An Open Letter To My CEO
talia jane

Having been born and raised in the Bay Area, I moved to Seattle in 1994, and have frequently wanted to move back. As an employee of a Fortune 50 company, working in IT, I do pretty well. I own my own home, between my wife and I, we own three cars (one’s just for haulin’ stuff and was cheap, so please don’t judge).

If I wanted to move back to the Bay Area, someone would have to hire me at at least triple my current salary (which is set as an industry standard) for me to afford to rent an apartment. The last apartment I lived in in San Francisco, a 500 sq ft studio, is probably renting for at least $2,500 a month, now. I can’t imagine what the $800, 1,000 sq. ft., 2 bdrm apartment in the Inner Sunset is renting for now — $3 grand? $4? But I’m sure my current salary won’t cover it. Buying a home? Forget it. To buy a house of the caliber I have right now would cost me at least two million, and believe me, mine wasn’t a quarter of that. I live in the equivalent of the Presidio neighborhood. Imagine the cost of a 2,200 sq ft home on a 5,000 sq ft lot with a city view in a nice, boring, safe neighborhood…

As a thirty-year veteran of working in IT, it should be possible for me to rent a decent place in San Francisco, or Berkeley. But if I’m supposed to be able to afford something that’s somewhere between a third or half my income, my income would have to go up to fairly unreasonable heights. Or is that what I “should” be worth in the Bay Area?

I miss the San Francisco of the 80s and 90s, where artists could afford a crappy loft space in a run-down building, and create great stuff. Now, only people making six figures can afford to live there, even in the so-called “bad” neighborhoods. Maybe if I’d never moved, I’d still be able to afford my apartment (thank you, rent control). But that was the San Francisco of my youth, and neither are coming back any time soon.

Here’s the thing: you have a bachelor’s degree and are yet making minimum wage. Minimum wage is supposed to be for non-skilled labor, not for people with bachelor’s degrees. While you are making considerably less than a teacher, teachers (in general) are paid less than they should in our society, considering what they’re expected to do. But you are living a model that seems prevalent in modern society: how much shit will you put up with to have the job you want, and/or are qualified to do? Here’s an entry-level shit job, that everyone has to do, in order to “make it” to the job you think you’re going to do for us. We burn people out, just to get the caliber of people we want to work for us. People who will kill themselves for the job, even if the job isn’t the last job of their career.

Why is that a good thing? What does that teach someone? That life is hard? Most people know that life is hard. That some jobs are going to suck before you get the job you really want? Sure, but I learned that during college. That’s why I was GOING to college, so I wouldn’t have to work in the kind of shit jobs I did during college to make ends meet. This is how you weed people out of the job market. This is how you punish people for being alive. This is what America is all about these days. It’s not about being the best you can be, it’s about being the best cog we can force you to be, because we don’t need you. We need obedient, compliant, scared little sycophants.

Remember, it’s not people who are important, it’s the corporation.

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