Talia Jane, Millennials, and Extremes

The social justice hot topic of the moment in the United States comes to us straight from the the most hated generation to come of age since the cast members of Reality Bites could afford health insurance. As someone born in the tail end of Gen X, I have to say that I am grateful to Millennials for distracting the Baby Boomers from us, much in the way Ian Malcolm led the T-Rex away from Sam Neil and those kids in the overturned Jeep. I feel for you, Millennials, as most Gen Xers spent their early twenties similarly disparaged by a generation who continues to insist that if they could buy a house with cash at age twenty-four (when the average new home cost roughly $30,000.00), then so too should a Millennial be able to afford a new house in their twenties (despite the current price for a new home resting somewhere around the $200,000.00 mark). As someone whose Boomer in-laws gifted my husband and I with a book titled You’re Broke Because You Want To Be when we’d just lost our house, I keenly understand the frustration felt by a generation being held to wildly outdated standards.

And it’s clearly that frustration that led Talia Jane to write “An Open Letter To My CEO“. In it, Jane describes the extreme poverty she and other employees of Yelp, an internet company that enables anyone with a smartphone to become a pro-am food critic, experience while trying to live in the San Francisco area on a $12/hr salary. The responses to the article are divided into two camps of extreme opposites, with one side viewing Jane as a working class hero exposing the truth about wage inequality, and the other side painting her as a spoiled Millennial brat who doesn’t want to work hard to get ahead in life. Even fellow Millennials have roasted her, like Stephanie Williams, who boasted about her ability to overcome the same circumstances through hard work and commitment that sounds an awful lot like a combination of luck and privilege that Jane doesn’t share.

After seeing people I know, from every age group and walk of life, weigh in on Jane’s piece, I began to wonder if I was the only person standing firmly between those two unforgiving poles. Is it possible to view wage inequality and poverty as serious issues affecting our country, especially our youngest adults, while at the same time finding it difficult to praise Jane or her letter?

When I read Jane’s piece, I was with her on her overall point: if a company chooses to operate their business out of what is known to be the U.S. city with the highest cost of living, it should be obligated to pay its employees a living wage. I’ve seen a lot of people suggesting Jane should simply move to another city. It seems a simple solution, but on an annual salary of $24,000.00, the costs of moving would likely set her back even further. I’ve seen plenty of accusations of entitlement on Jane’s part–”just because she wants to live in the Bay area doesn’t mean she just gets to if she can’t afford it!”–but very few calling out Yelp. If we’re talking about entitlement here, doesn’t it stand to reason that the company that showed a $32.9 million net income last year should be the ones doing the moving? Is it not a gross display of blatant entitlement for a company to ask its employees to simply be grateful for their meager paychecks so the company can occupy desirable real estate? Since it began, Yelp has only shown a profit in 2014. Their revenue was down in 2015. If it’s too expensive for Talia Jane to live in San Fransisco, then can’t the same be said of Yelp?

On the other hand, the job Jane had with Yelp, while not paying a living wage, included benefits that many post-college jobs don’t. For example, the free food that starving employees ravaged. Jane’s complaint about these snacks not being stocked on the weekends likely seemed the pinnacle of entitlement to readers who not only don’t have break room food to scavenge, but who also watch their children go hungry on weekends because the only meals they get are their free–and meager–school lunches. I’m reminded of the woman I worked with at McDonald’s, who would take her free break meal home in her purse and divide up the medium fries and six piece nuggets between her two kids, while she went hungry. She was eventually fired when she was caught eating breakfast food she’d been asked to throw in the trash during changeover. Almost every working- and middle-class American has a story like that to share, either of their own experiences or someone else’s, so it’s no wonder that Jane’s complaint of not receiving the free food due to her on weekends was met with an extreme response.

Her Instagram account received similar criticism. Since January, Jane has posted photos of homemade cupcakes garnished with fresh mint and sliced fruit, expensive bourbon, and a steak dinner she made for a friend. The backlash against her was such that her Instagram account is now private, but someone was so irritated by the images that directly contradicted her claims of hunger pains and an all-rice diet that they now host screenshots of images taken from her account on thatsalotofrice.com, the domain name itself a withering condemnation. Jane has since explained that many of the meals pictured on her Instagram were given to her, and that she only posts positive images to her account. Who among us can say that we’ve never used social media to make our lives seem more pulled together or glamorous? If that’s one of Jane’s sins, it’s minor at best.

I bristle at the assertion that people living in poverty don’t deserve “luxury” items. Only five years ago I sat in the parking lot of a pawn shop, sobbing, because my engagement ring would fetch only $35.00, but it was a $35.00 that could feed us for several days. While I ultimately held on to the ring–damn my sentimentality–I came home to find that a politically conservative relative had made a passive aggressive Facebook post, cryptically alluding to this family she happened to know who claimed to need food stamps, but whose children had electronic devices. The devices she referred to had been given to my children by my mother-in-law for Christmas; that we couldn’t find it in our hearts to snatch them away from our kids so as to be poor correctly was considered a moral failing.

I don’t fault Jane for keeping her expensive bourbon; I do fault her for not making her Instagram private before she started this internet firestorm. By not doing so, the self-righteous arbiters of what strangers should be spending money on have further ammunition with which to discredit all poor people everywhere. The people who fully believe that poverty is simply living it up without obligation. The senators who insist that welfare and food stamp recipients should only eat rice and beans, rather than spend the tax payers’ hard earned dollars on steak and lobster (while cleverly ignoring the fact that, as government employees, the tax payers’ hard earned dollars are paying for every politician’s steak and lobster). Jane’s intent may have been to expose the reality of poverty, but she greatly exaggerated her circumstances by claiming that she’s only eating rice and barely staving off hunger pains. “Most of the food I eat is free from the break room or occasionally gifted to me by friends who can actually afford groceries,” would have been honest and less damaging to the coworkers who struggle right along with her. One wonders what will become of those break room goodies now that she’s revealed that employees routinely take them home at the end of the day.

