She yelped about her poor pay and yelp fired her – the washington post wd gaster

The latest financial story to go viral is about Talia Ben-Ora, a former employee of Yelp, who wrote an online letter to her boss, Yelp chief executive Jeremy Stoppelman, complaining about her paltry pay and how she didn’t earn enough to eat. She lives in San Francisco and worked in customer support for Eat24, Yelp’s food delivery company.

“Here I am, 25-years-old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week,” Ben-Ora wrote on the website Medium using the byline Talia Jane. “Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage.”

She went on to write: “I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this 10-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.”

Ben-Ora also pleaded to Stoppelman: “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 ($1,245) for my apartment that’s 30 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.”

In 2015, San Francisco was ranked the third most expensive urban area in the United States, The Washington Post’s Lindsey Bever reported in a story about Ben-Ora. As you might imagine, a lot is being debated about this young woman’s motives and missive.

In one tweet Stoppleman wrote: “I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me.” In another tweet he said: “Two sides to every HR story so Twitter army please put down the pitchforks.”

“The question Talia Jane raised, about whether lower-rung tech workers are fairly compensated, continues to come up,” wrote Greg Sandoval for GeekWire.com. “The past few years have been a boom period for the tech sector, and yet some in the industry feel left out.”

“Look, poverty and starvation are no joke. But this woman’s self-indulgent hyperbole is beyond parody,” Malkin wrote. “Somehow, Jane was able to un-double herself up from her hunger-induced fetal position to get on her smartphone to tweet constantly. She also maintains a Tumblr site on which she routinely derided her (now former) employer, along with her own eponymous blog and separate Paypal, Venmo and Square Cash accounts to collect reader donations in the aftermath of her wholly justified firing.”

I did wince several times as Ben-Ora tried to make us feel sorry for her. Writing about the misery of working her way up the ladder she said: “I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department. A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food.”

Color of Money Question of the Week What do you think of Ben-Ora’s strategy to draw attention to her financial plight? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. In the subject line put “Yelp.” Please include your name, city and state.

Live Chat Today Join me at noon to talk about debt, which many of you know is one of my favorite topics. My guest will be DeForest B. Soaries Jr., senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J. Soaries’s book “Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom” is the Color of Money Book Club selection this month. Here’s my review. Soaries’s mission is much like mine, which is to help folks become debt-free. Here’s the link to join the conversation.

Spending $1,000 to play Candy Crush During a recent online discussion, someone asked about spending on an addiction to the mobile game Candy Crush. The person had spent close to $1,000 over the last two years “buying extra crap you need to win the games.”

Joanne Coleman of Boston wrote: “I am also addicted to the game Candy Crush and found that I spent more and more to move on with the game. Part of the reason for that spending was that my credit card number was saved. Once I changed it from being saved, I was able to move on after not clearing a level instead of buying my way through the level.”

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.