Average 'Mo

Average ‘Mo: Learn to Love the Recession


While it may sometimes seem like Queerty only cares about politicians, studs and celebrities (in that order), nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, we strive to include all members of the gay community, regardless of how ripped their abs are or elite their contacts. To that end, this is Average ‘Mo, where we introduce you to regular gays from around the world to discover what life is like in their neck of the woods.

26-year-old Shane Mayer was riding the second tech boom all the way from his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Upper Haight of San Francicso, where he’s so close to the University of San Francisco that he uses the gym. “It’s nice to work out with college guys”, he says. Until recently, he was a Senior Client Manager for Grassroots Enterprise and helped run online campaigns. Like many, he was laid off as result of the Global Financial Crisis, but rather than giving up in despair he showed that when the going gets tough for a tech-savvy social networker, the tough get blogging.

QUEERTY: San Francisco is considered by most to be the capital of America’s gay community. Does it deserve that reputation?

Shane Mayer: There’s a statistic that’s often quoted in San Francisco that one out of four people here is gay. That’s probably not true, but it often feels that way. For many like myself, San Francisco is the first place where we have felt like the normal majority, which everyone deserves to feel at least once. I’ll always remember when someone asked me where to get the Castro parking pass. “You know the little blue and yellow one on everyone’s car,” they said. I realized later they meant the HRC symbol.

What did you do prior to being laid off?

I helped run the Internet campaign for No on Proposition 4, against parental notification. I pitched to run the No on Prop 8 campaign, but they didn’t hire us. They did use the slogan I created: “Vow to Vote No.”

How has the job search been?

I’ve only been unemployed for about seven working days. Most of them I spent on vacation. I went home to my parents in New Mexico and lived off their dime for a week. I know the economic scene is bad, but I’m optimistic. I’m a people person and I’ve got some valuable skills and education, so I’m hoping those pull me through.


You’ve started a blog about your layoff, Recessed; why now?

As I say there, I’m recessed, but not depressed. I’m hoping the blog is an interesting look at the job searching process, as well as a documentary about living through this historical period. It might also be a resource for other people going through the same thing. On a more personal level, it’s a good way to process and intellectualize what could otherwise be a frustrating process.

It’s also partly a PR endeavor. The Internet gives everyone there own channel to be themselves and become famous dong it, I figure I should use it as a tool to help me expand my network. Who knows what might come out of it.

Are there any upsides to not having a job?

As I blogged about, I wake up at 10 AM. Finding a job is full time work, but at least I get to set my own hours. Also, going to Trader Joe’s during the day, when it’s not completely flooded with people, is awesome!

Are you considering leaving San Francisco for a cheaper city for the time being?

Right now, no. I can’t imagine a job or another city that would make me as happy as I am here with my friends. Since our personal choices have to be about maximizing happiness, I can’t see leaving. I might have to downsize my lifestyle at some point, but for now I’m holding out. I grew up pretty broke, so I know how to do it, I’d just prefer not to.

I’ll always remember when someone asked me where to get the Castro parking pass. I realized later they meant the HRC symbol.

What’s a guy on a budget to do in one of the most expensive cities in the world?

I’ve always said that life is about the company you keep. I’m really lucky to have some awesome best friends and to know some fantastic people here. The best thing to do on a tight budget is just hang out with friends. We play cards, watch TV and remind each other that life is too short not to be as happy as possible.

Since the job market’s a roller coaster and we plan in advance, Queerty checked in with Shane yesterday to see if there were any developments in his employment search.

So, any updates?

Since we spoke, I’ve had some luck, actually. I’ve been in negotiations with an awesome firm that I would love to work for. It feels a bit like a pregnancy in that I don’t want to talk about it too soon, for fear of jinxing it, so I won’t get into details yet.

Ironically, the job is in LA. When you asked me before if I’d consider moving, I thought not. Now that this particular job has come up and the question isn’t hypothetical anymore, it feels very different. I’ve weighed the specifics of it – it’s a really great opportunity – and the serious negatives of moving – I’ll really miss my friends – and I think I can’t not take it.

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  • ggreen

    Good Luck Shane. Its nice to see someone so focused at 26.

    San Francisco used to have a reputation of being a place where people came to find them selves. Now days it has a reputation as a party town (like Chico State is a party school.). People come here in droves mostly to get wasted and act out inappropriately. Maybe bad economic times will change that. Rents are down and vacancies are way up but the drunks are still popping up like mushrooms.

  • rickroberts

    Good luck, Shane!

    (Now to some of you bitter queens who can conjure negative comments on any topic whatsoever, please skip it this time. Just give it a rest.)

    Again, good luck, Shane!

  • [email protected]

    Good luck, my friend. You’re in the right spirits at least.

    Last time I was laid off (2004), the very first thing I did was buy “Time Off! The Unemployed Guide to San Francisco.” Lots of tips about free and inexpensive things to do in this city, but also about how to handle the psychological effects of being laid off.

    Hmmmm, perhaps I need to re-read that part. This time around the psychological effects are more severe for me.


  • kevin (not that one)

    Surprise! Another young guy…

    Ageism in the gay community writ large.

    Older gays don’t exist, don’t matter, aren’t important.


  • Adam

    While it may sometimes seem like Queerty only cares about politicians, studs and celebrities (in that order), nothing could be further from the truth

    So you’re implying that Shane is not a total stud!? I don’t know about you fags, but I think those of us who are thoughtful and show off our voices and intellect (and only sometimes our bodies) are the real studs.

    I’ll take Emile Hirsch as Cleve Jones over some disposable “morning goods” of the day. Up the beauty ante Queerty! Heavens knows a lot of smart sexy boys make up your audience. Take cues from the East Village boys blog.

  • naprem

    Aw, I used to live in the Haight. I loved it, although I did live about two doors down from a very rowdy pub and consequently didn’t get any sleep for about two years. Very handy to have Trax just down the road though, and the Pork Store is a legend!

  • Ted

    I like the way this is presented. I tire of the usual blah blah and like to learn about interesting “regular mo’s”. And I agree with this nice gentleman, I have never felt more at home than in the Castro. Too bad I live in NY!

  • LP

    @ggreen: I fell in love with San Francisco when I lived there. Now I live in New York and want to kill myself. As soon as I start I career, I’m moving back to SF. It’s my land of milk and honey, where I went to discover myself. Nearly everyday I regret the decision to come to school on the east coast. If it weren’t for the great school I’m at, I would still be in the sunset with my best friend living and exploring.

  • ShaneP

    Shane! Loved reading the article and learning that you’re in the bay area too. I’ll be curious to hear what comes of LA.

    It’s actually been very interesting to see all these articles and shared perspectives of late, and I really liked seeing your posting from a young, gay professional point of view.

    -the other Shane…

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