Others have criticized Jane for her reckless actions, which resulted in her termination. Numerous unemployed people have criticized her for throwing away a job that “anyone” would be happy to have. Obviously, Jane was not happy to have the job; she had to know that the outcome of not only blasting the company CEO on Twitter (going so far as to suggest he fire her), but writing a scathing viral blog post, would end with unemployment. That’s her choice to make, but it is an objectively foolish one. If Jane was starving on $12/hr, how will that situation improve on $0/hr? She announced the news of her firing with handy links to places where people could send her money. It’s a shrewd choice; she’s already made more money by capitalizing on her viral fame than she would have in a month at Yelp, and this experience may lead to job offers that suit her better. But it’s hard to fault people for being cynical when one of Jane’s infamous Instagram photos is a text in which she bemoans the fact that she doesn’t have a big enough internet presence to induce people to send her money for nothing. While money-for-nothing is the dream of every American, it’s also the allegation made by those aforementioned enemies of the poor, who will now seize on Jane’s words as “proof” that all Millennials and all impoverished people are secretly lazy and horrible, and who could fix their circumstances entirely with bootstraps and elbow grease.

Further fueling that cynicism is Jane’s complaint at learning she would have to wait a year before being considered for a promotion. Of course that’s going to be met with scoffs and eye rolls. But at the same time, attacking Jane for getting a “useless” degree should be met with equal measures of disdain. Outside of STEM and medical fields, not many people find themselves in jobs directly relating to their college majors. Working at Yelp was probably not covered in Jane’s studies, but she landed the position, anyway. She’s obviously capable of finding employment despite the egregious burden of her “useless” college experience.

Does Jane’s original letter raise salient points about wage inequality in the United States? Absolutely. Does she still come off as entitled and dishonest about her circumstances? I think she does. Are all Millennials likewise exaggerating and embellishing valid complaints for dramatic effect? No, but if you’re one of the Gen Xers or Baby Boomers who eat up every click-bait article confirming that wrong opinion for you, your mind is already made up on that point. But can we move past the ideology that if a person is right about something, it automatically means their motives were righteous? Or that a person has to have righteous motives to point out what should be obvious in the first place?

Criticism of Jane’s piece shouldn’t be seen as an automatic denial of the serious economic failings in our country. But it’s entirely possible to point out the areas where Jane is right without making excuses to defend all the places where she’s wrong. Am I saying that Jane has no right to complain about her circumstances when there are other people in worse situations? No, that’s a silly belief for people to ascribe to, as there will always be someone who has it worse, and who may not be in a position to speak out against the inequalities that are holding them down. What I’m saying is that while it may seem that Jane has made heroic overtures in the battle for socioeconomic equality, uncritical defense of her open letter only advances Jane and destroys the credibility of other Millennials struggling to clear the poverty line. “See?” deniers will say. “None of them are really poor. And they clearly don’t need food stamps or student loan forgiveness when they can just make a GoFundMe.”

Millennials are no better or worse than Gen Xers or Baby Boomers. Just like Monica Lewinsky is not every Gen Xer and Jeffrey Skilling is not every Baby Boomer, Talia Jane is not every Millennial. She’s also not the poster child for every impoverished worker in America, nor should she be. Until we’re willing to have nuanced conversations about the realities of poverty and the people affected by it, we won’t see any headway in correcting our attitudes toward it. That means that we must accept that if poor people can be as hardworking and honest as a rich person, then they can also be just as opportunistic and bend the truth as much as a rich person. Either way, no one deserves to struggle the way so many struggle in a nation that prides itself on its economic superiority. Not Talia Jane, and not anyone else, regardless of which generation they were born into.

61 thoughts on “Talia Jane, Millennials, and Extremes

  1. Very well put. Thank you! Why can’t people see down the middle? Everything is either “people are leeching off the system” or “They make too much money.”

  2. Great post. It’s unfortunate that our 140-character culture means that people feel compelled to have (and immediately express) only extreme views on a situation and essay like Jane’s.

    I pumped my fist when you detailed your personal experience with the constant judgment that those in poverty endure for not being poor in the “right” way. Those of us lucky enough to never have experienced true poverty need to check our fucking privilege. Capitalism, especially the way the US does it, makes it really fucking expensive to be poor-how can one make a “right” choice when the system is so stacked against one? Unless you’ve had to make a choice between paying an overdraft fee or not buying groceries for your family, staying home with a sick child and losing your job or leaving them home alone with some aspirin and an ice pack, selling the car to pay medical bills or going into further debt so you have a way to get around, how the fuck can you actually know what a poor person has actually experienced? And don’t get me started on our modern system of what are, essentially, debtors’ prisons that KILL people: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/2/24/1490725/-Woman-Arrested-AT-A-HOSPITAL-for-Failure-to-Pay-Fines-Dies-of-Dehydration-in-Jail

    Basically all these judgmental assholes can go fuck themselves and burn.

  3. I don’t get this whole pitting generations against each other thing.

    Did your in-laws really gift you and your husband You’re Broke Because You Want To Be? That’s… a special kind of dickish.

  4. I really love this article. It’s, honestly, the first time I’m hearing of Talia Jane – and that’s fine by me, because I really appreciate this nuanced and balanced look at it.

    I was recently compelled to get involved in a discussion on Facebook in my community group where someone posted that they were sick of people complaining that they didn’t have a job and are looking for work, but then when offered something these people had the *nerve* to ask how much it paid – and they should “just be grateful” for any work at all. That they were lazy and just “wanted a handout” since they were being so picky.

    I get where the sentiment comes from, but it’s obviously from people who have never struggled before. There are days when I seriously look at my income (and my wife’s) and consider the fact that what we pay in daycare and fuel to get to work is pretty much the reason one of us is working…we need to be conscious of that when we accept jobs. Some of them simply make the situation worse instead of better, despite having a job that we should, apparently, be grateful to have.

    1. People can’t wrap their heads around the idea that jobs can sometimes leave you paying to work. Child care is one of those areas. Like, most minimum wage jobs aren’t going to cover child care at all, so if one parent stays home, that’s a better financial decision. Or when people say, “You should just get a second job.” Okay, well, they’ve got their second job, but they can’t afford the bus fair/gas for their car to get there. How are they getting ahead by taking a job that won’t cover those expenses?

      1. Our child care for a fortnight is close to our mortgage payment for the fortnight. My husband would like to get a permanent job (got forced on to casual), but mostly the jobs he can find are for a few hours every day rather than a couple of full days. This would double our childcare requirements (and the cost) while leaving us with pretty much the same income and that would put us well behind. Here in Australia, there’s serious disincentives to getting more hours if you’re part time due to the way other costs increase and any assistance you may be getting drops off steeply so you end up worse off. Working more should never leave you financially worse off but too often it does.

      2. People also really like to believe poverty is a result of faulty morality, because if they faced the fact that “good” people can be poor, too, then they have to acknowledge that they could find themselves in the same situation and all their moralizing “goodness” won’t help them. Also cutting into their personal notion that Skybeard is *their* special BFF.

