Aussies of The Bay – Gareth Pan

Name, job, part of the San Francisco Bay Area you live in

Gareth Pan, living in San Francisco, Sales Operations/Strategy at LinkedIn,

When did you first come to the Bay and what’s the backstory there?

I first landed in Feb 24, 2016 after doing a table-flip of sorts, where I severed my lease, quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to SF. After realising that I actually needed a return ticket to enter the country (thanks US Customs!), I spent the next 11 weeks looking for work. I stayed on a mate’s couch for a while before moving to the cheapest single-room Airbnb I could find – it was about 9′ x 9′ and in the middle of Chinatown, but hey rent was expensive and the US dollar was sky-high, so it worked for me!

After getting an offer at LinkedIn in May, I went back to Sydney to sort out visas, say goodbye to friends & family and returned to SF in June 2016, where I have been since.

Hardest thing about moving here?

I have a 16 yo cat (his name is Theodore, but we call him Teddy!) that I had to leave behind with my mother. Was devastating for me but the bastard is probably ecstatic – after 16 years, I’m still not convinced he actually liked me. Aside from that, the usual conversion difficulties – celsius to fahrenheit, km’s to miles, kg’s to pounds etc.

Favorite Bay Area memory to date?

I remember about 2 hours after I landed in SF, I needed to buy a towel and some bed sheets. I was stressing about how and where I’d get all that stuff from until my friend pulled out his phone and was like “watch this!” and tapped a few buttons. 2 hours later everything arrived at our door. I’d later learn that it was Amazon Prime Now and it was ridiculous and embodied everything that makes the Bay Area what it is.

What impact has being Australian had on your life here? In dating? In work?

Being Australian here is great and I completely agree with everyone else’s comments – it’s so much easier to start a conversation with anyone by virtue of the accent alone! At work, even 2 years on I still get the joke “I wonder if you’d still have a job if you didn’t sound like that”.

Dating here has been… interesting. I definitely think all’s well that ends well though as I’ve since found an amazing local girl (shout out to Linda!). Looking back, I feel the interesting dating dynamic here goes back to the fact that a lot of Bay Area residents are transplants from all across the world and thus dating seems a little more transient.

Most American thing you’ve experienced in your time here?

Fantasy Football. I’d describe it like an office Melbourne Cup sweepstakes, but every week for 16 weeks. The amount of office banter that goes on during football season is out of control – the winner gets some money and a year’s worth of boasting + the loser has to carry a wooden spoon around the office for a month, which is priceless.

Best advice for anyone who is thinking of coming over?

Absolutely do it, I promise you will not regret it. If you’re gonna look for work whilst you’re here (i.e. not coming over with an employer), make sure you have your story buttoned up. Most employers here don’t know anything about your uni, your background, any Australian companies or the E3 Visa. Think introspectively and craft a coherent story on exactly why you came here with 2 suitcases and a dream. 🙂

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m actually going full ‘Murican and going to NYC to do an MBA this fall, so @Christian if you know a G’Day NY equivalent newsletter – hook me up because G’Day SF is an amazing resource!

[Editor note: does a good newsletter out of NYC]


Christian Thurston


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *