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Our standard of living in the San Francisco Bay Area

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Most Bay Area residents are from somewhere else, or their parents were, and their cultural norms are from their home country. Everyone works differently and dates differently, and they're not always capable of working together or falling in love with each other, but they have certain common denominators which is what this article is about. To read about it click on the slide show.

Most professionals in the Bay Area are spinning their wheels and not getting ahead
Most professionals in the Bay Area are spinning their wheels and not getting ahead K. Mallory

Most professionals in the Bay Area are spinning their wheels and not getting ahead

How many college instructors work only one or two days a week?  Registered nurses and pediatricians have that problem, too.  And don't get me started about lawyers!  Solo practitioners struggle to get clients and so their income is in constant flux.  Law firms that are contracted by large insurance companies bill about $175 to $200 per hour which is not enough to pay for their overhead and so they cut costs any way that they can.  They have part time hourly employees, overtime exempt employees who work from 9 am until 10 pm five days a week plus four hours on Saturdays, and contracted hourly workers who don't get benefits.  There are no rich people in any of those offices.  Experienced software engineers in the high tech industry are high wage earners but it's hard to find stable jobs in Silicon Valley.  Large employers such as Hewlett Packard hire a lot of contracted workers and during lay-offs they're the first to go.  Jobs at small start-ups (pre-IPO) tend to last for about two years.  In brief, most professionals in the Bay Area are spinning their wheels and not getting ahead.  

Overdosing on legal substances
Overdosing on legal substances Katie Mallory

Overdosing on legal substances

Most people have a substance abuse problem but it's usually something legal, such as caffeine, alcohol or nicotine.  For example, one may drink a cup of coffee before arriving to work and then drink three more at the office.  It's legal and so no one will interfere, but someone whose had that much caffeine would become a distraction at the office.  The HR manager won't warn a nervous employee to cut back on coffee consumption; they'll just get rid of him or her.  

Self medicating versus prescription meds
Self medicating versus prescription meds Katie Mallory

Self medicating versus prescription meds

There are two types of mentally ill people:  Those who self medicate, and those who go to a psychiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment.  With that said, psychiatrists are notorious for over prescribing too many drugs.  Do you remember the Ritalin craze?  Taking trendy prescription drugs under the supervision of a bad doctor is not helpful but it's still a better alternative than getting drunk or smoking a pack of cigarettes everyday.  

News media
News media K. Mallory

News media

There is a wide variety of news outlets here and Bay Area residents tend to be very informed about current events.  With that said, there are small pockets of people who choose only one source, such as a particular website or their favorite radio station.  

The Bay Area version of beauty
The Bay Area version of beauty K. Mallory

The Bay Area version of beauty

San Francisco has the second largest population of anorexic women after New York City.  It is caused by peer pressure:  It is well known that the vast majority of men in the region prefer women that way.  Healthy women who are at the right BMI are viewed as "fat."

Financial pressure puts a strain on relationships
Financial pressure puts a strain on relationships Katie Mallory

Financial pressure puts a strain on relationships

When two people are overworked and they still don't make enough money to accomplish anything they tend to blame each other instead of taking an objective look at the job market and the companies that they work for and the high cost of housing.   

50/50 Joint custody of the kids
50/50 Joint custody of the kids K. Mallory

50/50 Joint custody of the kids

The confirmed bachelor epidemic in the Bay Area dovetails into the child custody issue.  They insist on remaining single even if a small child is involved, and in California they're entitled to 50% joint custody.  Of course, no reasonable person would pressure a man to live with his child's mother if he doesn't like her, but there are so many of these cases here that it looks like the guys just prefer being single.  

Heated politics
Heated politics Katie Mallory

Heated politics

Bay area residents love to perpetuate stereotypes about people based on their political views.  This collage is about the stereotypes aimed at Liberal Democrats in San Francisco.  

More heated politics
More heated politics Katie Mallory

More heated politics

Local residents love to make fun of every political party, including liberal Democrats, but when it comes to conservative Republicans they have a field day.    

Transferring leadership from the churches to local governments
Transferring leadership from the churches to local governments K. Mallory

Transferring leadership from the churches to local governments

San Francisco used to be predominately Irish Catholic.  Most Irish families lived in the Mission district and when the Central Americans moved into the neighborhood they moved to the Richmond and Sunset Districts, and then they moved out.  As a result the Catholic Church has been forced to close about fifteen cathedrals in the city.  Without their leadership, the community burdens that they used to manage eventually transferred onto local government.  

Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism K. Mallory

Multiculturalism

The Bay Area is a microcosm of the world, with the second largest Chinese population outside of China, the largest Filipino population outside of the Philippines, enormous Vietnamese, Mexican and East Indian populations in San Jose and the surrounding area, Central Americans in the Mission District in San Francisco, and so on.  As a result most Bay Area residents accept diversity, or at least they're more tolerant than most other places.  For example, they're not nearly as bad as in rural Oregon.   Rural Oregonians view Californians as foreigners, and so imagine how much harder it would be for them to accept someone who's from China or India.  (However, the Portland Metro area is very liberal.)  We have problems here and we need improvement but we're still way ahead of most places.  

 

 

Strange men on dating websites
Strange men on dating websites K. Mallory

Strange men on dating websites

It's common for people to lie about their job title and income when they fill out profiles on dating websites, but also there are just plain stupid people who post pictures of themselves sitting next to a large safe for storing rifles or standing in front of a pot farm.  

   

The Big Picture
The Big Picture Katie Mallory

The Big Picture

Only a small minority of Bay Area residents are trying to be rich.  Most people just want a decent middle class life.  With that said, it's very expensive to live here.  A rental that's large enough for a family of four costs at least $3,000 a month.  Transportation is expensive, too.  BART costs about $250 a month for those commuting from Contra Costa County to San Francisco.  The only alternative is to drive, which costs twice as much because of the cost of parking in The City, bridge toll and gas.   

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