Seems like they will never learn. Not a week goes by without a high-profile case of some dumb employee getting canned over something they posted on social media. Honestly, this should not be a problem at this point. Adults should understand the difference between what is and is not acceptable online behavior. But. They. Don’t.
Case in point: Talia Ben-Ora.
You’ve probably read about her. The VERY former Yelp employee got her pink slip by publishing a screw you letter to her boss, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, complaining about her low pay and intimating she didn’t earn enough to live and eat. She may have used more polite terms, but the result was the same. Instant termination.
Here’s an excerpt:
“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 … 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.”
Okay, so she MAY have been okay at this point. She just said her coworkers are struggling. No blame has been assigned just yet. Ben-Ora went on to say:
“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.”
Okay, so this is a fairly common complaint for young people. Entry-level jobs are notorious for being low-paying. But, of course, they are. The employer doesn’t really know what you’re worth yet. No one really expects to live off of them. Just ask anyone who has more than ten years of work experience. They started poor and worked their way up. It’s just the way of things.
Well, not in Talia world. Instead of realizing she was being paid precisely what she was worth to the company, Ben-Ora demanded that Stoppelman help her pay her phone bill, her gas, and her electricity. And she took for granted the fact that her employer paid for her health insurance in full.
Apparently, it never occurred to Talia she could take the bus and turn that gas money into cash for her smartphone.
Stoppelman made it clear he sympathized, agreeing that the cost of living in Frisco is high. But that’s where his sympathy ended. He did say she was not fired because of the complaint letter, but that’s tough to believe.
Then again, there was also the Tumblr account in which Talia consistently derided her now former employer. Could that have contributed? Certainly. But the real culprit here is the seemingly viral strain of stupid some adults seem to contract after downloading a social media app.
David Milberg is an investor from New York City.