Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Work hard and pay your dues: an open letter to an overly-entitled millenial


Last week, San Francisco-based Yelp/Eat24 customer support employee Talia Jane Ben-Ora, 25, wrote an open letter to her CEO, Jeremy Stoppard, in which she claimed she was not paid enough. Within a few hours of the post going live, she was fired. Here, stylist.co.uk’s junior writer, and fellow millennial, Sarah Biddlecombe, argues that she needs to learn to pay her dues.

pound coins

Dear Talia,

I am just like you.

Just like you, I think the cost of living in a big city is too high compared with the wages. Here in little old London, the average cost of a house is 14 times the average salary, and people fork out thousands of pounds a month to rent a living space the size of a cupboard.

Just like you, I struggle to manage my finances, and I am also swimming in debt. If the total sum of my student loan repayments was converted into physical pound coins that were placed next to each other in a line, I’m pretty sure that line would stretch halfway around the world.

And, just like you, I have been unhappy living in rented accommodation. I have shared tiny flats with strangers who are messy, inconsiderate, violent and rude. I've been late to work because I've had to queue to use a shared bathroom and housemates have stolen everything from food to makeup to clothes from me. I know the struggle of handing over the majority of my salary to pay my rent, and I too have lived a life of crying every week in the bathtub.

So these things make me just like you: an unfortunate millennial caught in a relentless cycle of living hand to mouth because, yes, our generation has been screwed over.


But, unlike you, I do not wear a sense of entitlement like a badge of honour. Your argument would have held a lot more weight with me had you ended it with the conclusion that you would take more responsibility for your own finances.

Because really, what makes you so uniquely special that you cannot get a second job to bring in more money, or join a houseshare, or sell your car to cut costs? I struggle to feel sympathy for someone who claims to be unable to afford food or heating but can pay for an iPhone, home internet and, I assume, a laptop on which those open letters were penned.

And while I empathise with your struggle to make ends meet on a meagre salary, your outrage that you would have to work in that particular department for “an entire year” before being promoted says a lot to me about your work ethic.

Your bitterness towards Yelp feels, at best, misguided. You weren’t happy with the healthcare benefits. You were provided with free snacks on every floor of your building, and a “whole fridge” full of bread you could eat at your leisure. But this wasn’t good enough for you: you were simply enraged the company dared only restock your complimentary food five days a week rather than the full seven.

I am, truly, amazed that 72 people (at the time of writing) have donated to a GoFundMe campaign set up in your honour to help you “eat/live”, particularly when there are thousands of people genuinely living below the poverty line in America.

Perhaps they need to have a look at these images of all the food you can afford to eat and cook (see below), and the expensive bourbon you buy - as testified by your social media accounts. They certainly seem at odds with your claim that you can only afford to eat plain rice, or that you have to drink water before bed so you don't wake up starving in the middle of the night.

I hope you keep true to your Twitter promise to match the $2,317 (£1,665) raised in your honour so far and donate it to a charity.

Because I can’t help feeling that if you did really want to “bring to light a struggle that shouldn’t exist” and “support the demand to find that solution”, you could have followed your other career options of going to law school or becoming a teacher.

But these options would, in your opinion, make you a “cliché”, so instead you took to the internet to write a 2,400 word blog post. 

It’s a shame that when you told your eight-year-old self “having a car and a credit card and [your] own apartment” were “what it means to be an adult”, you failed to include any of the qualities that would actually help you to become a grownup

You need to learn to pay your dues and work your way up the career ladder. Money is a necessity but you will be working for the next 40 years of your life, so make sure you choose a career path that you love. 

I quit my first job because it wasn't right for me, and it is only after two years of hard graft that I am finally where I want to be. 

Besides, an achievement can only be called as such if you actually worked to get it.

Yours faithfully,

A fellow millennial



The gender pay gap extends to sellers on eBay

Hillary Clinton

A woman's place is in the White House: why we need a female president


The wedding loan that's only repayable if you divorce


J.K. Rowling offers touching advice to a fan suffering depression


Jennifer Lawrence pokes fun at success of female-led films


The innovative new wardrobe apps that will keep your closet clean

The Grosvenor Arms.jpg

Britain's best boutique hotels for £100 or less


“I'm 27 and the poorest of my friends. Now what?”


The best quotes from Bridget Jones to guide us through modern life



Clueless nearly never got made because of Hollywood sexism

As Cher would say, as if

by Jasmine Andersson
23 Jun 2017

Starbucks are hiring 2,500 refugees across Europe

by Nicola Colyer
23 Jun 2017

Man carries out flower girl duties with immense pride and solemnity

His commitment is quite something

by Amy Swales
23 Jun 2017

Shocking US law says men can finish sex if woman withdraws consent


by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

Serial fans, Adnan Syed has been given a second chance in court

New hope for Syed supporters

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Jun 2017

The scientific reason summer turns you into a horrible person

A new study confirms that we’re not very nice when we’re too hot

by Moya Crockett
23 Jun 2017

The 5 most surprising things I learnt from appearing on First Dates

What's it really like to appear on First Dates?

by Jasmine Andersson
22 Jun 2017

Rihanna just gave a heartbroken fan the best relationship advice

The pop star took time out to give a fan this brilliant tip

by Stylist
22 Jun 2017

First Dates fans respond to “shocking” mansplaining incident

“A frightened, insecure monkey hanging on to his patriarchal perch for dear life”

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Jun 2017

Golden rules of work happiness from Europe’s female tech leaders

From nap rooms to therapists and no overtime

by Anna Brech
22 Jun 2017