isn't bringing up these suicides to talk about how she's going to help prevent them, or even bring attention to suicide in high schools - she's using it in a social media-esque post about why she's out. She's done.
Goodbye Silicon Valley, you're not the utopia I expected right out of college with my cushy job and free lunches. People around me are suffering and I'm not, so I'm not going to help you, I'm just going to leave because of a false trichotomy. It's not me, it's you.
If people complain about this post rubbing them the wrong way, it's not because the people complaining are insensitive to the issues like mental health, it's because of the narcissistic tone of using these issues in a break up letter with the place you grew up in.
To gauge effectiveness, think this way: what would happen if everyone in her position did the same thing? Most certainly the area would experience a drastic change.
You know what's not effective? Shaming people into silence by calling them narcissistic. Sure, you can write off her experience as whining - and how's that going to help anyone?
The kids who committed suicide were going through what the author was going through, more or less, and committed suicide for the same reasons the author does not feel happy in the Bay Area. I don't know what else to say except that what she says matters. Listen to it.
In any case, my main take-away from the post was this: the Bay Area is not a healthy environment even for the well-off kids to grow up in, and to live in. The damage of the competitive rat-race is not offset by the prize of getting a FAANG job even for those who get there.
In the end, people like her make are representative of what drives the culture here, and this culture sucks. And again: act to change, understand to act, empathize to understand. This starts with you.
I'm not shaming anyone, just as the GP here isn't taking mental health issues lightly either. Again, nobody is saying these issues are to be taken lightly, or that anyone is obligated to solve them (that's part of the false trichotomy I talked about). Please stop accusing people and projecting these straw men.
Excuse me, but I did not make that accusation anywhere.I asked them to exhibit some empathy, as I do you.
>Please stop accusing people and projecting these straw men.
>I'm not shaming anyone
You mocked and called the author narcissistic for saying what she did. That is shaming.
>(that's part of the false trichotomy I talked about).
Well, could you at least tell what the three parts that make it are?
It’s about how all this “prosperity” is somewhat fake and doesn’t ultimately bring happiness. On top of that, it’s leaving a lot of people behind who cannot even obtain basic necessities (homeless). And she is coming to terms with her role in it, as more people in the Bay Area should be.
Less importantly, if you are a parent and your work success depends on late night drinking and smoking sessions ... .
I made an honest attempt to understand someone before engaging with them, next time I'll just spew some uninformed BS if that's better?
I _hate_ having to bring up my sadness credentials in this area. Everyone is always trying to prove how hard they work and how broken they are. Try going to Modesto. Try talking to an Uber driver. We're not "all broken", its just most of us have never had to struggle, ever. The appeal to culture destitution is just silly - no, not everyone here talks only about startups and blockchain. Yes, we all want to go back to our home towns with some savings. No, there is no humanitarian crisis in the bay area tech scene.
I assume you came after me for being white male from California? Remember, my point is that our lives _are NOT_ so difficult... I should not have to justify my perspective with my own personal tragic history, and that's _exactly_ what my problem with this article is.
It wasn't deleted. There's a setting in your profile called "showdead" which will allow you to see all the flag-killed comments.
Never meant to imply no one should complain. Life is hard for everyone. But a 6 figure job out of college after getting rejected from Harvard _is not tragedy_, and I don't really care who says otherwise.
Superficial, much? This entire article sounds like a parody.
Then this part from the article didn't happen.
>The lack of diversity doesn’t stop at work — it permeates every aspect of life. Everyone wears Patagonia and North Face, everyone has AirPods hanging from their ears, and everyone goes to Lake Tahoe on weekends. And everyone talks about the same things: startups, blockchain, machine learning, and startups with blockchain and machine learning.
White America is hardly free of racism targeting East and South Asians (or Central or Southwest or any other Asians, for that matter.)
You've made what I think is a good choice. Don't turn it into a bad one by just going to some different urban center. You will learn that there are hard-working, good-natured, intelligent people all over the country living in very diverse neighborhoods.
