Category Archives: Culture

Risks & facts of gender dysphoria

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ~ Voltaire

School administrators and board members terrified of expensive lawsuits are capitulating to the demands of “gender”-confused adolescents. Parents are capitulating to the disordered thinking of their children, terrified that if they don’t, their children will commit suicide. Their fears are stoked by a deeply flawed study that is grossly misunderstood.

1.) No one knows what causes gender dysphoria. While some subscribe to “brain sex” theories of causation (for which there is no proof) or believe that intrauterine hormone exposure causes the development of gender dysphoria, there are other possibilities, including pubertal changes (e.g., early breast development in girls can lead to unwanted male attention that results in girls feeling uncomfortable with their female bodies); autism; sexual abuse; childhood trauma ; family dysfunction; and excessively rigid gender roles. Moreover, even a discovery that biochemical factors influence the development of feelings about gender would not mean that chemical and surgical treatments are appropriate responses to gender dysphoria.

2.) Gender dysphoria can diminish, resolve, or be treated in less drastic ways than the “trans”-affirming protocol that involves chemical and surgical interventions for a non-medical problem (i.e., puberty is not a medical problem). The best research to date suggests that upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children will “desist,” that is, their gender dysphoria will resolve and they will accept their bodies, unless their rejection of their natal sex is affirmed by their environment.

3.) There’s been an explosion in the numbers of children and teens identifying as “transgender,” including teens who never before exhibited signs of gender dysphoria. This latter phenomenon, which affects primarily teen girls, has been called “rapid onset gender dysphoria.” Some parents are reporting that their children have several friends who identify as “trans,” and some are reporting that their children self-diagnosed after spending time on the Internet where they encountered videos or chat rooms in which young people describe their gender dysphoria or “trans” identity. Many believe the dramatic increase in this profoundly unnatural phenomenon results from “social contagion,” which tends to affect adolescents much more than adults.

4.) The medical community admits it has no idea whether pathologizing healthy sexual development and setting children and teens on a path of lifetime risky medical treatments will help them, and they have no idea if these children will grow up to regret their “transitions.”

5.) Gatekeeping is lax. Gatekeeping is the process that determines who accesses “trans”-affirming medical treatment like prescriptions for cross-sex hormones. Parents and former “trans”-identified men and women criticize the mental health community for failing to take adequate medical and mental health histories of new patients that might reveal “co-morbidities” (i.e., the simultaneous presence of more than one chronic disease or condition in a patient) prior to prescribing cross-sex hormones or making surgery referrals. Some young gender-dysphoria sufferers are able to get prescriptions for opposite-sex hormones after just a couple of visits with a doctor. Worse, the pressure is mounting from the “trans” cult to eliminate gatekeeping entirely, even for minors.

6.) Puberty-blockers carry serious known health risks, and long-term effects are unknown. Kaiser Health News recently wrote about one of the primary puberty blockers administered to gender-dysphoric children: Lupron. Lupron is thought to cause osteopenia (bone-thinning), osteoporosis (bone loss), degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, and depression. Due to the number and nature of complaints received, the FDA is now reviewing the safety of Lupron.

7.) “Progressives” argue that the effects of puberty blockers are reversible and merely buy gender-dysphoric children time to figure out their “gender identity.” What they don’t share is that the vast majority of children who take puberty blockers move on to cross-sex hormones. In contrast, as mentioned earlier, upwards of 80% of gender-dysphoric children who do not take puberty blockers or socially transition eventually accept their sex. Preventing the process of puberty to proceed naturally not only interferes with the biological and anatomical development of children but also changes he social experiences that attend puberty.

8.) Cross-sex hormones are risky and lifetime effects unknown. Voice changes, sterility, and hair growth patterns (including male pattern baldness in women who take testosterone) are irreversible. Side effects and long-term health risks for women who take testosterone include a decrease in good cholesterol (HDL), an increase in bad cholesterol (LDL), an increase in blood pressure, a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to insulin, weight gain, possible increase in risk of heart disease (including heart attack), stroke, and diabetes. The side effects and long-term health risks for men who take estrogen include liver damage and disease, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, gall stones, heart disease, prolactinoma (a cancer of the pituitary gland that can, in turn, damage vision), nausea, and migraines.

