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Starting over in San Francisco

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Most people move to big cities like San Francisco to start over. Every city is different and there are a few things about ours that are not well known. Below are a few helpful tips:

Career:

  • "Promoting from within" is huge in San Francisco. It means that the legal administrator at the law firm and the general manager of the flagship art gallery have been at the company for over ten years. They usually have less formal training and a lower level of education than their job title normally requires and it's not a problem at all, which proves that success boils down to hands-on training. With that said, not all of them have hands-on training and they were "grandfathered" into management without the skills to do their jobs. For example, there are accounting managers who have never run full cycle accounts payable, and that's a major problem.
  • Those who were "grandfathered" into management are usually paid much less than the standard market rate. In other words, if the standard rate for office managers in San Francisco is $66,000 than those who were "grandfathered" in without proper training are making about $55,000. Sometimes they quit after a few years to take a similar job at a different company that pays more money. It doesn't always work. Some of them get fired and come back. The reason is because they didn't truly master the finite skills that were necessary before they jumped ship.
  • This advice is from a former accounting clerk who has seen general ledgers all over San Francisco: Most companies have just barely enough cash to cover their payroll. In other words, your new job may be at a company that will lay off their salaried employees during the next slow season. They also can't afford to pay their invoices on time. Vendors hesitate to put them in collections because they'll lose their customer.

Renting an apartment or flat:

  • Parking is a major problem in most of The City. Visit the rental property after 7 pm to see if all of the street parking has already been taken.
  • Landlords in San Francisco let their buildings fall apart because no matter how bad it gets they'll still be able to find a tenant who will pay high rent. Here are a few tips:
  1. About half of the toilets in old rental properties do not work properly, and so during the viewing tactfully ask to use the restroom and then flush the toilet to make sure that it works.
  2. Many of the faucets leak and the ovens don't work. My rule of thumb is that if a kitchen is so old that it doesn't have a built-in dishwasher than the plumbing fixtures and appliances are probably ancient and no longer work.
  3. Harmful mold is a widespread problem. If you have asthma than limit your search to newer buildings that have never had aluminum framed windows.
  4. Surprisingly, even in middle class neighborhoods, in San Francisco roommates steal cash from each other and they also steal checks that arrive in the mail. They'll also enter your bedroom to look for prescription drugs. Additionally, they're also curious to know what information is on your cell phone and laptop, and so don't leave anything confidential there.
  5. If you have a baby then stay out of the Mission District because police cars barrel down the street at 3 am with their sirens on full blast.
  6. The Muni trains are great but be aware that they're extremely noisy and they run late and so don't live right next to the train tracks.

Buying a home:

  • Many old houses in San Francisco need multiple renovations that will cost over $200,000, and they're urgent problems such as broken down plumbing under the house and weakened support beams under the stairs. Find a qualified licensed contractor to decide whether to raze the house and start over from scratch with a new one.
  • A police officer warned to avoid affordable housing because more crime happens there.

Dating:

  • In San Francisco there is a larger number of heterosexual women than heterosexual men and so many women expand their search to Silicon Valley. It's a sleazy dating market down there. Many of the IT professionals there are transplants from overseas cultures that discriminate against white people. They have a habit of using white women for awhile and then they leave under various false pretenses.
  • A word of advice to the guys in San Francisco: Don't be a player or a deadbeat.
  • A word to the women: The family court judges in San Francisco are very serious about giving dads 50/50 joint custody of toddlers, and they pressure moms to get full time jobs by threatening to cut off their child support if they don't.
  • Be aware that alcoholism is still out there and that s/he may have noticeable problems when s/he is not drunk, and also beware of those who drink way too much caffeine because it makes people nervous and irritable. If you suspect an illegal substance like cocaine then run: When people are hiding something from the cops then they worry about whether those around them will report it. They become paranoid. When they decide that someone could report them than they try to push the person out of the community any way that they can. An innocent bystander could lose everything.

Adopt a senior:

About twenty five percent of the local residents are senior citizens. They're "invisible" because they stay in their homes. Most churches have activity groups for seniors but they don't visit their homes to make sure that they have food and medication, and so if you have time please "adopt" a senior in your building and check on her once a week.

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