As a professional working in tech in San Jose, something I hear too much from people is that San Jose isn’t considered as part of the “real bay area” compared to places like Oakland and San Francisco.
I even hear this from people I know personally that work in San Francisco who brag about their daily free food and all the cool company events they get to go to.
“Oh, who do you work for in San Jose again? Must be a pretty small company.”
For your information, I work for a mobile design and development agency called Impekable. Even if our company is on the smaller side, our work’s quality and the awards we’ve won speak for themselves. Not to mention we’ve worked with companies like Google, HP, Motorola, and Groupon,to name a few. This is a company I’m proud to work for, and what reinforces this sentiment is we are a San Jose-based company.
Don’t get it twisted. I love SF as much as the next guy. It’s a wonderful hub of culture and activity, and to add onto that, I’m a huge fan of cool breezes and fog. However, the smugness of some people I talk to from this supposed “real bay area” irks me because despite the nice parts, it can be argued that San Jose is actually a better place to work than San Francisco.
Let’s start with one of the more obvious reasons.
Unless you’re legitimately rich enough to afford the price of rent in SF, chances are you’re living somewhere outside the center. Even so, you’ll be looking at rooms for upwards of $1000/mo anywhere north of Santa Clara.
With that, you’ll be living pretty far from your company’s top floor office in the city. Studies show that longer commutes contribute to higher levels of anxiety and a decline in life satisfaction, so make sure you have your favorite podcast prepared because the commute is gonna be looooooong.
Oh, and once you arrive, good luck finding parking. Expect to spend 15-30 minutes on average circling the block to find a space that isn’t occupied by the red and white signs on otherwise usable parking meters. Believe it or not, your SF employer might not even provide parking, so you might be on your own there.
If you have to resort to the lengthy commutes, you’re probably someone who lives closer to Downtown San Jose than San Francisco. Even if you’re more in the north, it’s faster to go against rush hour traffic anyway.
There is more parking in San Jose as well with a good amount of car parks nearby, at a reasonable price. In addition, local employers and work spaces in Downtown San Jose simply buy their employees monthly parking passes to the city’s car parks.
At this point, it’s a given that employees in San Jose have better commutes than San Francisco, but what about the locations they work at?
Unless you work for one of the larger tech companies downtown like Adobe, Oracle, EY, or Accenture, you probably can’t afford a giant SF office. However, another benefit to being based in downtown San Jose is access to the many options for coworking spaces nearby, for every budget.
Whether you’re an up and coming start up or a self-employed individual, it’s always nice to have friends.
NextSpace is the coworking space where our office is located and we enjoy being a part of the community by interacting with other companies in the space during weekly happy hours or walkabout lunch. Being a member of a coworking space provides us with the opportunity to network with other NextSpace companies and even created new business connections for us.
Founders Floor is just down the street from our office, so sometimes we’ll host speaking events and we take some time to appreciate that sweet downtown view! Another coworking space is WeWork that recently opened up on the 6th floor of the nearby Valley Towers in downtown. They have a pretty awesome setup with beer on tap and their trendy interior design, similar to the aesthetic you would see in San Francisco offices, but without any of the hassle.
WeWork San Jose has been an awesome place for us to host our design workshops, so our students interested in starting a career in app design can have a taste of the Silicon Valley dreamer lifestyle. I mean does YOUR classroom have a view like this?
Downtown San Jose is lucky to have so many options as far as where to work, but what options do they have for lunch?
Another huge perk of working downtown is the food! If you have a certain food craving, it’s very likely that it’s very close by with options to choose from like Thai food, Malaysian, Indian, Greek, delicious sandwiches, Halal, Mexican, pizza, Vietnamese, sushi, even Carribean! YOU NAME IT!
All these food options can definitely be credited to the diversity San Jose has to offer. Diversity should be one of the critical reasons why the 7th most diverse city in the United States, San Jose is better to work than San Francisco, which was ranked at 20. For being the so-called capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose is aware that innovation is not a vacuum. It requires exposure to different backgrounds and collaborating with those who come from different walks of life.
As a San Jose based company, we can’t help but take pride in the city we’re in. However, people who work anywhere in the Bay Area are blessed to operate in such a progressive region with a strong sense of community that welcomes innovation and diversity with open arms.
And yes, just in case it wasn’t clear enough, South Bay still counts Bay Area. Cheers.
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