9.) Many gender-dysphoric girls bind their breasts much like Chinese women used to bind their feet. “Chest-binding” carries serious health risks including compressed ribs, which can cause blood flow problems and increase the risk of developing blood clots. Over time, this can lead to inflamed ribs (costochondritis) and even heart attacks due to decreased blood flow to the heart, fractured ribs that can lead to punctured and collapsed lungs, and back problems.

10.) Boys under 18 can have vaginoplasty in which they are castrated and the skin from their penises and scrotums used to fashion the likeness of a vagina and labia. A surgeon, in effect, turns a boy’s penis inside out, with the outside skin of the penis becoming the lining of the “neovagina.” Alternatively, boys can have “intestinal” or “sigmoid colon” vaginoplasty, which uses part of their intestines to construct “neovaginas.” A 2015 study showed that between 12-43% of patients who had vaginoplasty experienced “neovaginal” narrowing, and 33% experienced “changes in urine stream and heightened risk of urethral infection.”

Bottom surgery for girls who pretend to be boys is more complicated and has less satisfactory results. It first requires a hysterectomy followed several months later by phalloplasty which requires skin grafts taken from the forearm or thigh to create a penis that has no capacity for producing an erection. Therefore, patients who want to have intercourse will need penile implants, the most common of which requires the most skill to use, has the highest complication rate (50% must be removed due to complications), and must be replaced every 3-15 years.

WARNING!!!!!!   CAUTION:  GRAPHIC VIDEOS & CONTENT

Minor girls can also get double mastectomies as young as 15 years old.

All surgeries carry risk, but teens and young adults are having these life-altering, risky procedures—not to treat a disease—but to alter normal, healthy processes and mutilate healthy anatomy.

11.) Several studies reveal that the majority of “trans” identifying adults desire to have their own biological children, and yet minors are being given cross-sex hormones that leave them permanently sterile. Further, “it is not currently possible to freeze immature gametes.”

12.) There is a growing “detransitioning” movement. Detransitioners are men and women of diverse ages who regret having taken cross-sex hormones and amputated healthy body parts. Many have come to understand the cause or causes of their gender dysphoria and feel sorrow over the irreversible damage they have done to their bodies. Their stories, easily available online, are painful to hear.

13.) Research into gender reversal transitions is stymied by political pressure from “trans” activists.

What is now commonly understood is that brain development is not complete until about age 25.

“The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so…. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.

In teen’s brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing—and not necessarily at the same rate. That’s why when teens experience overwhelming emotional input, they can’t explain later what they were thinking. They weren’t thinking as much as they were feeling.”

Culture is providing a lens through which young people with still developing brains interpret their experiences of discomfort with their bodies. This lens is distorting common, usually transient experiences.

As months and years pass, more men and women will tell their stories of anger and sorrow at being deluded and betrayed as children by ignorant and cowardly adults—some of whom cared more about lawsuits than about children.

So, when your school administration and board decide to allow objectively male students into girls’ private spaces or vice versa, ask them if they will accept some measure of responsibility for facilitating confusion and error when ten or twenty years from now, the “trans” ideology is exposed as one of the great pseudo-scientific errors in American history along with Freud’s theories of psychosexual development, false memory syndrome, and lobotomies.

For more information about detransitioning, watch these Youtube video clips:

Teens most likely to struggle with technology addiction

A survey finds that younger people have the most trouble putting their devices down.

07/07/2017

By Sarah D. Young

For most people, a digital device is never too far out of reach. And between text message alerts and constantly changing social media feeds, technology begs to be paid attention to.

For some, the desire to dip into the digital world can spiral into an unhealthy relationship with technology, and some age groups may have a more difficult time unplugging than others.

Findings from a new survey conducted by global research experts, GfK, show that teenagers and higher-income households are most susceptible to technology addiction. Younger age groups, the study found, tend to have the most trouble taking a break from technology.

