The story: A 25-year-old entry level Yelp (at Eat24, which is owned by Yelp) customer service agent named Talia Jane posted an article to the social media site Medium titled, An Open Letter To My CEO. Addressed to “Jeremy,” Yelp Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Stoppleman, Jane’s epistle was a long. angry, often sad, more often snarky lament about her low compensation, current poverty, and lack of satisfaction with her job; her personal hardship as she struggled with Bay Area living expenses like rent, food, electricity, internet, transportation; and her criticism of company policies and Stoppleman’s millions (Yelp was his creation.) The letter quickly went viral, especially among Bernie-files and on left-leaning websites, as the post was a rant against the lack of a living wage and greedy corporations generally. A couple hours later, Talia posted an update that she had been fired, and Stoppleman responded to some of her concerns on Twitter, protesting that he and his company were not as callous as she claimed. Stoppleman also tweeted that he was uninvolved in her firing and it was unrelated to the Medium post.
1. Of course, Yelp had to fire her. Any company, large or small, would and should fire a low level employee who intentionally attacks her employer and the company’s CEO in a public forum. That the letter was read far and wide just sped up the process. The Bernie Brats, being so ignorant of the way of the world that they actually believe Sanders’ Socialist fantasies, naturally faulted Yelp for her fate. In Bernie World, you see, everyone is guaranteed a job, even after they go out of their way to embarrass the people who write their paychecks, or so they appear to believe.
2. Jane wrote that her firing was “unplanned” but not unexpected. I don’t believe that for a second; in fact, the statement is contradictory. She wrote a 2500 word attack on her employer and posted it online, and says she “expected’ to be fired. When you take deliberate action that you know will have a specific result, that’s a plan. The plan is to get out of a job she hates and that doesn’t advance her desired career—apparently to be a highly paid web commentator and wit—by making herself into a sympathetic celebrity long enough to exploit her fame and re-boot her ambitions. Isn’t that obvious? I’m sure that Talia is being booked on radio and TV shows as I write this. For her plan to work, however, she has to lie about her intentions in writing the letter. To some extent, I admire her audacity, and the plan may work. But this is The Saint’s Excuse: she made a deal with Yelp; they held up their end of it; she miscalculated, she was dissatisfied, so she made Yelp a public target for her own benefit. Unethical. It is also the rationalization called Ethical Vigilantism: she thinks this is right because she deserves better, and is justified betraying her benefactor.
3. I wouldn’t trust Talia Jane to run my lemonade stand.
4. I’m not going to dissect the whole letter, but the sense of entitlement is striking. So is Jane’s obvious refusal to take responsibility for her own choices. She accepted a minimum wage job in an expensive city because it was a necessary step to being considered for the Yelp job she wanted. She was told that she would have to spend a year answering phone calls, took the job, and is now protesting that she has to spend a year answering phone calls. She chose San Francisco because it was close to her father (and she wanted to finally develop the relationship with him she never had—not Yelp’s problem), and blames Yelp because her rent is too high, though she’s apparently unwilling to have a roommate.
Most astoundingly, she doesn’t consider Yelp’s excellent health care benefits part of her compensation, and is indignant about the $25 co-pay. This is Bernie-Bern again: free health care is a right. Nope. We are all ultimately responsible for taking care of ourselves. I don’t want to pay for the bad choices made by others, and I really don’t want to pay for the huge, bloated, authoritarian government that it will take to make people like Talia Jane smug and happy—and I shouldn’t have to.
5. Another writer on Medium, Kris Gellci, wrote a completely fair and constructive response to Jane’s letter, and found himself the object of vicious attacks on the site, accusing him of being “inhuman.” He began by writing,
“Probably not a good idea to publicly slam the company that pays your bills and the CEO that signs the checks, as proven by your update. If you wonder why 18 year olds that live with their parents are doing the same job as you, it is because it is an entry level position with minimum wage pay that does not require a college degree….”
“Some advice for you, take it or leave it but it is to your benefit: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Don’t complain about a situation you put yourself in. Yes, moving to one of the most expensive areas for a minimum wage job was your decision.And last but not least, make yourself worth something, don’t just ask for a handout.”
The comments divided sharply between those adults who saluted Kris for rational and wise advice, and more of the millennial entitles class, who said he was kicking someone who was down, and hence a cruel monster. No, he was properly and responsibly reinforcing important cultural and societal values—which Jane, thanks to some ethics corrupters like Bernie Sanders, seems completely misunderstand— in response to a public post that warped and rejected them., while intentionally blaming others for her problems and trying to hurt them in the process.
6. An aside: several of the commenters deride Kris’s comment as “mansplaining.” The suddenly popular term is sexist and biased in intent and meaning, a cheap and unfair gender wars weapon, and I’ll announce here and now: use that one on me, and your comment will be rejected and you will be banned here.
7. Yelp’s CEO claiming that Jane’s letter was unrelated to her firing—it was all a coincidence!—insulted the intelligence of the human race.