An Open Letter To The Whiny Employee Who Wrote The Open Letter To Yelp’s CEO

Hey Employee Who Wrote The Open Letter To Yelp’s CEO,

I feel you. I really do.

Except I don’t.

And honestly, if an employee at my company had publicly published the same musings about our leadership, I would have fired you too. Only sooner though. Two hours is a long lag time.

You see. I’m not so unlike you. I’m 25. I’m a woman working in the business sector. I’m trying to make life happen. Yet, we are worlds apart. Also I think you have better health insurance than me. Let me explain.

My first job after graduating with a Chemistry degree was as a self-employed operator of my company, Hüify, which I started with my newlywed partner and husband. (I got married the same day I graduated). We had a few solid paying clients at the time, totaling $2,250 a month, before taxes.

After taxes, and after giving 20% to charity (yes really), that left us, 2 people, with $1,468.52 a month. We arrived at that sum by taking the charity bit right off the top and subtracting what we should have withheld for self-employed taxes from that amount. By my calculations, that is about what you were making ($1466.48 as cited in your article), except I didn’t have health insurance (couldn’t afford it at the time), oh, and also that sum was meant to provide for two people.

That’s gas, for two people. Food, for two people. Rent and utilities, for two people.

I didn’t complain about it. We stayed at that rate for most of the year before we began to see our hard work invested in the business pay off. I still didn’t complain about it, because I chose to put myself in that place, much like you are choosing to put yourself 40 miles away from your place of employment in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

How did we do it? Well. We lived in a house that we could afford, for one thing. Let me tell you about it.

I lived with my husband in a shed, that our landlord had converted into a barn house shed thing.

It wasn’t so much a house, per se, and I will say per se because what I’m about to tell you merits ridiculous terms for emphasis. I lived with my husband in a shed, that our landlord had converted into a barn house shed thing. There was insulation, some dry wall, a bathroom, a fridge, stove, and an outdoor shower. Yes. My shower was in an old corn silo outside. It sounds hip. It wasn’t. Did I mention we got married in December? My first and fondest memories as a newlywed was my husband sprinting naked in the freezing cold out the back door to turn the shower on, so that when I got there it would be warmed up and I wouldn’t have to endure the icy water. We had to shower together, of course, because there was only 2 1/2 minutes of hot water available, and we couldn’t wait 3 hours for the tank to heat up again. He let me stay under the hot water the longest.

My prince charming. To each his own.

What did we pay for this luxurious temple of wedded bliss? $500 dollars a month. Why did we choose it? Because it was what we could afford. After all, we were chasing our dreams, and for your dreams to come true, you must sacrifice. You must sacrifice convenience and makeup and houses with indoor showers and being able to visit the doctor whenever you please. You must sacrifice being able to visit your parents who gave you everything because the trip home is too expensive. You must sacrifice friends who don’t understand the things that you do because yours is a lonely path that few people will ever dare to tread. You. Must. Sacrifice.

Home sweet home.

But not that much. We live in the United States of America. I don’t have to haul gallons of water on my head for hours a day across rough terrain just to stay alive and keep my children alive. That woman doesn’t choose to live far away from clean water. She just does.

You don’t have to stay in a city that costs you 85% of your income just to pay rent.

You and I don’t share the same fate as her. We choose how we arrange our lives to make our dreams come true. There is not the obstacle of survival in our way, only discomfort. You don’t have to stay in a city that costs you 85% of your income just to pay rent. That’s ridiculous.

An example of the shed we lived in before it was dressed up into barn shed house thing. This one’s cuter though.

My advice to you as someone who has lived in a shed and stayed the course long enough to experience the fruit of my discomforts, (increased my company’s revenue, hired 6 awesome employees, fired even more than that, no longer lives in a shed, moved into an amazing office space that is also not a shed), is this. Stop trying to rely on big companies giving you a shot at the position of your dreams. You don’t seem willing to give up what you’ll have to give up to get one of those positions. Why would you want to, anyway? Those positions are pretty great, but they’re not that great. Skimming your blog, you appear to have the talent. Freelance on Upwork, inbound.org, or any other of the bajillion sites that let people who need what you do pay you for what you do. Get paid a little less in the beginning until you have a portfolio that will allow you to charge more.

Sacrifice. Live in the stupid small town with the one movie theater and no culture if that’s what will allow you to make ends meet in the beginning. Eat24/Yelp and any other company shouldn’t have to subsidize your dreams––but you can, by moving to an affordable town, having crappy health insurance, and betting on yourself instead of betting on some company.

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