    2. Spot on. I don’t live in America but we get that attitude in Australia, too. Our job agencies are government-run now (where they used to be privatized) so that the powers-that-be can keep a closer eye on us have-nots, and they give the agencies the power to dob on us if we don’t attend one of the many, many meetings with our case manager per month or turn down a ‘perfectly reasonable’ job. I’m studying atm but not long ago I was placed in a cleaning position which meant I had to drive all over town and beyond, often several times a day, just to get to a job. Which of course cost me petrol money and wore down my already tired old car. We have to take the practicalities of accepting a job offer into account, because some are just more trouble than they’re worth.

    3. Spot on. I don’t live in America but we get that attitude in Australia, too. Our job agencies are privatized but that doesn’t stop the powers-that-be from keeping a close eye on us have-nots. They also gave the agencies the power to dob on us if we don’t attend one of the many, many meetings with our case manager per month or turn down a ‘perfectly reasonable’ job. I’m studying atm but not long ago I was placed in a cleaning position which meant I had to drive all over town and beyond, often several times a day, just to get to a job. Which of course cost me petrol money and wore down my already tired old car. We have to take the practicalities of accepting a job offer into account, because some are just more trouble than they’re worth. I hate that the Baby Boomer generation can then turn around and accuse us of being lazy and not wanting to work.

  5. I haven’t read Jane’s original letter or seen her Instagram, but I read the “rebuttal” by Stephanie Williams, and it simultaneously put my back up and made me extremely sad for her.

    Her overall message was “I gave up finding a career in my field and worked grueling hours that separated me from my loved ones on holidays, and the fact that you don’t want to do the same makes me more awesome than you, you whiny baby.” I mean, god forbid that a young member of the workforce have a rude awakening upon learning that her ultra-cool tech job would lead her down a path of financial insecurity! How dare she expect more from the people employing her and profiting from her labor! How dare she hope for job advancement!

    I’ve been there, sort of. I was unceremoniously let go after my last job got its budget destroyed. (Fun fact: it was a government-funded position, so I actually got to watch the state house session where they voted not to fund it anymore. Super exciting to watch your pink slip get handed down via streaming video, let me tell you.) It wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it did go from “you’ve got steady employment” to “there’s the door” in the space of a week.

    I was unemployed for 8 months and they were possibly the worst 8 months of my life. Here’s the catch: I had savings. I could stay in my apartment and subsistence-live, basically. I frantically applied to any job that would take me, but walked that fine line between being over-qualified for service work and under-qualified for office work. I ended up getting a job that I still have and that I love, but the point is, I know I was lucky in my situation (relatively speaking). I know plenty of friends who have been unemployed for YEARS, had to move back in with their parents, put up with unhappy relationships because they lacked the resources to leave, and things like that.

    I say all that to say this: I don’t judge people for being poor “the wrong way”. I was poor the wrong way. I didn’t find a roommate, I didn’t take a job in the service industry or as a cashier, and I had a reliable car and a nice phone. I had the ability to do it, I weighed the costs, and decided it was worth it to keep my independence as long as possible, even if it meant never going to the movies and finding new and exciting ways to eat chickpeas.

    I also feel Jane on having her Instagram scrutinized. Is the notion that people make their lives sound better on social media than they really are some kind of news? If you looked at my Insta through my unemployment, you probably wouldn’t know I was going through bouts of debilitating depression, because that’s not what it’s for. Sometimes I think people go out of their way to deliberately misinterpret things.

    TL;DR: I mostly side with Talia Jane on this one, even though I know she’s hardly the only person in the Bay Area who’s suffering these problems. Why not put herself out there and bring attention to it? $12/hr is barely livable in my city, which has a much more reasonable cost of living than San Francisco. That Yelp would pay its employees so little is pretty awful.

    1. The Stephanie Williams response also has a weird undercurrent of envy/bitterness/hatred regarding people who succeeded in landing a more prestigious job than she used to have. Apparently, those were all miserable cokeheads who lied about their jobs totally sucking.

  6. As someone who is in this nebulous ‘over qualified for the crap jobs, under qualified for the rest, so no one will hire me’ zone and trying to live off ever dwindling savings and credit (anyone know anyone hiring in London? XD ), I have a great deal of empathy for people struggling to get by. But it’s also incredibly hard not to see people like that and think ‘I would kill for $12/hr and free food right now…’ There’s this instinctual, ‘part of your life is better than part of mine, so stop complaining’ little nagging bastard of a voice that pops up whether you logically understand that it’s not that simple or not. And a lot of people just go with that voice, not really giving it any deeper thought.

    This happens with the older generations looking at the younger generations all the time. They see us with iPhones and computers and just all these little things that make certain things a million times easier than they used to be and they seem to forget that it’s also caused a whole host of raised standards. Now that we have access to all these things people are a lot less forgiving of mistakes. They expect you to be able to work harder and more efficiently. They expect you to be able to have skills that didn’t even EXIST a couple of decades ago, and to be able to update those skills at a dramatic rate. Not to mention what you already point out, that cost of living has drastically increased and wages have only gone up a marginal amount. You get a lot less for the same or more money now than you did in, say, the 80′s. And on top of that higher education is basically a must now and it costs a lot more to get. But all they see is people who they think have advantages they’d have killed for complaining that it’s not good enough.

    This specific person does seem to have some issues with entitlement but as you say, that doesn’t make her complaints about wages wrong. And it certainly doesn’t mean an entire generation of people are selfish and lazy. As a millennial (depending on who you ask anyway. Some say I was born before the cut off, others say just after) who worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for months at a time and who worked with many other people my age or younger all doing the same thing, I know a lot of millennials who are more than happy to work their asses off. I also know a few people my age or younger who are incredibly lazy and would rather put out half-assed youtube videos hoping to get internet famous because they think that would be easier (yes, I know there are lots of people who put a lot of effort into making videos, those are not the ones I’m talking about). Funny thing that. A whole generation of people is a LOT of people. There’s some who are lazy pricks, some who are willing to work but don’t particularly want to, and some who are more than happy to work their asses off to get what they want from life. Some of all of those people will find success, some will get by, and some will struggle no matter what they do or don’t do, because of circumstances over which they have very little, if any, control. Some of them will squander opportunities they are given and some would thrive but they’re never given a chance.

