The workforce in America is changing. The older generation is refusing to retire, pensions are dying, millennials are demanding a recalibration of the work/life balance, technology is replacing non-skilled labor, and the traditional concept of an office has disappeared. These forces are causing angst. What comes next? How does the younger generation survive? How does the American workforce adapt? Americans are beginning to speak out. One such case can be found here.
Talia was a 25 year old employee at Yelp and Eat24. She wrote an open letter to the CEO of Yelp explaining that she makes $733.24 bi-weekly and cannot afford to eat. She indicates that 80% of her pay goes to her rent and tells multiple stories of her picking up pennies off the ground; and waking up with pains from not eating for long hours. She says that Yelp forced her to be in a “training” program for one full year answering phone and being in the support center. Talia finishes the letter by suggesting ways that she could save Yelp money, which should be given back to her and the other entry level workers. This lead to the firing of Talia about 3 hours after her letter was posted.
On the contrary to Talia, there was another post that went viral from a 29 year old writer, Stephanie, voicing her opinion on the millennial generation. Stephanie’s article (found here) begins by stating that she was let go of her first job at the age of 22 with little money and little hope. She states that instead of complaining about her life, she took initiative and started working at a restaurant. She worked her way up and worked extended hours to pay bills, eventually networking enough to land her dream job at a talent agency. Stephanie blasts the millennial generation and Talia, saying that this generation feels a sense of entitlement and play the role of victim instead of being ambitious and working hard to achieve one’s goals.
These two letters caused a nationwide debate. How is the American society fostering the next generation? Entry level positions are disappearing – and even if landed are paying $25-35,000 per year. Is that fair? How can we help the next generation of our citizens? Regardless of your views on the matter, we should all be conscious to these tensions in the workforce.