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5 Things to Know About The Yelp Employee Who Got Fired Complaining About A Living Wage in San Fran..

Many of you saw this, but it's too good not to talk about here.  A Yelp employee recently got fired for writing a post taking her company and CEO to task for not paying her better so she could live in the Bay Area.  Here's your summary from The Washington Post:

"The Yelp employee who said she was fired after she blogged about the financial pressures she felt while working for the multibillion-dollar business said Monday that her breaking point came one night when she went to sleep — and woke up "starving" two hours later.

Talia Ben-Ora posted an open letter Friday afternoon to Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman, saying she wasn't earning a living wage while working in customer Yelp support at Eat24, Yelp's San Francisco-based food delivery arm.

She was out of work hours later, she said.

"They knew that I was picking up pennies and that I was having trouble sleeping and that I was cutting back on every single possible thing I could think of," Ben-Ora told The Washington Post. "But I was still working as hard as I could — and being as good as I could possibly be at the job."

In her letter to Stoppelman, which she posted on Medium, she expressed concerns about how the company treated its employees.

"So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week," she wrote. "Every single one of my coworkers is struggling."

If you haven't read that open letter on Medium, go do it now.  It's interesting and makes you think related to employee responsibility, company responsibility and more.  Here's how I break down the issues:

1. It's OK to be frustrated that your company doesn't pay you enough.  But it's a marketplace for talent out there, and if you want to live in one of the highest talent areas in the country, you need to be ready to struggle.  NYC has been the same deal for young people forever.  

2. You're tone deaf if you're calling out your company online with your name attached.  Let's assume you're right about the issues.  What company would ever hire you if they knew about this open letter.  

3. The company has some responsibility here as well.  It's San Francisco, people. Maybe 20K annualized jobs don't belong in the Bay Area.  It's called workforce planning - put a call center in Detroit and do some civic good. 

4. The old "Professional Conduct Policy" continues to be HR's fallback.  I've always said you can do 70% of the terms you want to do under this policy if it's written well.  Obviously, Yelp has this policy active.  Embarrass the company?  It's covered by an effective PCP.

5. What ever happened to having roommates - like 7 of them in a 1200 square foot apartment - if you wanted to live in the show before you had the means? 

Mamas, don't let you english major babies grow up to move to the Bay area for their first job.  Unless they're really good.  

And that, as we know, is subjective.


Michael Miller

You make some interesting points, but I think that "you should know better" POV is a little short sighted. It sounds like she did what she could to address the issues with YELP and this was her way of escalating it. Maybe she felt her employer would own up to the treatment if it were made public. Maybe it was naive. Either way, I think its really interesting to look at this from the perspective of what YELP does and how they handled it. Great post from Scott Monty about that here:

Matt Landrum

As a 30 year old engineer, I had to have a roommate in the Bay Area and commuted 45 minutes one way. I'd love to live there now, but I'd rather have a house without a roommate in a good school district and commute 15 minutes. Hence, I live in Oregon.

Oh BTW... parental failure.





Approver of $1245 mo apt rental w/ $1,588 mo inc also approve mortgages in 2008 #needroomie

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