    Trying to lump hundreds of millions of people all together into one big group that all get the same stamp put on their heads is as ridiculous as saying everyone from Europe is French. I’ve never understood that mindset.

  7. I don’t think that there is an age bias when it comes to the cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s just plain expensive! My 3 roommates and myself pay over $2,000 a month of a one bedroom apartment in Alameda. Want you to read what was in the local news yesterday –

    ‘It’s a death sentence’: Facing eviction, 97-year-old woman may wind up on streets
    By Peter Holley

    For 66 years, Marie Hatch has occupied the same two-bedroom home in the city of Burlingame, a high-priced San Francisco suburb.
    The retired bakery worker thought she would live out her days in her ornately furnished cottage, where’s she’s amassed a lifetime’s worth of memories.
    But earlier this month, the 97-year-old, who is battling cancer, received an eviction notice, her friends say.
    Her landlord gave Hatch 60 days to vacate the home or be thrown out by sheriff’s deputies.
    Neither Hatch nor 85-year-old Georgia Rothrock, her roommate of more than three decades, has any relatives to stay with. Surrounded by the most expensive real estate market in the country, both women fear they’ll wind up homeless, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
    In Hatch’s weakened state, friends and relatives say, her impending eviction is not just an order to vacate the property — it’s a death sentence.
    “I have a lot of tears, a lot of happiness, a lot of memories in this house,” she added. “It is my home. Where can I go?”
    In San Mateo County — where the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom unit is a whopping $3,222 — there’s no easy answer.

  8. Thanks for writing this. The whole situation and its backlash enrage me past the point of coherence. I tend to come down on Talia’s side, because of my personal experience (early Gen X, struggled all my life), and I hate seeing people use any excuse at all to dismiss the core of what she’s saying. Maybe she should have been smarter about it, yes. If I’d been writing an impassioned blog at 2 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep, I doubt I’d have been any smarter. I don’t think there’s ever going to BE a perfect “poster child” for economic inequality and bad labor practices. No one can perform poverty well enough not to be examined and blamed.

  9. Oh boy. I really wanted to side with Talia Jane but I’m cringing now while reading her post. I really feel for her cause I’m a millennial English major living in the Bay Area now and my first job was 10/hr. That was NOT a living wage and I wasn’t even living in SF. I’m sure the only reason she could support herself was because of that free food.

    But it’s clear from reading her article that she has no real sense of other people’s realities. Not the realities of people who are poorer than her nor baby boomers who will sieze stuff like ” hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food.”

    I really feel for her and it sucks that she was fired, but this article is ridiculously tone deaf. A lot of this stuff should’ve stayed between her and her friends.

    Side note: Working in SF and living outside of SF for 12/hr isn’t really an option. Traffic gets UNREAL in and around SF and public transportation is not much cheaper. And while living in SF costs the most, living anywhere in the Bay Area still costs a ton.

    1. Thing is, while us GenXers can see yhe tone-deafness in her post, she’s native to the sensibilities. Millennials vent on social media the way we call our friends on the phone. Boomers complained to their neighbors. And I believe some of the resentment towards her is precisely because sge posted on social media *and went viral*. She got heard, by a lot of people. Something all but impossible before her generation came along.

      Also buried in there is the idea that she even has a sense of deserving better, because in spite of the constant barrage of advertising telling us to aspire to a higher quality of life, we are certainly never supposed to actually pursue those aspirations or act to fulfill them. We are simply supposed to envy those who have it better and congratulate them on their superior morality.

  10. Spot on. I am so tired of the demon-ization of those who are poor or have money problems, while our government continues to cut funding of social welfare programs that keep people afloat and increase spending on military endeavors. I want my tax money to go to the common good. Bombs and crazy expensive jets are not helping my fellow people. Neither are tax cuts to the wealthy. Things were easier when the Boomers were growing up because they had actual functioning programs that helped people from hitting rock bottom. We don’t have that anymore, the Republicans have cut it all out of our budget.

  11. Why is it so hard for people to see the middle? That’s something I never got. You think it’d be the easiest stance to see on an issue!
    My mom lived on a pretty tight purse the whole time she was growing up: my grandma’s a retired secretary and my grandpa wasn’t the most reliable provider. He was also a heavy smoker, abusive and I’m pretty sure he drank some, too. There were also nine of them, along with whatever animals my grandfather was known for bringing home. She’s told stories about having to take care of all the chores once my aunt left for college, the six boys in the house were never really expected to help, and how much she missed out on in high school and college because she always had one job or another. They did all get free tuition, though, since my grandma retired from the college they all went to.
    Since then, the closest my family’s ever gotten to poverty was back in 2002, when my mom made about $50,000-$60,000 a year (I actually have no idea) and had to pay divorce lawyer fees, hospital bills and $600 a month just for daycare (my sister and I were about 2 and 7). And that was on top of all the other stuff. Granted, that’s nowhere near as bad as what a lot of people deal with on a daily basis, and I was too young to really get it at the time, but it did show me that not everyone is as lucky as I am, that there’s really no certainty when it comes to financial situations. Even the wealthiest people should be careful, because there’s no telling what might happen to that flow of money- banking errors, unforeseen expenses, jobs being lost, theft, there’s no way to really account for it all.
    As for Talia, I’m with you, Jen. She should have approached venting about her situation differently, but that doesn’t change the fact some companies force their employees to live that way, or that some of the higher-ups couldn’t give two shits about those people suffering. The sad thing is, as long as our society stays the general wealth-worshiping culture it is, I don’t think there’s much chance of the situation getting better.

  12. I think the main problem with articles that pop up like this one by Jane are that they’re supposed to or are seen as the One Single Article To Explain All about experiences that are way too varied to ever be explained in 6-7 paragraphs.

    Jane, for example, has a lot of privileges others don’t. I won’t go into what they could be because a lot of them are private things or otherwise not something you can see in a person– and we shouldn’t be policing her existence based on arbitrary parameters, as you’ve said so clearly above. But it’s worth noting that those privileges could be how she got noticed in the first place, and could be a great first step into exploring how different experiences and privileges affect different people’s ability to work, buy homes, go to college, etc.

    Hopefully, we learn about some of the people on the lowest rungs of the ladder, too, who’re forced into even more desperate situations that are often shunned and belittled, and that opens up the general discourse into a more open-minded and open-hearted discussion. But some people cannot look at these things objectively. I think it comes from them trying to pretend it can never happen to them because they’re good people, so the ones it did happen to are bad. It’s the best way of killing off empathy.

