An Open Letter to Talia Jane and My Generation

Dear Talia,

Nobody owes you a thing. You took the easy way out in college, and now you aren’t qualified for a job in tech. Writing code and writing book reports are very different. Your letter was very well worded, so I guess that degree in English Lit. wasn’t a TOTAL waste. But I understand the logic. If you publicly attack a rich guy, you win. No matter what, you win. If he listens, you get a raise and continue doing a job that you’re unqualified for. If he ignores you, the company looks like an evil monster. Or BEST CASE SCENARIO, you get fired for bad mouthing your boss. DING DING DING DING!!! You hit the god damn jackpot! Now you get to be the victim you were hoping to appear as from the beginning. Now your boss looks like an inconsiderate sociopath. Great job!

But you’re only hurting yourself. You are now a liability to future employers. Now your useless degree combined with lack of decorum makes you the most unhireable person in the world. You were lucky enough to get into a gig like this with your lack of qualifications. And this all could have been avoided if you only knew how to adult. Here’s a quick lesson…

1.) Set yourself up for success — you were in college. You chose a major knowing the very limited options for employment at the end of that rainbow. You got a master’s in apples, knowing the money was in oranges.

2.) Live within your means — I want a Tesla. I cannot afford a Tesla. Therefore, I do not have a Tesla. I’m not blasting Elon Musk for making a product that I can’t afford. It’s good to have dreams and goals, but it is not anyone else’s fault that your dreams are larger than your means. Adults budget their money.

3.) Learn math (sub-sect of living within your means) — if you make $12.25/hour (or $8.15 after taxes), and you work full time, you’re bringing home $326 every week. Factoring your train commute, and you’re down to $276. That $50 a week you spend on commute alone accounts for 15% of your net earnings. Seems to me you can’t afford to have this job. You say that 80% of your income goes to rent. WHERE ARE YOU RENTING??? What TERRIBLE agent approved your application? The general rule is that rent is only a third of your income. It seems to me that you can’t afford your rental. You’re paying a very high price to be with the cool kids. If you could find a job close to home that paid the same, you would cut the $50 expense right out! IN FACT, you could take a PAY CUT down to $11 an hour and you would actually bring home MORE.

4.) Don’t bad mouth the big guy — biting the hand that feeds is never a good idea. Getting fired for crapping on the boss should NOT be a surprise to you. You’re not allowed to flip off the CEO and just go back to your cubicle. And here’s a secret, you’re not allowed to treat ANY of your coworkers in that manner. If you laterally bashed an employee in the exact same fashion, there would be HR meetings at minimum. This is basic workplace etiquette. And don’t think for one second that the HR nightmare employee is getting a good reference. You’re not a victim, you’re an idiot.

5.) Learn about insurance policies — having a $20 copay is not absurd. If you want your employer to give you the free ride package, it’s going to come out of your paycheck a little. You want that to change? Vote for Bernie. This is a medical regulations issue, not a YELP thing. The only way YELP can help you on this one is if you would like to scope reviews of Blue Shield.

You are the poster child for the Millennials’ sense of entitlement. You live in the Bay because you want to, not because you have to. You have these Gucci ambitions, but a FUBU budget. If you want a good paying job in tech, get qualified for a better position. Would you be upset if you took your English Lit. degree to a hospital and they refused to let you perform surgery? I hope not, but with your level of arrogance, I’m sure you’d write a scathing love letter for the public to sink their teeth into.

Now here’s how to fix it — apologize to your former employer. Part of being an adult is admitting your mistakes. Eat crow on this one. You are very much in the wrong and they’re handling it with extreme class and patience. They don’t have to. But since you’ve been coddled your entire life, they aren’t allowed to treat you like a grown up and simply say “EFF OFF!” Once you’ve apologized, use this opportunity to make a positive impact. Open up the dialogue for fair wages in a calm and lucid manner. Make yourself presentable and approachable. Be the face of the movement! But you’re going to have to come to the table with more than just emotions. You want to take money out of a rich guy’s pockets? You need to appeal to logos more than ethos, and stay VERY clear of pathos. This is a numbers man. He can’t throw your happy thoughts into a 401k.

And I’ll save you the research. I also have a useless degree, which is why I cannot find a good paying job in LA…which is why I live in Sacramento. I got mine in psychology with the intention of pursuing practice, but then I decided to start doing stand-up comedy instead. I’m 31, so we’re in the same generation. Though the tone of this letter doesn’t seem like it, I’m a raging liberal. I’m HUGE on workers’ rights and livable wages. I believe employees are underpaid across the board, but I also believe a lot of people are underqualified. If you have any other questions about me or my life, feel free to contact me. I would love grab a drink with you and Mr. Stoppelman and mediate this interaction in a calm and mature fashion. I’ll even pick up the tab because I don’t believe anyone owes me.

I look forward to the social backlash from overly sensitive Twitter fingers!