Former Yelper Talia Jane—Whiner or Winner?

[Instructors: Your students will likely have lots to say about this actual case! Use the links in the post to direct your students to the originals and then discuss the situation. We’ve included some questions to get the conversation started.]

shutterstock_181519442_MAY2016Recently, an employee at San Francisco-based Yelp sent An Open Letter to My CEO, in which the 25-year-old former English major detailed her long list of woes about her life and job at Yelp. Talia Ben-Ora, who goes by Talia Jane online, wrote that she was “balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week.” In the letter she complains about the high cost of her apartment ($1,245/month), the slow pace of promotions at Yelp (“I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department,”) and how she is unable to buy groceries or pay her cell phone and utilities bills. Her letter drips with sarcasm (“…if I made $24,000 more annually I could probably get the headlight fixed on my car. And the flat tire…”).

Not surprisingly, Talia Jane was fired soon after she posted her letter. Since then a firestorm of both criticism and support has appeared on social media. Some of Talia Jane’s millennial counterparts understand the ex-Yelper’s plight—working at a minimum wage job and living in San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the nation, just do not compute—while others have responded by critiquing Talia Jane’s poor work ethic and sense of entitlement.

Discussion

  1. What possible career repercussions might follow Talia Jane after this incident?
  2. What else might Talia Jane have done to change her unhappy work situation?
  3. How do you feel about Talia Jane’s public display?

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