Teenagers most susceptible

Nearly half of 15- to 19-year-olds (44 percent) surveyed agreed with the statement, “I find it difficult to take a tech break, even when I know I should.”

Slightly fewer twenty-somethings (41 percent) agreed that they struggle to take a break from technology (their mobile device, computer, TV, etc).

The percentage of respondents who admitted they struggle to put down their device dropped to 38% for those in their thirties and dropped even more for the older age groups — 29 percent of those in their forties and 23 percent for those in their fifties. Just 15 percent of people aged 60 and over said that they had a problem turning off their technology.

Differences across incomes

Additional findings from the study suggested that members of high-income households are the most likely of all income brackets to find it difficult to take a break from technology.

According to the report, 39 percent of people living in high-income households find it difficult to take a break from technology even when they know they should; 30 percent of low-income households said they grappled with the same dilemma.

Overall, one in three people who responded to the online survey of 17 countries said they find it difficult to unplug, even temporarily.

Dealing with internet addiction

Although it’s not officially recognized as a disorder in the latest edition of the DSM, technology addiction (also called internet addiction) has been on the radar of health professionals for some time.

The results of a 2006 phone survey conducted by Stanford University researchers showed that one out of eight Americans have at least one possible sign of problematic internet use.

Some experts say people who use their phones or browse the internet for many hours a day experience a “high” similar to addiction and feel withdrawal when cut off.

When excessive internet use begins to adversely affect a user’s mental and physical health, daily life, relationships, and academic or job performance, it may be time to seek help.

While only a professional can diagnosis an internet addiction, this online screening tool can help you find out if you have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.

#Adulting SUCKS!!!!!


-by Tim Elmore

“I recently spoke to a university faculty member who told me a student just chewed her out because she “sucks” as a teacher. When the professor inquired as to why the student felt she was inadequate, the student was unprepared to answer. After stumbling over his words, the sophomore replied, “Because you gave me a bad grade after I tried really hard.”

Universities are now reaping the consequences of thirty years of misguided parenting styles.

At the risk of sounding as if I am stereotyping, let’s look at the meta-narrative. Too many parents delivered the following sentiments to their children growing up:

“You are special and deserve special treatment.”
“If you participate, that’s all that matters.”
“You don’t need to let others influence you.”
“You deserve the best because you are the best.”

As a parent and a teacher, I believe there is a kernel of truth in each of these statements. Every kid is, indeed, special. Participation is important. Kids need to embrace their own views and they can, indeed, be the best at what they do.

But these are partial truths that lead them to poor conclusions.

Kids should not expect special treatment
Employers will expect much more on the job than participation
Others do play a role in our viewpoints and have an opinion that matters
And most are not automatically the “best” on a project, compared to others

These incomplete perceptions have wreaked havoc on a generation of students and they are causing angst in the aftermath. When something goes wrong, some kids go ballistic. Students actually NEED the input of adults other than their parents.

I had a respected educator email me recently with a request. He said:

“One area I would like you to address more specifically is student discontent and the behavior that is sparked when things ‘go wrong’ for them. When they are mistreated (bullied by professors or coaches), I can understand they need to respond. But, when they ‘perceive’ they are mistreated, they will lash out to ‘hurt’ the people or parties they feel are responsible. I have come to interpret that ‘lashing out’ as a way to get revenge, in order to ‘feel better’ about themselves.”

He then offered two examples of this scenario:

“Two students compare grades on a paper in English. One gets a B and one gets a D. Explanatory notes are written on each paper explaining the points taken off (but also points of merit) that explained the grade. The student with the D goes into a rage of sorts and starts trashing the professor through Social Media. This includes making remarks that are irrelevant to the paper and corresponding grade.”

“A basketball player gets upset over playing time. When the coaches explain why AND what that player can do in an effort to get more playing time; the player equates effort with promotion. So, after he/she works harder in an effort to get better, the player expects to play more whether he/she actually got better or not. Plus, he/she looks at the player ahead of him/her getting more playing time and comes up with a variety of criticisms against that player.”