    So I’m glad you’re here, Jenny. And I’m glad you wrote this. And I really hope Talia Jane can be the first step in a new conversation- but one that doesn’t involve her as a person, or her right to exist however she likes- because some lines shouldn’t be crossed.

    1. The privilege thing is what struck such a shitty note in the rebuttal I linked. This woman is saying, “Just work hard, and you’ll get ahead.” Well…she doesn’t know if Jane is working hard. And yeah, the woman who wrote that response worked several jobs…exactly what Jane stated her coworkers have done. But she never acknowledged the fact that most people can’t just walk into a bar and walk out with a job, that not everyone has an employer who will work around (or won’t be openly hostile about) a second job, or that it’s reasonable to expect that the minimum wage inflate at the same rate as everything else (something that was happening right up until the 1980′s).

  13. I’m pretty much constantly worried about being attacked on social media for being poor incorrectly. The other day I found out that I’m losing my health insurance, I lost my food stamps this past month…but, like, because of this thing where a lot of jobs give you freebies to “make up” for not paying a living wage, I regularly post photos of hundreds of dollars worth of new sex toys. Which is a really awesome job perk, but I can’t eat silicone.

    1. I used to feel that way about going to conferences. My friends or publishers would pay for me to go to writing conferences, which are pretty much a necessity if you want to get out and gain new readers (people like the face to face). But whoo boy, did people I know gossip about that. “Jenny went on a trip to New Orleans. Must be nice to have the extra money since she’s on food stamps.” Like, WTF. This is a part of my job. No workey, no money, no chance of getting off of assistance.

    2. Oh hey, I’ve had that job! Too often, I’ve seen an attitude in the adult industry (at least the feministy corners of the industry) that I’m used to seeing from some nonprofits: that the work you do is cool and important enough that you shouldn’t feel the need to be paid a fair wage for it. Except a lot of these places are multi-million dollar corporations, not scrappy community organizations.

  14. Uh, so complaining about wage inequality and demanding a living wage (and in SF, $12 is not a living wage) is an extreme? Sorry but as another 25 yr old millennial who has had to go without heat in the winter in Minnesota, I’m really bothered by a lot of this post, and even more distubed by the really gross victim-blaming responses on her blog.

    “I don’t fault Jane for keeping her expensive bourbon; I do fault her for not making her Instagram private before she started this internet firestorm. By not doing so, the self-righteous arbiters of what strangers should be spending money on have further ammunition with which to discredit all poor people everywhere.”

    This is pretty victim-blamey. Why blame other people’s gross responses on her? Why blame the responses of those “self-righteous arbiters” on her rightfully saying she and others deserve a living wage and to be able to afford food (and not have to rely on other people gifting it to her) or heat?

    “Others have criticized Jane for her reckless actions, which resulted in her termination. Numerous unemployed people have criticized her for throwing away a job that “anyone” would be happy to have. Obviously, Jane was not happy to have the job; she had to know that the outcome of not only blasting the company CEO on Twitter (going so far as to suggest he fire her), but writing a scathing viral blog post, would end with unemployment.”

    This is also kind of victim blaming. She’s already not affording enough to buy basic necessities for herself like food and heating. Maybe she figures it’s worth speaking out, not only for herself, but for the countless other coworkers mentioned in her post who cannot afford food or rent. Yes, speaking out or going on strike is a risk, but sometimes it is a badly needed risk worth taking. No one speaking out is clearly not helping things either.

    And while you do mention that you don’t think people should never speak out just because other people have it worse, you imply exactly that and call her entitled for doing so. Maybe she mentioned there is no snack provided on the weekends because she is hungry. She point blank said she doesn’t care if the company never provides any snack or even water ever as long as they pay a living wage that allows employees to be able to buy groceries themselves.

    The bottom line is this: Companies need to pay a living wage, period. Let’s put the blame and focus on the company for not doing that instead of micro-analyzing and victim-blaming someone for speaking out and saying she deserves a living wage.

    1. For clarification, I wasn’t without heat the full winter, or even most. I just turned it down or off sometimes during the evening when it was 30 or 40 degrees to save on my bill and/or turned it off and hung out at the local library until bedtime. I did go most of the fall without heating though.

      College loans are another thing that take up a very significant amount of income. Compared to even just 10 years ago, tuition has become hugely expensive (I’ve got loans well into the 5 figures). That’s another thing that it’s difficult to understand unless you’re a millennial.

    2. Companies do need to pay a living wage, especially if they’re going to operate out of one of the most expensive cities in the world. You’re right, that’s not extreme, but I never once suggested it was. The extremes I referenced throughout were arguments being put forth from people who loved the letter and people who hated it, and the fact that nothing in between seems to be an option. There’s very much a with-us-or-against-us attitude over it, and saying, “I agree with her points but I think some angles of her approach were foolish” is somehow seen as either siding with those who think she’s just a spoiled brat or siding with people who are uncritically praising her, when it’s neither a condemnation nor an endorsement either way.

      Jane tweeted directly at the CEO of the company that she didn’t care if she was fired. Saying that she didn’t want her job was a statement of fact, not an accusation of ungratefulness or me saying, “Well, it’s your own fault you got fired.” If I had the job as she described her experience, I wouldn’t have wanted it, either. No one who is happy with their job would feel the need to write an open letter about how shitty it is. She knew going in that she would lose this job, she made the post anyway because she saw it as a worthwhile thing to do, and it’s turned out that she was right. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. There’s nothing wrong with leaving a job you don’t like, and using that as a moment to have a say when other people aren’t in the position to do the same. But just because there’s nothing wrong with it doesn’t mean it won’t inspire cynicism in some people, and that can be acknowledged without denying her points wholesale.

      I’m pretty confident in my ability as a writer, but even so I can’t convey what’s in my mind with 100% accuracy to every reader in a way that will make them agree with and love everything I say. And that’s okay, because if I could that would probably mean I have some scary mind power that I’m not responsible enough to have. But I do feel strongly that I never suggested she shouldn’t have spoken out, that she brought her situation on herself, or that corporations don’t have a responsibility to pay their employees a living wage (In fact, I explicitly stated “if a company chooses to operate their business out of what is known to be the U.S. city with the highest cost of living, it should be obligated to pay its employees a living wage,” and said that Yelp couldn’t afford to operate in San Francisco if it couldn’t pay its workers and turn a profit doing so). You’re saying that Talia Jane and her letter shouldn’t be micro-analyzed, but that’s all that’s happening, on a massive scale, and that was what this entire post was about.

