I was raised in basically a two mother household – with my single mom as my full time parent and my grandmother subbing in as my mother was deployed and assigned to trainings and bases throughout my own elementary education years. We moved 13 times between the time I started kindergarten and graduated high school and I’m confident that number would have been much higher had my grandmother continued to pursue her career rather than opt for an early retirement and live with us.
My mom dutifully served as part of the US Army and let me tell you, there is no reviews site for being part of the Army because the Army doesn’t care. They have a standard of excellence everyone is held to and if someone breaks that code, things are taken care of behind the scenes – not on some employer reviews site like Glassdoor or some millennia’s blog.
Perhaps that’s why I have such a distinct opinion about all the recent “letters to the CEO” coming out. For me, when things go horribly wrong at a job – it’s not time to hit back. It’s time to self reflect in your choices and planning. It’s time to think about how you might make better career choices. Just because you’re offered a job does not mean you need to accept it.
I don’t even know why I have to explain why it’s not ok to talk poverty with your employer but, in jest, I’m going to respond to this letter on behalf of the CEOs everywhere who get these letters. Now, I don’t know the guy at Yelp, but I can imagine what he’s thinking. I’m not going to sugar coat this. Nor will I remove the swearing that I’m sure happened.
And I’m not trying to kick anyone while they’re down. I just want these people to realize the broader implications of posting a message like this and the lessons that should be taken away – but probably won’t, since I’ve watched all of them just trying to crowd fund their way out of this pickle instead of actually, I don’t know, making better choices.
I call you kid because let’s face it, no adult would write a letter like this. Let’s get one thing straight. The world isn’t your oyster. There’s not always an exciting opportunity behind every door. I, nor anyone else on this team, forced you to take this job and while you may have had a bad experience – you chose that.
You did not negotiate salary, yet you claim our salaries are a reflection of you. You have no sense of what it might cost to run a $300 million dollar business, made clear by everything in these letters revolving around our financials.
I think what I’m really reading here is that you’re suffering the consequences of having bad business sense and clearly bad business etiquette and that makes you mad. Again, I get it. Life is hard. We all fall down.
But rather than taking it out on my company and I, making demands as if your joy is critical to my success – I would suggest you ask yourself a few questions about your career, your goals, and your budget before you jump into another job without doing your due diligence. You know, if you can even get one after someone googles you and finds this shit storm.
- Do you actually know how much it would take to live a comfortable life here in San Francisco? Do you have an excel sheet that tracks that information so you can make budget decisions? Next time, factor that in before you accept a salary that doesn’t actually do that. There are websites for that budget thing if you’re not a numbers person. The fact that you took a job paying you less than you needed to survive without a savings account is just plain irresponsible. #duh
- Why would you even apply for jobs in a metro area with the highest cost of living in our nation when you have no savings account? Look for moderately priced on-the-rise metros to go to, like Nashville or Austin. Get your experience, save some cash then move to a bigger city to pursue the next step (and a fat raise).
- If you wanted a job one step up, in the future – I’d suggest you go for that job instead of taking people at their word and accepting a role that doesn’t work for you. I don’t know the actual context that you were in, not does it really matter. The lesson is clear: in the business world, anything that’s not in writing is nothing. It’s a fart in the wind, if you catch my drift.
- You are not owed anything. Perks are perks and we decide how and when we deliver them, up to the damn fruit snacks. You’re lucky I don’t hoard that shit in my closet and keep visiting hours like some prison snack shop – it’s that expensive. The benefits are expensive for us too, even if you pick the shit plan. Let me emphasize that. YOU PICK. We didn’t pick that for you.
- You will never have a job where you get a trophy for every brilliant idea you have. So stop acting like you deserve one or that everyone should follow your marching orders because you think you’re really smart.
I get it. Life is harder when you’re stupid.
*Note: this is all written in jest. There’s no need to go defending anyone because I believe these lessons to be true for all people. I’m not commenting on Yelp’s actual work conditions or anyone’s personal situation. We each have our own opinions. That’s ok.*
Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.