11 Essential Life Lessons Millennials Can Learn From The Mistakes Of The Fired Yelp Employee



The story of Talia Jane has garnered national attention after she was fired from her job at Yelp because she criticized the company in a blistering open letter. Talia’s story features a litany of poor judgements and ill-advised decisions that many millennials can make when starting their life after college because they are not prepared for the real world and are inexperienced. Maybe we can all learn from the mistakes made by this former Yelp employee to make our careers and life more satisfying and gainful.

Select The Proper Major

Miss Jane majored in English literature, but it was her dream to work in media, which is a very competitive industry. A literary major is the way to go if you plan on writing a book, being a librarian or being an English teacher, but if you want to be in the media you should really major in communications or media studies. Selecting the correct major for your career is extremely important. You wouldn’t attend a veterinarian school if you wanted to be a doctor.

Select A Career That Will Satisfy Your Desired Lifestyle, But Also Make You Happy

“It was either that or go to law school. Or become a teacher. But I didn’t want to become a cliche or drown in student loans, see,” Jane states. Instead of being a cliche and having a job as a teacher with a median salary of $56,310 or a lawyer with a median salary of $114,970, she selected to pursue a media job with a median salary of $37,200.

No problem if she didn’t want to select a career based solely on income, you should do what you love. But don’t complain later in life because you aren’t making as much money as you desire because you picked a career that has a maximum income that can not pay for a certain lifestyle that you expect. When I decided to become a writer I knew that I was never going to be able to buy a private island in the Caribbean with my income, but I also knew that I had a passion for it and that I love doing it. So for me, doing something that I love outweighs owning a BMW i8.

Patience And Planning

“I also desperately needed to leave where I was living,” Talia said. “I put a bunch of debt on a shiny new credit card to afford the move.” Sometimes you need to bite the bullet and deal with unfavorable conditions for months and even years. She could have stayed at home, worked a retail job, saved enough money so that she could have moved without putting herself into all that debt and paying credit card interest on a move that wasn’t absolutely necessary. While Talia was working retail she could have interned at media company. Sure, there’s a good chance that it would have been an unpaid position, but she would have been learning valuable experience as well as insight into the environment of that career to know for sure if that is what she wants to be for the rest of her life.

Do Exhaustive Research When Moving To A New Place

Talia picked up and moved to San Francisco, without having a job in place before she left. “Somewhere close to my dad, since we’ve never gotten to have much of a relationship and I like the weather up here,” she said. Nice weather is great, unfortunately that nice San Francisco weather is rather costly. She lived in THE MOST EXPENSIVE CITY TO RENT IN THE UNITED STATES AND DIDN’T HAVE A JOB LINED UP.

A lack of foresight and planning put Jane in this unappealing predicament. She didn’t wake up one morning and the housing prices in San Francisco just skyrocketed. Home prices started increasing back in the mid-1980s. Nobody kidnapped this woman and put her in the most expensive city for rent in the whole United States and forced her to work an entry-level job with entry-level pay. She could have gotten a roommate to cut her housing costs in half.

Be Prepared And Willing To Start From The Bottom

I commend Talia for being willing to start at the bottom of a company, and work towards her desired position or department.

“I felt it was fair that I start out working in the customer support section of Yelp/Eat24 before I’d be qualified to transfer to media. Then, after I had moved and got firmly stuck in this apartment with this debt, 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.”

Don’t Have A Sense Of Entitlement

However, don’t assume that you’ll just be anointed the social media manager of a $3.5 billion company after a year of working customer service and having no actual experience in social media besides tweeting out some cat memes. This is a prime example of entitlement that seems to plague millennials.

A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food. If you follow me on twitter, which you don’t, you’d know that these are things I already do.

Playing tee-ball and always getting a trophy even if you lose or playing soccer where they don’t keep score. This environment is great for 5-year-olds, but in adulthood, there are winners, there are losers and you don’t always get a trophy just for participating.

Make A Feasible Budget That Allows You To Save For The Future Or The Unknown

Will you pay my phone bill for me? I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly) but I have to save as much of that as possible to pay my rent ($1245) for my apartment that’s 30 miles away from work because it was the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work. That’s $11.30 a day, by the way. I make $8.15 an hour after taxes. I also have to pay my gas and electric bill. Last month it was $120. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work? Have you ever drank a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work? I woke up today with stomach pains. I made myself a bowl of rice.