“I have seen this happen multiple times over the last two years and have struggled with coming up with effective ways of dealing with it.”
Three Steps We Can Take to Help Students’ Perceptions

1. Explain the difference between reacting and responding.

Students who receive a poor grade or evaluation have a weapon they’re often unready to handle well: social media. They can “vent” at a teacher or coach who gives them a poor assessment and fail to see what’s happening. Emotion usually follows a negative evaluation immediately. Logic comes along later. As teachers and leaders, we must remember these truths when it comes to our students:

Sometimes people feel guilty—because they are guilty.

Sometimes coaches don’t give more playing time—because a player is untalented.

Sometimes students feel like their work is a failure—because they actually failed.

And usually they’ll vent at your feedback before they benefit from your feedback. The best leaders don’t try to remove their guilt if they’re guilty. Nor, tell an athlete they are awesome, if they are not. Or, inflate a failing grade a student earned.

When students want to react, expressing the negative emotions they feel, that is one thing. They’ll never improve, however, until they learn to respond to an evaluation. Reacting is about emotion. Responding is about logic. This means welcoming a third party to help them see an issue objectively. Once the student matures past venting, we can ask them for a logical reason why their paper deserved a better grade or their talent deserved more time on the field. Logic requires rationale, not emotion.

When students are guilty of something, don’t tell them they’re not. If students fail at a paper, don’t lie to them and tell them it was good. We can offer compassionate feedback that is logical in order to help them think logically. The best time to bring this up is at the beginning of a year, before anyone can take it as a personal vendetta.

2. Help them separate performance from performer.

We must enable students to separate who they are (as the performer) and what they did in their recent performance. A failed assignment does not mean the student is a failure. Failure is not a person. It’s an experience that can change. Martin Luther King, Jr. received a C- in public speaking while in college. His skill simply needed to improve. Thomas Edison was asked by his teacher to not return to school as a student. He had to learn on his own. And he did. Too many American kids have grown up ill-equipped to handle negative feedback. This is criminal on the part of the adults who raised them. We must teach them to seek growth, not affirmation. Affirmation usually follows growth quite naturally.

This is a vital step our young must learn to take to help them grow. We must relay to them that we believe in them and their ability, but that their recent work did not reflect their potential. It’s actually a compliment. We are saying to them:

“You are better than this.”

“I have high expectations of you.”

“These critical comments are because I believe you’re capable of more.”

“And because I believe in you, I refuse to dilute the standard due to a bad performance.”

Once again, the answer is not to dilute the truth. A truthful response, communicated with empathy and concern is what enables them to mature.

Far too many young adults are unable to separate “performance” from “performer” and hence, they take every comment personally—as if it is a personal attack on them. We must enable them to get past this or they’ll never be able to keep a job or keep a relationship in tact.

3. Play a game with them called: What’s it like to be on the other side of me?

Too many students (and adults for that matter) struggle with self-awareness. I believe becoming self-aware is step one on the leadership journey. So why not sit down with your upset student and play this little game where both of you relay to the other what it feels like to be on the receiving end of their communication and style? My friend Jeff Henderson calls this game: “What’s it like to be—on the other side of me?” It’s a brilliant set up for honest conversations where I can both listen to my students assess my style, but also share with them how they’re being received by others. Once I have conveyed my evaluation, I will often say: “I’m pretty sure you don’t mean to come across this way.”

I received a phone call from a former intern, who I let go before her internship was over. It was hard for both of us. The phone call, however, was a positive reflection of her time with us. She left angry but was now grateful. We had both shared “what’s it like to be on the other side of me.” To put it simply, it was eye-opening for her. This young woman called to thank me for being honest, and for turning her “misperceptions into meaningful perspective.”

I believe that’s one of the leader’s primary jobs.”

Distracted youth

Researchers say extensive use of media has led to greater distractibility

03/14/2017 | ConsumerAffairs |

By Christopher Maynard

https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/why-young-people-may-be-more-easily-distracted-than-ever-before-031417.html

“The rise of smartphones has allowed consumers to multitask and get more things done than ever before, but researchers state that it has led to greater distractibility amongst young people.

