A Yelp employee who wrote a bold blog post about her low pay was fired, and has even got her ex-CEO responding on Twitter. Talia Jane, a customer-service rep who worked for the company’s food delivery arm Eat24, wrote an open letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman on Friday explaining how she could not afford to pay groceries, had stopped using her heater, spent 80 percent of her income on paying rent in San Francisco and was “balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week.” Jane further comments about going to sleep with stomach pains and only eating rice while not at the office.
Even as she posted her letter online, Jane seemed to understand that the repercussions of her post could involve her job. Jane tweeted, “might lose my job for this so it’d be cool if u shared so i could go out in a blaze of…..people knowing why i got fired?” Her premonitions proved correct, as shortly after, she was let go by Yelp for what she terms as a violation of their internal “terms of conduct.”
The incident drew a series of responses from Stoppelman, who addressed her concerns by acknowledging the high cost of living in San Francisco, while rebuffing any allegations he was the one who fired Jane.
A Yelp spokesperson told Fortune that the company would not comment on personnel matters. However, the spokesperson did echo both Jane and Stoppelman’s comments on the standard of living in San Francisco. “We agree with her remarks about the high costs of living in San Francisco, which is why we announced in December that we are expanding our Eat24 customer support team into our Phoenix office where will pay the same wage.”
Even amongst other millennial like Jane, there has been a mixed response of support and disgust in her attitude. One writer, Stefanie Williams commented, “Work ethic is not something that develops from entitlement. Quite the opposite, in fact. It develops when you realize there are a million other people who could perform your job and you are lucky to have one. It comes from sucking up the bad aspects and focusing on the good and above all it comes from humility. It comes from modesty. And those are two things, based on your article, that you clearly do not possess.”
There is no doubt that working in Silicon Valley can be challenging, but Williams does make a point about work ethic. What do you think – do you sympathize with Jane?