The challenges of working in the San Francisco Financial District

Rachel Feder/File

Many UC Berkeley students land internships and even full-time jobs in the neighboring city of San Francisco, and oftentimes, the Financial District is the go-to spot. This nifty neighborhood has the largest concentration of banks and businesses, with a wide variety of companies. When one walks down Market Street alongside shiny skyscrapers and people dressed in suits and pencil skirts, the Financial District may seem like the ultimate entry into the professional workforce. While there’s truth to this perception, working in such a fast-paced environment has its challenges too.

The traffic

Everyone knows how horrendous the traffic in San Francisco can be. The rollercoaster-like hills, confusing one-way streets and nonexistent parking spaces aren’t much help. The Financial District is no exception.

Dressing professionally (or trying to)

When you’re surrounded by tech moguls and bankers, you’ll feel the pressure to look the part. While you’d feel spiffy in your expensive dress suit and you locked down your new Gucci handbag, navigating the city can be a real pain when you’re dressed in heavy office attire.

The weather

San Francisco weather is known to be fickle at best. Commuting to work in heavy rain and wind makes everything worse — a lot worse. The one time you decide to wear a raincoat and boots, the sun could come out at the very last minute, but when you underestimate how much it will rain during the day, you might arrive to work soaked with a dripping umbrella. So be prepared to have that occasional walk of shame when the weather gets the best of you, rain or shine.

Waiting forever for an elevator

If you work in the Financial District, there’s a high possibility that your office is located in an enormous building. This means that when you’re on the ground floor and have to get to the 32nd floor, you’ll probably need to arrive to work early enough to account for the time it takes to get an elevator.

The long lines for coffee and lunch

Right across the street from First Republic Bank sits a row of restaurants and cafes where people like to grab lunch or a quick caffeine fix to get through the 9-to-5 workday. So if you’re hungry or feeling drowsy, be prepared to spend a good chunk of your break waiting in line at Peet’s or Sushirrito.

Rush hour

In the Financial District, basically everyone gets off work at 5 p.m. So once you clock out, I’d suggest speedwalking to the BART station before it gets hounded by a hundred people.

Nevertheless, don’t let these challenges discourage you from working in one of the best cities in California (perhaps even the country?). Plus, there’s no better sense of accomplishment than when you survive the day in the Financial District and snag that available seat on BART on your way home.

Contact Claudia Marie Huynh at [email protected].