In a recent study, scientists from the University of Helsinki tested participants between the ages of 13 and 24 on their ability to perform working memory and attention tasks. They found that this younger generation had trouble filtering out disturbances and sticking to the task at hand.

“[Participants] had a harder time filtering out distractive stimuli. This was also seen as higher activity in regions of the frontal lobe, which can be a sign of excessive strain,” said lead researcher Mona Moisala.

Competing for resources

The researchers theorized that young people who extensively use multiple types of media use brain resources differently than other people. To test this, they monitored participants’ brain activity through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as they attempted to complete a task that required listening and reading.

The participants in the study were selected, at least partially, due to their extensive use of several types of media; the findings showed that those who had the most trouble during the task also had the most competition for neural resources in relevant brain areas. This, the researchers say, is a major limiting factor that could help explain the poor performances.

Moisala says that the study findings could go a long way towards understanding how screen time affects young people. She states that additional studies could help reveal how technology affects the developing brain and how negative outcomes could be avoided.

“Taken together, the results from these studies are of great importance, since it is vital to understand how the increasing amount of on-screen time might affect or interact with the cognitive and brain functioning of the current youth,” she said.

For more information, Moisala’s full dissertation concerning the study can be found here: https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/175346

Teen Lingo

four teens in school hall

-Brisa Ayub, 3/22/16

“From “TMRW” and “WYCM” to “vamping” and “vlogging,” the current digital lingo resembles that of an encrypted secret language — a secret code only known to those still waiting for their driver’s licenses. Students are coming up with clever, short, and to-the-point phrases that can make communication quicker and in many ways more interesting. But some of this lingo warrants a second look.

For those of us looking to keep a pulse on what our students are talking — or texting — about, first we need to know how to decode their shorthand. Our Digital Glossary gives parents and teachers a window into the world of kids’ digital lingo.

We’ve highlighted a few popular terms from our glossary to give you a leg up on cracking the code.

Doxxing
“Dox” is short for “dropping documents.” The term is used when someone maliciously reveals someone else’s personal information such as address, phone number, or private social media username on a public site or forum.

Among kids, doxxing might be done in revenge when a romantic relationship ends. The vigilante hacker group Anonymous has been known to dox people to draw attention to an issue.

Swatting
Similar to doxxing, swatting has the potential for some serious consequences. The term refers to a particular type of prank, which involves calling in fake police tips in an attempt to send a SWAT team to an individual’s home.

The term gained some serious attention when a Canadian teenager pleaded guilty to 23 charges related to an international binge of hacking, pranking, and harassment including swatting and doxxing unsuspecting victims. The teenager’s rampage led to a Florida school lockdown and even caused part of Disneyland to temporarily shut down.

PIR and POS
Two acronyms used to indicate when an adult is present. “PIR” stands for “parent in the room”; “POS” indicates “parent over shoulder.”

Can anyone guess what TIR stands for? (Hint: Not parent in the room, but __ in the room.)

BAE and FTW
Not all kids’ lingo is worthy of concern. “BAE” stands for “before anyone else.” It’s used across the Internet as a term of affection for a significant other or crush. “FTW” stands for “for the win.” For example, on a photograph of a friend wearing a purple jumpsuit, another teen may comment, “Purple jumpsuits FTW!” The acronym can be used seriously or sarcastically.

On Fleek
Still trying to figure out what “on fleek” means? Don’t worry if you don’t know this term. It seems the world doesn’t really understand it, either, yet people continue to use it. It’s essentially a synonym for the phrase “on point,” and it originated in a Vine video by a user known as Peaches Monroee, wherein she refers to her eyebrows as being “on fleek.” Now, rapper B.o.B has released a song called “Fleek,” and popular celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj have posted on social media with the popular caption.

https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/digital-glossary

Millennial fired after 2 hours

talia-janes-pic-on-twittermillenial_fired_two_hours

-from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/yelp-employee-complained-pay-online-post-fired-article-1.2540497

-by TOBIAS SALINGER NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, February 22, 2016, 9:25 PM

A Yelp customer service rep got fired because she posted this letter to the company’s CEO on the website Medium on Friday, she said.
A Yelp employee who slammed the company’s wages got fired after her letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman went live online Friday.