      1. Alright, I get what you’re saying. I probably misunderstood the tone of some of the things you were saying in your post and I’m sorry about that. My interpretation is also undoubtedly colored by the fact that I’ve been blamed for my own poverty because of the stereotype of the “lazy, shiftless millennial” despite working very hard at school and work and making difficult sacrifices, so I don’t deny that it’s possible I sometimes have knee jerk reactions to the dynamic of people from older generations scrutinizing millennials for complaining about their poverty (or low wages or student debt).

        I actually agree that Talia’s post wasn’t worded perfectly and if I were her, I also would have made the Instagram private or at least explained that I was getting some food from friends. But I don’t think that the fact that she didn’t express herself in the best way (not everyone is a writer or smart with social media) makes it ok for people to call her ungrateful and entitled (and here I’m talking about some of the commenters on her blog, not you) for saying she’s not making a living wage and that she can’t afford to buy her own food or pay for heat or transportation to get to work. There’s no doubt that she’s struggling, and the people piling on her (again not referring to you here but her blog commenters) is harmful and hurtful.

  15. Every time you write something about politics, I’m reminded why I check this blog as obsessively as I do. You are always awesome. Also, as a millenial, thank you for not just writing us off as so many people who want to help seem to do.

    1. Basically every complaint Gen Xers have about Millennials is the same stuff the Boomers bitched at us about. I do not understand how my generation’s memory is so impossibly short in that regard.

      1. This is one of the things I dread about being older as a Millennial “please don’t let my generation obsessively write nasty think pieces about young people, please don’t let my generation obsessively write nasty think pieces about young people….”

  16. You’ve hit on what I resent most about our politicians – they deride and insult everyone else getting tax payers money but themselves. I work for a state government, and our jobs are always referred to in insulting terms. The Federal government has a long history of calling aged pensions are disabled people ‘leaners’ and taking up too much government funding.

    Meanwhile the policitians spend as much on one function as they would pay 5 pensioners in a year. One of our lot just got pulled up for chartering helicopters for short trips at $5k plus a pop. That’s 12 weeks of pension for one person. We spend millions upon millions on their perks and salaries and they’re not even doing a decent job /sigh

    what I wouldn’t give to be able to ask one of the exactly why pensioners should go hungry and cold while they waste money on stuff they don’t even need.

  17. Why did they fire your co worker for eating food that was still good? They were going to throw it out anyway! It would have made her a better employee if she weren’t going hungry.

    As for the whole “others have it worse”, I often think, “others have it better”. Nobody tells you “somebody else is happier” when you’re smiling, so why should the reverse hold true?

    1. The logic most fast food companies use for that attitude is based on a baseline assumption that employees will steal if you give them the chance– the theory is that if they let the employees take home the would-otherwise-be-wasted food, employees will contrive for that food to exist in greater quantities so as to take home more of it. (The lack of this attitude when I worked at Panera was one of the reasons I considered it slightly more humane, although still not a great job– on nights when the leftover bread wasn’t getting donated, closing shift was allowed to take home whatever as long as we were quick about it so that cleaning wasn’t delayed.)

        1. It’s especially frustrating because if you take a company like McDonald’s, there’s just no reasonable way that employees could possibly consume enough food to make much of a difference to the bottom line. But god forbid that employees should reap a benefit of a few dollars that could go to someone higher up.

    2. The local smoothie shop where I worked in high school did that same thing. The smoothie recipe made *slightly* more smoothie than fit into a cup, but workers would be fired if they kept and drank the leftover smoothie. As other people have pointed out, the theory was that if workers were allowed to eat the leftovers, they would be motivated to create even more leftovers and “steal” from the company.

      The reality was, of course, that it just made the workers hate the company and quit.

  18. Anyone else find the original article rambling and confusing?

    How about the “open letter” response–anyone else wonder where the obsession with “You just don’t want to be embarrassed by working in fast-food!” was coming from?

    IMHO, Jenny’s treating this with more considered rationality than it deserves one way or the other. But that’s our Jenny. :-)

    P.S. Those are the sh**tiest relatives and in-laws ever.

  19. P.R.E.A.C.H.

    The world will be a better place without baby boomers. My mum is one,but she doesn’t act like one. She schools me. I mentioned how sad I was that a coworker has gone on maternity leave 2 times to have babies and came back to work after only 6 weeks both times. My mum said, it is almost impossible to own both a house and afford children at the same time these days.

    But then a lot of these boomers live in their first houses. Mine does not. My mum has seen it first hand. In the 70s they left Alexandria (DC) and sold the house for $120,000. That house just resold for $980,000. My mother had kittens when she heard that. But have incomes risen? No. they have gone down. I think I make the same as my father at that time, a generation later. I am more experienced and educated than he is.

    Boomers could have careers without staggering student debt. But the diploma mills have convinced most careers that you need a diploma to be suitable, instead of being knowledgeable and experienced. So instead of leaving high school and getting a job, you start out with amazing student debt.

    which is the next upcoming financial crisis America is facing, that could be as problematic as the housing bubble.

    I could go on and on about this. I mentioned to you on twitter that I am stuck in the nightmare circle of hell that is the American Medical System. God forbid accomplishing anything if you get sick.
    I could go on and on about this. but remember, this is the generation that thinks that giving a baby too much attention, will ruin it.

  20. As I was reading this I was remembering what it was like to be out on my own for the first time. It was a learning experience to find out how much everything costs when it comes out of your own pocket. I tried everything I could to make it on my own, I got a roommate in a one bedroom apartment, had no internet or cable, had the cheapest cell phone, didn’t eat out, etc. and I could barely make it working 40 plus hours a week. When I decided I had had enough and wanted to go back to school to get a job that paid more I had to move back in with my parents(a situation I was fortunate enough to be able to do). Things from there greatly improved. It sucks making it on your own but they are the learning experiences of life. The more resources you have the easier it is to get out and move up. But no where in her letter did dhe mention any lessons from what she had learned. If you are interviewing for a position you want to promote up from talk about it! Why take an apartment that costs 80% of your pay! Get 10 roommates if you have to. Get rid of the car that you can’t drive. Get rid of everything but the bare essentials. Look into financial assistance programs that are designed to give people a hand up. I agree that the issues are real but this was not the best way to expose that. Stop blaming only others and take responsibility for the decisions you made.

