Stephanie Williams, a 29-year-old TV screenwriter, writes that former Yelp employee Talia Jane is “healthy, capable, white” in a scathing attack on the 25-year-old bellyacher’s tale of corporate despair.
Jane was fired by the San Francisco-based company hours after she penned an open letter to company CEO Jeremy Stoppelman on Medium, lamenting her inability to pay for her expensive rent and food on a bi-weekly wage of $733.24. Jane received national attention after the letter described being unable to afford rent, foot, and heat.
The young women said she made $12.25 an hour and spent 80 percent of it on renting an apartment by herself and also claimed she “hadn’t bought groceries” since she started working at Yelp, and she had been living off a bag of rice.
Williams, who describes herself as a Los Angeles-based TV screenwriter signed with United Talent Agency, wrote a blistering essay titled, “An Open Letter to Millennials Like Talia…”
In her letter, Williams recounts a harrowing and humbling journey in which she was fired from her first post-college job but clawed her way out of the depths of poverty to find a successful career.
Williams, who worked her way up the hierarchy at a restaurant before landing her current TV gig, goes after Jane and other millenials who feel they are above working in restaurants and coffee shops and skewers the attitudes of young people who feel “entitled.”
“Had you ended your whole whining disdain about full health coverage and expensive copays by saying you had taken a job at Starbucks, or a waitressing job in order to make money while you were on the search for a new job that requires the basic knowledge most teenagers with a Twitter account hold these days, I’d have maybe given you credit,” she writes to Jane. She further adds:
Saying you moved in with several roommates to cut costs, tried to budget in a way that was more practical, and applied for jobs that were more about salary and growth than bragging rights and trends, I’d say hey, she’s making an effort. But you are a young, white, English speaking woman with a degree and a family who I would assume is helping you out at the moment, and you are asking for handouts from strangers while you sit on your ass looking for cushy jobs you are not entitled to while you complain about the establishment, probably from a nice laptop. To you, that is more acceptable than taking a job in a restaurant, or a coffee shop, or a fast food place. And that’s the trouble with not just your outlook, but the outlook of so many people your age. You think it is somehow more impressive to ask strangers for money by writing some “witty” open letter than it is to put on your big girl pants and take a job you might be embarrassed by in order to make ends meet. And as someone who not only took the “embarrassing job”, but thrived at it, made bank from it and found a career path through it, I am utterly disgusted by your attitude.
In a follow-up post, Williams doubles down: “She is healthy, capable, white, degree holding and fluent and English. There is not one reason this girl should not have a job within 5 days time and absolutely no reason she needs handouts from strangers.”
Despite having what she described as “great” benefits, Jane went after Stoppelman last week for not paying her enough to live in an expensive apartment alone and later asked generous strangers for financial assistance. She wrote:
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 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. 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.
Talia then shared a number of links readers could use to donate money to her.