The 25-year-old woman who goes by “Talia Jane” revealed what it’s like living in San Francisco on her $1,466-per-month and $8.15-per-hour salary after taxes in a post called “Dear Jeremy” on the website Medium.

Company executives at the restaurant rating service featuring 95 million user-generated eatery reviews denied she got canned over the viral post. Yet Jane – whose real name has been withheld from media reports – said she received word from her former employer that she lost her job because the post violated company policy.

“Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage,” Jane wrote in the post.

“Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks. Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay?”

Jane, a customer service rep, was spending about 80% of her income on rent at her East Bay apartment, with little left over to pay utilities or transit fees, she wrote.

She said bread, which is free on the eighth floor of tech firm’s plush San Francisco office, was a luxury she couldn’t afford at home. Her poverty caused her to depend on a 10-pound bag of rice for meals, and a CVS employee felt so bad for her he loaned her $6 out of his own pocket when he heard her discussing her struggles with her boss, she said.

A Yelp spokeswoman declined to discuss her compensation or firing. She said in a statement that the company is expanding staff in its Phoenix office in part because executives “agree with her remarks about the high costs of living in San Francisco.” Stoppelman himself responded to Jane’s post in a series of tweets Saturday.

“I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me,” Stoppelman said. “Two sides to every HR story so Twitter army please put down the pitchforks.”

His former employee spoke in an interview with business news site Quartz about the more than $1,800 she’s received in donations since the post as well as backlash she got over past food pictures she displayed on social media. She was asked what she had in mind when she decided to write the letter.

“I know this sounds naive, but the original plan was I didn’t have a plan. I woke up hungry, and I thought I would send some tweets to the CEO and maybe he would see them,” she said. “I was looking at them and thought, ‘These are stupid. This doesn’t show any sense of validity or urgency. This is just a person being annoying.’”

She continued, “I figured I would write this all out. … And then everything f——- exploded.”

talia jane

An Open Letter To My CEO

Dear Jeremy,

When I was a kid, back in the 90s when Spice Girls and owning a pager were #goals, I dreamed of having a car and a credit card and my own apartment. I told my 8-year old self, This is what it means to be an adult.

Now, seventeen years later, I have those things. But boy did I not anticipate a decade and a half ago that a car and a credit card and an apartment would all be symbols of stress, not success.

I left college, having majored in English literature, with a dream to work in media. It was either that or go to law school. Or become a teacher. But I didn’t want to become a cliche or drown in student loans, see. I also desperately needed to leave where I was living — I could get into the details of why, but to sum up: I wanted to die every single day of my life and it took me several years to realize it was because of the environment I was in. So, I picked the next best place: somewhere close to my dad, since we’ve never gotten to have much of a relationship and I like the weather up here. I found a job (I was hired the same day as my interview, in fact) and I put a bunch of debt on a shiny new credit card to afford the move.

Coming out of college without much more than freelancing and tutoring under my belt, I felt it was fair that I start out working in the customer support section of Yelp/Eat24 before I’d be qualified to transfer to media. Then, after I had moved and got firmly stuck in this apartment with this debt, I was told I’d have to work in support for an entire year before I would be able to move to a different department. A whole year answering calls and talking to customers just for the hope that someday I’d be able to make memes and twitter jokes about food. If you follow me on twitter, which you don’t, you’d know that these are things I already do. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s get back to the situation at hand, shall we?

So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week. Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage. Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks.

Fortunately, someone helped him out. At least, I think they did. I actually haven’t seen him in the past few months. Do you think he’s okay? Another guy who got hired, and ultimately let go, was undoubtedly homeless. He brought a big bag with him and stocked up on all those snacks you make sure are on every floor (except on the weekends when the customer support team is working, because we’re what makes Eat24 24-hours, 7 days a week but the team who comes to stock up those snacks in the early hours during my shift are only there Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays. They get holidays and weekends off! Can you imagine?). By and large, our floor pummels through those snacks the fastest and has to roam other floors to find something to eat. Is it because we’re gluttons? Maybe. If you starve a pack of wolves and toss them a single steak, will they rip each other to shreds fighting over it? Definitely.

