An Open Letter To My CEO
talia jane

Dear Talia,

It’s millennials like you (sorry!) that really get my blood boiling. I also find it comical that your blog tagline reads “better at thinking about things than actually doing them.” I really hope that’s also not your work ethic. If so, this totally all makes sense now.

Anyway… Ironically, I too decided to move from my hometown and work for Yelp at the ripe age of 23. Back then they had the hiring salary of $30K. When at that time was peanuts. What did $30K get me in San Francisco?? Several roommates, numerous NON-luxurious nights in, several trips to consignment shops and most importantly the drive to “make it” or “break it”.

Did I ever ask for help? Sure. Admittedly the year after Yelp IPO’d (and I realized I knew very little about selling stock & short term capital gain), I did ask for help. Let’s just say rent was cutting it a little too close that month taxes were due the following year. (Ahemmm, there is a lesson here all you startup junkies: educate yourselves as much as you can about IPO’s and the nitty gritty on stocks and how to properly sell/ earn off vested shares!). Nevertheless, asking for help was one thing, but giving up, going home or even complaining was NEVER an option. After all, wasn’t it my decisions that got me there?!

2.5 years later of taking that job was the day I left Yelp. And believe it or not, I left with a smile knowing to myself that I made it. When I left I was in the top 5% of my sales class. Something that didn’t come without scraping and learning to get there. Yelp had even taught me SO much about sales and taking risks that I decided to challenge myself yet again and roll the dice on (gasp!) yet another startup.

Now, 3 amazing startups later, I make a great and very comfortable living off sales in the very industry that got me my start, Tech. If I hadn’t had the “YELP Experience” maybe my drive wouldn’t be the same today. Or maybe it would… one thing I never was.. .was a complainer.

Yes, I am aware that SF has gotten far more expensive and I am empathetic to that, but where I strongly disagree with you is writing an open letter to your CEO. There are many that would love to be in your place (and trust me Yelp will fill your shoes fast) and have the ability to drink flavored coconut water whenever they so choose and be a part of the so called “tech life” is SF.

My suggestion to Talia would be as simple as this: It’s time to put your BIG GIRL pants on. YOU made the decision to move, YOU took the job & the salary, YOU make it work.

Now approaching my 30's, I am ever so thankful Yelp is on my resume and taught me something so invaluable called “gumption!”


From someone who has been there and done that.

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