They understand math and engineering just as well as you do, yet they are constantly told they are flyover hicks whose opinions don't matter, since "talent" wants to ride on trains to work.
People can still work 9 to 5 and comfortably raise a family. While it is becoming more pretentious with tech money, it isn't too bad.
Austin is a tier 4 city that can at times still feel like a small town with some bigger city amenities.
After recently being back, one of the things that really hit me was what a monoculture it seemed. Of course in the 2000s a lot of people worked in tech, but it had a really different vibe to it now; it was never that obvious before when you spoke to them, and peoples' parents had a wide variety of jobs. SF seemed more like a normal city. When I spend time there now, after living in London, it does seem really, really homogenous. This is quite possibly a huge bias on my part as I was a teenager.
Really terrible history around here.
I'm actually happy for the author, because she's realized these things early on, rather than having to look back at her 20's and 30's with a profound sense of regret. I hope she'll find a new path with which she can have long-term satisfaction.
Also, perhaps she could have a bigger impact in SV where few people are woke, than in some place where everybody is woke.
Unless you embrace the orthodoxy on these positions, you would be a fool to talk about them at work. Basically, these "discussions" are met with bored faces because either 1) people agree with the position and it feels like "preaching to the choir", or 2) people disagree with the position, but don't want to endanger their nice job by taking a position against the orthodoxy.
Given the above, people talk about safe topics like tech, investing, and insider gossip.
Did you ever attend a city planning meeting? Did you speak and argue a point? Did you listen to their counterarguments and amend your position? Volunteer at a nonprofit which helps minorities become qualified for STEM jobs? Give a homeless person food or supplies? Or even talk at length with one?
I'll be frank; this mindset is juvenile. When I find myself thinking with a similar perspective, I do my best to rationalize the best plan to solve the problems I'm reflecting on and commit the actions necessary to manifest it. The world won't get better if the status quo is recognizing problems and despairing at them; it will get better if we recognize, confront, and attempt to solve them.
I don't live there. I can't comment on whether this is an accurate representation of the area or not but certainly I can say a viable answer to things you don't like is to leave. It's perfectly fine to try to be the change you want to see but it's absurd to state that leaving any situation that feeds into your depression and anxiety makes you juvenile. You wouldn't stay in a relationship that made you feel that way. Why would you stay in a city that made you feel that way?
Every productive suggestion I make to change the culture -- which me and some of my friends do (rarely, we're not perfect or close to it) -- you argue against with a resigned fatalism.
"Would you stay in a city that made you feel that way." And here's where we differ. There's a process, a reason why something makes you feel a certain way. And if you short-circuit personal responsibility, if you never act out or different in the world (or in your relationship) to see whether your nihilistic despair matches reality, that is juvenile. Maybe you don't have the bandwidth to tackle the problem. Fine. But you still take an L for never confronting the world, for never breaking through your inward solipsistic perceptions.
Low crime… do we live in the same bay area?
Besides, going to a good school doesn't matter if you have no talent. You'll just burn out and get crap grades. Life at that stage is about figuring out the nexus of what your good at, what you like, and what you can get paid for. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is not a good strategy for this.
A friend of mine suggested (also previously Mormon) that we create a church called, "Good without God". I love the idea because I have seen the good that having a community can do for many (not all) and for the community.
I miss going to a place that pushed people to be "good" (air quotes because different people and even religions define this differently). Anyway, this is something I think we're missing from our culture right now. I'm finding it for myself in other places right now, but it's not quite the same.
This is one of my more rambling comments, sorry about that.
Implied: in the hopes of finding a place/community where her penchant for social and larger scale issues are top of mind.
I understand her complaint, which comes from being a well-off Upper Middle Class person with liberal values, but frustrated by inability to move the needle. Yes, this is Silicon Valley. But this is every liberal city. (minus the high school pressure tho.)
I wish she would tell us where she is moving to. She should move to Sacramento. Close enough to SV, and she can hate on all the weekend Tahoe traffic. But where she can find a group of soulmates that care about and are actually doing something about the social issues she cares about.