  21. No one ever does poverty to anyone else’s satisfaction, it seems. Some people can male money stretch better than others, but the underlying problem is corporate greed, for-profit prisons and other privatized public services, and tax laws that benefit the rich. If people want those who are struggling financially to stop exposing their flaws as poor people, then we need to attack the root of the issue and not the victims of a flawed system.

  22. Frankly, I hate the “you confirm people’s fear of your type” as a criticism. It’s a bullshit criticism that often requires that people be angels in order to protest. If someone can’t understand how someone’s argument works without considering extraneous flaws, then that’s a problem with their reasoning period. I don’t have to coddle that.

    It also leaves people thinking that there is a “right” way to be angry or be a part of a class or be oppressed and that people who don’t fit in with that “right” way aren’t entitled to have their voices heard or be taken seriously or be defended. It’s fair to be irritated at what seem to be tone-deaf actions, it’s unfair to be irritated at her actions because they “confirm” an unreasonable bias that is at best ancillary to a discussion of the issue. Entitled people don’t deserved to get treated like shit either.

  23. The thing that struck me most about Jane’s piece is that if she has a good reason for living alone, she doesn’t state it. I lived for years as a student in London, where the rental market is also extremely pricey, and would not have dreamed of renting my own apartment. It’s just unthinkable for most people in their teens/early 20s.

    She knew both the rental price and her salary from the start. If she thinks 80% of her income is too much to spend on rent, why didn’t she get a place in a shared flat? A lot of people were calling her out on this and it seems a fair enough criticism. If there does exist a “wrong way to be poor” I would put “starving so I don’t have to share a kitchen” pretty high on the list (unless you have a /very/ good reason you can’t share, which again she did not give).

    I don’t think she’s lazy or stupid, but she seems to have had abysmal foresight when budgeting (if she budgeted at all… I know a lot of people my age who don’t and regret it later). And yeah, her “I have to work for a whole YEAR before being promoted?!” complaint was also pretty laughable. Only one year? Good for you!

    None of this means people doing that kind of job shouldn’t be paid more, and I think increasing the minimum wage would be beneficial to everyone. But framing the argument the way she did is not going to convince anyone.

    1. This is a bit tangential, but I’ve noticed an attitude some people have about public transit. I know lots of people live in places where transit is currently unreliable or inadequate, so you need a car. Yet I hear from people all the time claiming that even if transit were adequate for their needs, they still wouldn’t use it. Why? Well, the most generous interpretation is that people want convenience and privacy; less charitably, people don’t want to run the risk that they might have to sit next to a homeless person on the bus.
      I think it may be a similar thing to living with roommates. Yes, there are legitimate concerns about privacy and comfort, but also about class and status. It varies by region, but I can well imagine that in some places, living with roommates is seen as either juvenile or low-class – you aren’t really an adult unless you have your own space.

      1. That was how she presented it in the article – “I’m an adult now, adults have apartments and a car, therefore I must have my own apartment and my own car.” All of which conversely makes her sound rather childish… In any case, I think that’s pretty shitty reasoning to go for something you know you can’t afford when there are other decent options available. Especially when her piece keeps on emphasising the cost of housing in that area.

        I had to move out of my last shared apartment because I was sexually harassed by my landlord (side note: don’t use airbnb thinking it’s safer, their response to my report of harassment was to brush it under the rug repeatedly). This is the second time I’ve had to move out of a flat because I was physically afraid of someone. I get why people might want their own apartment, I seriously do. And generally I don’t really care about how other people spend their money, it’s not my business. But given her piece is supposed to be supporting an argument, and said argument can currently be dismissed with a “you completely failed to budget when there were far more affordable options available”, she might have made an effort to justify her choice.

        1. It’s been a minute since I read the article, but I thought she said she had a roommate planned, but the plan fell through? Or that she tried to find a roommate and couldn’t?

  24. I’m tired of Baby Boomers being vilified as the Ultimate Evil. My mom raised my brother and me as a Latin woman working amongst all-male engineers during the 80s and 90s (and she continues to work now) in a field and during a time that was not always kind to women, especially minority women.
    I’ve seen my mom and my stepfather go through numerous layoffs. That American Dream of company loyalty? It sold them out as well. At one point, they ate through their retirement plans just to put tortillas and hot dogs on the table. They never owned a home while we were growing up. I will have no inheritance, I’ll just be glad not to inherit a bunch of debt.
    Not all Baby Boomers are well off and not all of them “ruined the world,” though I hear this bandied around by younger generations ALL the time on message boards. It annoys me to no end.
    I’m a member of Gen X. You know, the generation that no one ever talks about because there are louder and larger generations that sandwich us. Guess what! We were also told that “if you go to college, you can have the job you want.” We accumulated college debt. We experienced our own recession and we were hit hard as those of us in our young adulthood got screwed in the housing market collapse. Oh, and growing up during Reganomics and the Cold War and AIDS were just fantastic times.
    No one ever talks about Gen X. I’ve been told I need to suck it up. So I’ll make a deal and accept my generation’s neglect so long as I don’t need to keep hearing about Millennial gripes on the daily.
    EVERY generation goes through hard times and EVERY generation makes leaps and bounds towards creating a better future for humanity. That’s right, our world right now? It’s AMAZING. People are so much more accepting and open-minded from the last century even. With the state of technology, who knows what the future brings? It’s a pretty exciting time to be alive.
    I wish people in general would stop complaining about how hard THEY have/had it compared to some other generation because it’s always hard, for everybody.
    –And just be glad you didn’t live through the Great Depression. That was probably the worst.

      1. Nope.
        But I do I hear Millennial whining ALL the time. It’s tiresome.
        I’m in the interesting position of being confidante to managers in the workplace a decade and a generation older than me. They admit that as parents maybe they DID coddle their Millennial children a little too much… At the same time, we’re attending meetings on “Managing the Millennial” because of all the demands they make upon being hired at their first or second job. Everyone panic and give in to their demands, they outnumber us!
        My generation is smaller and easily ignored. But Gen X went through a lot of the same stuff that Millennials constantly gripe/griped about. Maybe we just didn’t have Twitter or social media to broadcast our every complaint.
        I have very strong opinions about all this generation warfare. It’s hard not to be jaded when you’re the ignored middle child. Really, what does all the generational bickering accomplish? Not much. I doubt I’m going to change your opinion just like you’re not going to change mine.
        It WOULD be a thoughtful perspective if everyone could recognize that every generation has its challenges and obstacles. Every generation has lived through their own interesting history and through that, helped to shape our country and world for the better place that it is. Mutual respect would be a wonderful thing.
        Or we can all continue to have a pissing contest of Who Had Things Harder. Whatever.

