Welcome to the Real World

There is an interesting story floating around the interwebs about a young woman who posted an open letter to her CEO which lead to her dismissal from her company.  What's interesting about this story is I've seen both left and right wing sites posting it pointing out examples of what's wrong with our country each drawing very different conclusions.

The young woman posts under the name Talia Jane and you can read her blog in full HERE.

Skipping the part where she bad mouthed not only the company she worked for but the CEO as well, leading to her being fired (and assuming that was all she did wrong since we only have her side of the story), I'm going to share some key points in what she wrote.

I left college, having majored in English literature, with a dream to work in media. 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.

Based on her choice of words that she "left" college implies to me that she did not graduate.

She also states that her dream is to work in "media".  Rather vague term but she does later explain what she means.

...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. 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.

Her dream job is to make memes and twitter jokes about food.

What she is looking for is a job in marketing.  It's what my wife does for a living, and she'd worked in the field for over 20 years working her way up to "making memes and twitter jokes".  She also has a masters degree and as I also pointed out, 20 years experience in marketing.  And her job not only consists of "making memes and twitter jokes" but also managing people and with customer service which includes "talking to customers" among many other aspects.

I also work directly with other marketing people who "make memes and twitter jokes" on top of many other responsibilities in their daily jobs.

This young lady, who points out at one point her age is 25, has a lot to learn about life.  I'm sure there are a lot of people who would enjoy jobs in "media" which is why jobs like those are not considered entry level and companies can be choosy about whom they hire to fill them.  Marketing has a lot to do with branding and imaging, this means it would require someone with enough sense not to publicly badmouth the company in a public medium.  This is an aspect of such a job she clearly has proven herself not ready for.

But let us continue...

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.

Out of a morbid curiosity I followed the link she provides to her twitter account, "Lady Murderface".  On it she writes about herself the following:

comedy • writing • better at thinking about things than actually doing them

Well there's a resume builder, "better at thinking about things than actually doing them".  What better way to attract a high paying job then to flat out say you are a lazy dreamer.  That aside, I felt the need to see what kind of jokes she is so proud of that she felt could land her a higher paying job in "media"...

why are we just now finding out about hitler's penis and how many decades must we wait for new information about his butthole?

Shockingly CEOs aren't jumping out of their seats to hire this woman to be in charge of their company image.

Moving on she does eventually bring up some numbers explaining why she is so dissatisfied with her current situation.

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.

Let's do some math with these numbers.

If her bi weekly pay is $733.24 that would equal $1466.48 a month.  Take out the $1245 for rent and she's already down to just $221.48 for the entire month.  After her electric bill she's down to just $101.48 which would not cover the $11.30 daily or $339 monthly cost of commuting.  And there is nothing left to purchase food.

If this is true then it really is a bad situation for her to find herself in but no where in this young woman's rant does she show any signs of personal responsibility.  Instead she goes on and on about how evil the company is because in some way they owe her a comfortable living.

That's not how life works.

She does point out how some of her coworkers are dealing:

Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them ... ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage.

What she fails to notice is that each of those above examples she lists are cases of people taking personal responsibility to seek ways to eventually improve their lives.

Has she considered a roommate?

She points out that she moved to that area to be closer to her father, has she asked if she could room with him until she gets a better paying job?

She points out that she does have a car, any consideration to car pooling?  Perhaps signing up as an Uber driver to make extra money if possible driving people in the same direction you are heading anyway?

But back to her situation...

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.

This is where I begin to question her honesty because at the time of her writing this, her twitter account was covered in pictures of food and expensive alcohol which you can see for yourself HERE.

In between everything she is ranting about she does point out some of the company benefits too.

She points out that they supply free food for the employees while they work and full vision, dental and medical coverage with only a $20 copay.

After taxes she was taking home $17,597.76 a year with full medical, dental and vision and free food during the time she was at work, and she points out that she worked afternoons and weekends which meant that she had two week days free to interview for a better 9 to 5 type job.  All this with no prior job experience and presumably no college degree.

I'm sure most people would love to walk into their dream jobs with no experience and no education but life doesn't work that way.  For someone starting from the ground level with no skills or training she was given a good opportunity.  Instead of looking at the positive, she focused on the negative.

As she rants about how the company somehow owes her and focuses on all the negatives about her job, she fails to address the real problem.  Why is the cost of living so high that a job paying close to $20,000 a year with full medical, dental and vision and free food while you work not provide a living you can survive on.

Assuming she was making minimum wage, which is $10 an hour in CA, I did the math and roughly 8.5% of her salary went right out the door to taxes before she even saw a paycheck.  That's not including sales taxes, car registration, property taxes (which are included in rent if you rent) or any other random taxes that you are hit with after you are paid.  If this isn't a spot on example showing why we need less government then I don't know what is.

Then there is the question of why is her rent for her apartment $1245 a month?  Looking it up, CA has the second highest state average for cost of rent average out at $2295.  Again, look no further then our own governments as far as the cause.  Zoning laws, other government restrictions and land grabs from the government taking property that otherwise could be used for cheaper housing off the market all contribute to increased costs of living.

And let's not forget the taxes the state and federal government take from corporations.  Looking it up, I found that the state of California has a state wide corporate tax rate of 8.4% on top of that you have federal tax rates of over 30%.  Don't you think that if a corporation had an additional 30% of revenue it could afford to pay it's employees better?

The problem is people like Talia Jane don't look at the root cause, they only see what impacts them directly.  Add on top of that a sense of entitlement from the everybody gets a trophy generation and we get what we see here.