It sounds to me like the OP doesn't like spending 100% of her time in the tech sphere. And that's fine. Find people who are in completely unrelated fields, and become friends with them. Spend 50% of your time at work, in the tech world. Then leave work and spend the other 50% talking to different people about more diverse problems.
In Michigan, if you go knock on the door of your neighbors, what is the probability that they work in the same industry as you?
In SV, the probability that they work in tech is very very high (99% in my case, the 1% is an old retired engineer).
SV's monotone is a bubble of gigantic proportions. Everyone is in tech. There are no auto-mechanics living nearby (they drive in from 1.5 hours away)
They tend to complain about fakeness, or the high cost of living, or too much government.
But to me, San Francisco has the best aura of any place I've ever been, other than possibly Costa Rica. It's like some kind of Mecca.
It seems like part of the reason San Francisco is so hyper-competitive is that everyone wants to live there. Which is understandable, because if it was any cheaper, everyone WOULD live there. An acre of land where I live can be as cheap as $10,000. The catch is that it's desert so you have to drill your own well, which may not be available. Also the social scene is essentially nonexistent, so you will likely be single for months, possibly years. And you'll be surrounded by half a million people who are more influenced by religion, football and having a large family than anything else.
I'm disappointed that the big tech companies don't get (and likely will never get) issues like wealth inequality and how they directly diminish the quality of life of all people who are not part of the illuminati. But I think conflating that central problem with the symptoms of it like homelessness, poor mental health and high taxes on low income earners is a fallacy.
The problem when you grow up surrounded by an elite is you really want to join the elite. This is what everyone mentions about the bay area: there's lots of 6 figure jobs, but everything is expensive even if you have one.
And how do you get these jobs? The standard path, and that's just about all you'll hear as a kid, is get good grades, get into a good school, do internships, interview well and then you're on the ladder.
If you fall off the ladder, you'll know just enough friends to go green with envy, and you won't be able to afford anything.
The thing is teenagers who are going to be part of the elite tend to be clumped together in their affluent schools. They see disproportionately many other success stories, and they see other kids pushing themselves as well.
All I can say is when you get a little older, your circles widen. Or they CAN widen, it's up to you who you hang out with. Also, you tend to get a bit less intense, nothing really bothers you as much as when you were young.
I wouldn't! I find Silicon Valley to be a very creepy, disturbing, and depressing place. I don't live there (but I go there fairly regularly), and so have no comment on the experience of people who do, but the author's description does dovetail nicely into my own outsider's perception of the place.
I hope this person moves to, like, Tokyo or London or something super expensive. If they move to a low cost of living area, trying to move back later isn't a great plan.
This is the part I really hated about SV and the bay area.
Who'd have thought?
So some of her commentary is transferring blame to SV culture as a whole for what is probably a result of the culture of the parents.
Yes, some areas can be 30-90% this demographic makeup (eg cupertino schools) but it is not the norm for the entire Bay Area.
Doesn't sound like a practical plan.
> There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part! You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels... upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!
The only way change happens is when people go that way instead. But putting your body "upon the gears" is a really hard thing to do; it means a life spent fighting mostly losing battles and foregoing most of the conventional consolations life offers, like family and social acceptance and material comfort.
In other words it's asking someone to be a hero, and while I wish we had more heroes, I can't blame anyone for not leaping up to volunteer for the job.
"I care so much about these things that I'm going to leave and hope it works out!".
Let's add another piece to the article:
"Well paid tech employees would rather look the other way, some even leaving, instead of putting in the tough effort of making change. But tech employees are used to other people doing things for them. They hire dog walkers to walk their dog, cleaners for their homes, and laundry services to do their laundry. This is silicon valley."
Basically, these commenters are proving the article’s point. Why be depressed when you have money? Who needs empathy for the homeless when you live in a gated community away from them?
Given that they are in a better situation than most and no experience with the problems it gets triaged as "not really a problem".
SV types seem to not understand that a "hyper competitive" educational environment is not a pitiable condition.