My list of reasons for leaving San Francisco
It's hard to write this without sounding negative. I loved my time in San Francisco and I have fond memories of the place. I'm sure I'll visit again soon.
I'll add some things I love about San Francisco at a future date but for now, here are the reasons I left San Francisco and my job there.
1 - Quality of life is low
There's a lot of things you can do in SF but even on a great salary the cost of living is really high. It wasn't on the horizon any time soon for me to be able to afford my own one bedroom apartment in a vibrant area, which is something I started to want.
2 - Climate
I love the warm weather and SF is too cold and temperamental all year around. I missed wearing shorts and basking in the sun.
3 - Control of time and income
This is more to do with my work situation. Basically I wanted to control my time and income more than I could in a traditional employment situation. I could have changed this and still lived in SF but it just makes less sense than doing this in another (more affordable) location.
4 - Weirdness & Monoculture
I found developing rapport and having a fun time harder and harder with the people I was meeting. The founders I mostly knew are all pretty tightly wound. Everyone is optimizing for something and that's exhausting and doesn't lead to much joy.
When people are too good at optimizing for their personal outcome they destroy community and miss out on a lot of shared experience, which is where, as social animals, we derive most of our pleasure.
It's also a part of the world that attracts and rewards people who are low agreeableness and highly ambitious. These are not fun people to spend your time with, generally.
5 - Startup worship
Unlike New York, if you want to get outside of your bubble you can just find another room. In New York there's finance, media, publishing, fashion, tech and other top industries where they're in the top 3 in the world. In SF it feels like the tech industry permeates everything.
6 - Dystopia
To be clear, the homeless situation is harder on those actually in it than on privileged folks like myself who aren't living that reality. Still, it's hard not to feel like SF and US is pretty dystopian right now.
In terms of a 1-10 scale of how worried we should be right now about authoritarianism in the US I'd say most people think it's a 2/10. I'd say it's a 7/10. There are lots of signs pointing to scary things that threaten democratic institutions and social health.
This wasn't a key factor but it's worth mentioning.
7 - Terrorism target
SF and Silicon Valley are obvious targets. The other places I'm considering living, are not. Again, not a key factor but something I had thought about.
8 - Earthquakes
I was in a 7.2 in Mexico City last year. Afterwards I looked up how vulnerable SF is to this sort of thing. Turns out very, especially in Soma, where I was working. Not a large factor but after that experience in Mexico City I felt the fear more strongly.
9 - Dating
Whatever the reason (likely combos of reasons above) I just didn't find it enjoyable in SF. Neither did most people, men or women, that I knew.