  25. I’m a “millenial” who worked a crappy entry-level job (12.5 an hour at a nonprofit doing admin, although I was lucky enough to be living with family at the time, so I wasn’t living in poverty). This is a wonderfully balanced article. That said, there was a thing that struck me about Jane’s piece that nobody I’ve seen has mentioned:

    There are a LOT of entry-level employees at Yelp. There were only four of us at the nonprofit (it was a small company, and, as nonprofits often are, not exactly rolling in dough–I don’t actually particularly fault them for what they paid us, which included paid vacations; in the city we were in, such jobs are often done for free). If there had been so many of us, and the company had been rich enough that we KNEW this was not the best they could do…. we could have maybe done something about unfair low wages.

    Something like a strike.

    THAT’s the thing that bothers me about Jane’s letter—she seems to have never even THOUGHT about organizing with her fellow employees, several of whom appeared to be in far worse straits than her. And I don’t blame Jane herself, not really, not as an individual– I blame how American culture has evolved so that our labor is only valued as individuals. I blame how valuing independence has morphed into a deep distrust of collective action, especially if it takes a physical form. I was living in the upper midwest when Wisconsin passed “right-to-work” and it broke my heart how most of my classmates didn’t understand why this was a gruesome thing.

    I don’t know how entry-level Yelp employees might unionize, or bargain as a collective (I also have a sneaking suspicion that many of them have been raised in homes where collective bargaining is something other people do), but it breaks my heart that it doesn’t seem to even be on the table.

  26. I loved your response and breakdown of this letter, but I do have a minor quibble regarding STEM majors and ideal job placement. The unfortunate truth is that many STEM majors are in the same boat, despite choosing the ‘right’ major.

    I majored in molecular biology with 3.5 science/math GPA (so no inflation for fluff classes) and with my one year of lab experience, found myself qualifying only for a lab position paying $8/hr with no benefits. Of course, this was after I moved home to Nevada, a state with little to no biology research opportunities. Luckily, I wasn’t seriously job hunting being that I, like many STEM undergrads, realized quickly that 2-6 years of grad school were not optional (for me, maybe for someone who is luckier/more driven/more dedicated than I am, they are). STEM graduates who happen to fall outside of computer science or engineering (which artificially inflate starting STEM salaries) have precious few job opportunities coming out of a four-year degree. A worthwhile job in STEM (outside of CS and engineering) often requires a PhD or a masters degree and even then many people aiming for academic employment find themselves stranded outside of the profitable tenure track only to meander in the near-slave wages of adjunct professorship. This hardship is compounded by the missed financial opportunities of entering into the workforce much later (6-10 years later) and with the added burden of student loan debt (and many masters/medical professional programs do not offer grants and must be paid for entirely through loans at a higher interest rate than undergrad loans).

    I didn’t think you were making the point that there’s a ‘right’ major and were merely echoing an often-repeated argument. But those who argue that STEM is the go-to for escaping poverty are–in addition to missing the point–actually very wrong in many cases.

    1. On the flip side, humanities *do* have value, if you get away from the completely ridiculous idea that your university degree should train you for a single, specific line of work. I majored in philosophy and writing and was routinely informed “you’ll NEVER get a job with that”. Well, I’ve actually had a few opportunities to expound on ethics specifically, but more to the point – I can look carefully at an idea and check it for soundness, and I can express complex ideas in a way that is clear and understandable to others. I firmly believe that this has made me better at my job and also at life generally.

      1. I was an English major, which is probably only second to Philosophy in the “you’ll never get a job” view of so many. What such people never seem to remember is that I spent my entire major cogently discussing thoughts, doing multiple presentations involving a lot public speak, and of course writing papers. Wait, doesn’t that sorta sound like the type of things that employers would want?

        And of course there’s the whole “heh heh you’ll be asking if I want fries with that major” thing as well, which just smacks of such snobbish, classist jackassery that it pisses me off. Like those parents who point to servers and tell their kids that the server is why the kids need to study and go to college. Let’s just be a total jerk about someone trying to make a living. This may not be relevant but it’s been something that has been annoying me recently.

        1. Heh, I’m the opposite. I’m the fancy Finance major who is, after three years out of school, only *just* starting to use my major and getting near (not at!) the pretty pay-scale that career counselors assured me I would make within 3 months of graduation. Meanwhile, one of my closest friends is an English major, has BEEN making a pretty sweet salary, and is up for an even sweeter promotion. The “go to college, pick the right major (STEM!), and you’ll get a good job for life” school of thought is simply naive. My brother is an Orderly making $12/hr, and I regularly run into college acquaintances from all sorts of majors working as waiters, servers, cashiers etc… As Jenny and Jane and a lot of other people keep pointing out, this system doesn’t support “work hard and you’ll make it”. Finding a well-paying job has less to do with your actual education and is more and more a combination of knowing where to look for opportunities, selling yourself to the right employers, luck, and privilege. Sadly, the “you’ll be serving me fries crowd” is likely to get with the program only when they find out the hard way it can be ANYONE in that position.

  27. Generation lines are weird. You’re only like 2 years older than me but because of some weird made up line we’re actually in different ‘generations’.

  28. On this topic, a new book I just got emailed about which takes a look at some truly brutal stories about affordability in cities and a “living wage”: “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” – Matthew Desmond.

  29. I can’t say I grew up “poor”, not necessarily because my parents had super-high paying jobs, but because we happened to all be squished into a studio apartment paying very little rent.
    So there are some things I will never understand about being “poor”, but as a millenial I can understand a lot of things.
    For starters, how damn hard it is to find a job, any job. Hell, I have a masters in business, and according to Yahoo, that is one of the best degrees to have. How has that gone for me? About 50,000 dollars in student loan debt, and a few jobs doing working retail until I landed this job I have now which pays a little better, but I still can’t afford a house.
    We as a family are trying to buy a house, my bro and I qualified for a 320,000 dollar loan, but they never take into consideration all the other debts I already have. They see our paychecks and assume we’ll have the money to pay the house payments.
    I don’t want to be living with my parents forever, even if in theory the house will belong to my brother and I. I don’t plan on getting married/sharing my life with someone so the dream of a house is even father away.
    I don’t consider myself entitled, I’m glad for what I have, but I hate when people just go “If you work hard enough…” in this day and age, working hard enough is not enough.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>