I came on to originally blog about the MET logo until I read this post about Yelp/Eat24 and it’s impoverished staff. This young girl who worked there wrote this open letter to Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman. In it she complains about the wages and how she’s stuck in an expensive apartment barely able to pay her rent and waking up hungry. She is 25 and this was her first job after getting her college degree. She updated that post later saying she had been fired.
I read the article 3 times. I read replies, comments and entire posts in response to this letter. I think we’re dealing with a few things here. The cost of college is astronomical. I get that. And most of these kids have crazy student loans. I was very lucky that my parents paid for my college. I was able to get a great merit-based scholarship though. Without that I too would be in the “i have to pay back my student loans” boat. I know that is serious stress. There is nothing that stresses me out like money woes. And although I didn’t have student loans to pay back, I think there is something this generation is missing… LIFE IS REALLY REALLY HARD! And you have to work really really really hard to create a life you love. But here’s the secret… it’ also really amazing and great. And guess what… the struggle makes you.
Growing up, I saw my dad leave at 2 am daily to open the family store. He came home at 4pm only to pass out and wake up for dinner and go right back to bed. It was hard for him and my mom living this way, but he loved what he did and was proud he was able to provide for us and build his business. So working hard was always something I knew was in my future and I was really excited to have the opportunity to prove myself to anyone who was willing to give me a chance.
When I got my chance to fulfill my dream of working in the big city, I had to commute on the good ‘ole LIRR every day. And I walked to work in my heels and stayed until midnight some nights making sure my deadlines were met and the packages were safely in the hands of George, the trusty Fedex worker at the last Fedex to close in the city. Then I would walk back to Penn and wait for the train and get home somewhere around 1am, only to do it all again the next day. I had a basement apartment on Long Island that was only $550 a month and I split that with a roommate. It was all really hard. BUT… I felt so unbelievably lucky. I knew this was going to be my future. I knew I had to work hard to create my life. The struggle is what makes you who you intended to be. You can’t believe the things you can accomplish until you work your ass off.
Most of us are descendants of immigrants who left their lives behind in search of their dreams. Think about how hard that must have been. But when you want something, you have to do whatever is necessary to make it work. There are always choices you can make to change your situation. This girl could have chosen a different job or gotten a second job. She could have gotten a roommate or two, or moved to a less expensive city. There is always a way to make your dreams a reality. You just have to make sacrifices, have patience and work really really hard. Never expect a handout and don’t play the victim. Have a plan A, B and C. And when that all goes to hell, work your plan D. Never stop. Never give up. And definitely quit whining.