Talia makes $19,064 per year, but pays $14,940 a year in rent. That leaves Talia with $4,124. The cheapest T-Mobile plan is $50 per month (without taxes) so that means Jane has $3,524 left over. But she pays approximately $2,960 for transportation every year, leaving her with a grand total of $564 per year or $10.84 per week for food, clothing, car repairs and any medical fees that she may incur. I’m no Adam Smith, but that does not sound like an extremely viable budget.

But wait, Jane also has Internet at her home, which typically runs $50 per month. That actually means that without spending any other money, Jane makes -$36 per year. Now unless you’re the U.S. government, you can’t sustain this budget for very long. Sorry, you don’t get to have every luxury if you are poor. That includes whiskey, cable TV, Internet and yes, even a cell phone. Life’s not fair.

“I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?”

It turns out that Talia ate a lot more than rice. In fact, someone created a website that featured all of the non-rice food that Jane ate. Also included was Lush face scrub, Bulleit whiskey, kombucha and a $28 candle from Anthropologie.

Take Responsibility Of Your Mistakes

Did I tell you about how I got stuck in the east bay because my credit card, which amazingly allows cash withdrawals, kept getting declined and I didn’t have enough money on my BART Clipper card to get to work? Did I tell you that my manager, with full concern and sympathy for my situation, suggested I just drive through FastTrak and get a $35 ticket for it that I could pay at a later time, just so I could get to work?

Another glaring issue is not taking responsibility of your errors. It sounds like Jane had an issue on several occasions. Yet she did not rectify the situation and did not leave for work earlier in case this issue arose again. When you don’t take ownership for when you make an oversight or don’t take precautions to prevent a potential problem, you enable yourself to escape any culpability, thus you’ll easily make excuses for more and more misfortunes.

Also, your boss is not your mommy, it is not their job to coddle you.

Don’t Drown Yourself In Self-Pity

Self-pity can be a cancer in your quest for betterment and improvement. Making excuses because you think that you have it tough will get you nowhere in life. Everyone else is out there grinding it day after day, nobody else is going to give you a free pass or charity because you feel “stressed.”

Look, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t have to pay my phone bill. I’ll just disconnect my phone. And I’ll disconnect my home internet, too, even though it’s the only way I can do work for my freelance gig that I haven’t been able to do since I moved here because I’m constantly too stressed to focus on anything but going to sleep as soon as I’m not at work. Should I sell my car? It’s not my car, actually, it’s my grandpa’s. But the back left tire is flat and the front right headlight is out and the registration is due to be renewed in April and I already know I can’t afford any of that. I haven’t even gotten an oil change since I started this job (in August). But maybe I could find someone on Craigslist who won’t mind all of that because they’ll look at the dark circles under my eyes and realize I need the cash more than they do.

Weigh The Benefits And Consequences Of Your Actions

“As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company. This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?),” Talia said. Did she think writing an open letter to the CEO of the company that she works for and completely shitting on them was going to give her a raise and a promotion?

Being caught in the moment and just doing whatever you feel is extremely careless. When you do something you must weigh all of the benefits and consequences of your actions and do what is best for you in the long-run, not that second. Write it down on a paper to visualize it. It’s always best to sleep on your decision, the next day you may have a new perspective because maybe yesterday you were in a sour mood because your boss got on your case and your favorite team lost. Waiting just one day allows your emotions to decompress a little and hopefully permits some logic to seep in.

Don’t Rely On Other People To Support You

After being fired from a job that Talia Jane and only Talia Jane got herself fired from, she had the audacity to beg for a handout. “Any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated.” She then listed several online payment systems where people could donate to her cause, and a GoFundMe account was also started. There are children who have diseases and their parents can’t afford the medical bills or adults who have accidents destroy their lives and need charity. However, an able-bodied 25-year-old college graduate should be fully capable of finding a job and supporting themselves.

I would never fault anyone for following their dreams, but just make sure you have a well thought out game plan, and don’t whine when things don’t go your way in life because that’s just life.

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