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“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?” wrote Talia Jane in an open letter to Yelp’s CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman last week.
A couple of hours later, Jane revealed on Twitter that she had been fired for writing the post.
Like most fresh graduates, Jane had big dreams, until the reality – the burden of making ends meet on her own, caught up with her.
After graduating with a degree in English literature, Jane got a job as a customer service representative at Eat24, the online food-delivery service operating under Yelp. She spent $1,245 a month on the cheapest apartment in the notoriously expensive San Francisco Bay area while making $1466.
Essentially, 80% of Jane’s income was spent on rent alone.
Jane stated in the letter she had no money left to buy food or to turn on the heater, adding she has not bought groceries since starting her job at Eat24/Yelp and she lived on free office snacks during the day and a bag of rice at home.
For young people living in Singapore and Hong Kong Jane’s story is not at all a surprise.
Salary for fresh graduates has been hovering around HK$10,000 while property prices and cost of living continue to soar. According to data from Census and Statistics Department, tertiary graduates aged 20 to 24 earned a median monthly income of HK$10,800 in 2014.
Stoppelman the other main character in the sage was quick to distant himself about the firing of Jane. He wrote on Twitter after the firing “I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me,”.
Without addressing Jane’s comments on low salary, Yelp simply replied it agrees the cost of living is high.
A Yelp representative wrote: “We agree with her comments 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.”
Disengaged employees is something that HR has been trying to tackle for years.
But is such a response from Yelp help in boosting its internal engagement rates? Or should Yelp’s decision to terminate Jane an important reminder for young professionals to continue to persevere amid economic struggles? Write to us in the comments sections below.