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Young Employee Asks CEO For Living Wage; Gets Fired Instead

When 80 percent of your paycheck goes to rent, what's an employee to do?
Young Employee Asks CEO For Living Wage; Gets Fired Instead

I remember what it feels like to be out of college and have your first job. I even remember stretching that paycheck way farther than it could stretch, and what that felt like.

But this story. Just so wrong. The writer used to work for Yelp/Eat24. Until she wrote her CEO, she was an employee. Shortly after she sent this, she was fired.

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. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?

She lives in the San Francisco Bay area, which is one of the most expensive areas in California, because so many Silicon Valley firms headquarter there. But she did get benefits.

Let’s talk about those benefits, though. They’re great. I’ve got vision, dental, the normal health insurance stuff — and as far as I can tell, I don’t have to pay for any of it! Except the copays. $20 to see a doctor or get an eye exam or see a therapist or get medication. Twenty bucks each is pretty neat, if spending twenty dollars didn’t determine whether or not you could afford to get to work the next week.

Did I tell you about how I got stuck in the east bay because my credit card, which amazingly allows cash withdrawals, kept getting declined and I didn’t have enough money on my BART Clipper card to get to work? Did I tell you that my manager, with full concern and sympathy for my situation, suggested I just drive through FastTrak and get a $35 ticket for it that I could pay at a later time, just so I could get to work? Did I tell you that an employee at CVS overheard my phone call with my manager and then gave me, straight from his wallet, the six dollars I needed to drive into work? Do you think CVS pays more than Yelp? I worked a job similar to one at CVS. A manager spends half an hour training you on the cash register, you watch a video, maybe take a brief quiz, and you’re fully trained to do the entire job. Did you know that after getting hired back in August, I’m still being trained for the same position I’ve got? But Marcus at CVS has six dollars in his wallet, and I’m picking up coins on the street trying to figure out how I’ll be able to pay him back.


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Her pay worked out to about $8.15 per hour after taxes. That's nowhere near enough to live in that area and eat and pay your bills.

Speaking of that whole training thing, do you know what the average retention rate of your lowest employees (like myself) are? Because I haven’t been here very long, but it seems like every week the faces change. Do you think it’s because the pay your company offers is designed to attract young people with no responsibilities, sort of like the CIA? Except these people don’t even throw away their trash, because they still live at home and this is their very first job and they don’t have to take an aptitude test like at the CIA. Do you know how many cash coupons I used to give out before I was properly trained? In one month, I gave out over $600 to customers for a variety of issues. Now, since getting more training, I’ve given out about $15 in the past three months because I’ve been able to de-escalate messed up situations using just my customer service skills. Do you think that’s coincidence? Or is the goal to have these free bleeders who throw money at angry customers to calm them down set the standard for the whole company? Do you think there’s any point in training a customer service agent to learn and employ customer service skills? Or is it better to attract those first-time employees with their poor habits and lack of work ethic with the same wage part-time employees at See’s Candies make for standing by the door in a stupid outfit and handing out free chocolate? Do you think those free chocolates cost $600 a month per employee? Have you ever seen an angry See’s Candies customer? You know what I could do with $600 extra a month? For starters, I probably wouldn’t have to take money from Marcus at CVS just to get to work.

Will you pay my phone bill for me? I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. 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 40 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. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work? Have you ever drank a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work? I woke up today with stomach pains. I made myself a bowl of rice.

Well, now she's fired. And likely ineligible for unemployment.

And people wonder why there's anger.

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