I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job. Not because I’m lazy, but because I got this ten pound bag of rice before I moved here and my meals at home (including the one I’m having as I write this) consist, by and large, of that. Because I can’t afford to buy groceries. Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating. Of which I do a lot. Because 80 percent of my income goes to paying my rent. Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?

Let’s talk about those benefits, though. They’re great. I’ve got vision, dental, the normal health insurance stuff — and as far as I can tell, I don’t have to pay for any of it! Except the copays. $20 to see a doctor or get an eye exam or see a therapist or get medication. Twenty bucks each is pretty neat, if spending twenty dollars didn’t determine whether or not you could afford to get to work the next week.

Did I tell you about how I got stuck in the east bay because my credit card, which amazingly allows cash withdrawals, kept getting declined and I didn’t have enough money on my BART Clipper card to get to work? Did I tell you that my manager, with full concern and sympathy for my situation, suggested I just drive through FastTrak and get a $35 ticket for it that I could pay at a later time, just so I could get to work? Did I tell you that an employee at CVS overheard my phone call with my manager and then gave me, straight from his wallet, the six dollars I needed to drive into work? Do you think CVS pays more than Yelp? I worked a job similar to one at CVS. A manager spends half an hour training you on the cash register, you watch a video, maybe take a brief quiz, and you’re fully trained to do the entire job. Did you know that after getting hired back in August, I’m still being trained for the same position I’ve got? But Marcus at CVS has six dollars in his wallet, and I’m picking up coins on the street trying to figure out how I’ll be able to pay him back.

Speaking of that whole training thing, do you know what the average retention rate of your lowest employees (like myself) are? Because I haven’t been here very long, but it seems like every week the faces change. Do you think it’s because the pay your company offers is designed to attract young people with no responsibilities, sort of like the CIA? Except these people don’t even throw away their trash, because they still live at home and this is their very first job and they don’t have to take an aptitude test like at the CIA. Do you know how many cash coupons I used to give out before I was properly trained? In one month, I gave out over $600 to customers for a variety of issues. Now, since getting more training, I’ve given out about $15 in the past three months because I’ve been able to de-escalate messed up situations using just my customer service skills. Do you think that’s coincidence? Or is the goal to have these free bleeders who throw money at angry customers to calm them down set the standard for the whole company? Do you think there’s any point in training a customer service agent to learn and employ customer service skills? Or is it better to attract those first-time employees with their poor habits and lack of work ethic with the same wage part-time employees at See’s Candies make for standing by the door in a stupid outfit and handing out free chocolate? Do you think those free chocolates cost $600 a month per employee? Have you ever seen an angry See’s Candies customer? You know what I could do with $600 extra a month? For starters, I probably wouldn’t have to take money from Marcus at CVS just to get to work.

Will you pay my phone bill for me? I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly) but I have to save as much of that as possible to pay my rent ($1245) for my apartment that’s 30 miles away from work because it was the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work. That’s $11.30 a day, by the way. I make $8.15 an hour after taxes. I also have to pay my gas and electric bill. Last month it was $120. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work? Have you ever drank a liter of water before going to bed so you could fall asleep without waking up a few hours later with stomach pains because the last time you ate was at work? I woke up today with stomach pains. I made myself a bowl of rice.

Look, I’ll make you a deal. You don’t have to pay my phone bill. I’ll just disconnect my phone. And I’ll disconnect my home internet, too, even though it’s the only way I can do work for my freelance gig that I haven’t been able to do since I moved here because I’m constantly too stressed to focus on anything but going to sleep as soon as I’m not at work. Should I sell my car? It’s not my car, actually, it’s my grandpa’s. But the back left tire is flat and the front right headlight is out and the registration is due to be renewed in April and I already know I can’t afford any of that. I haven’t even gotten an oil change since I started this job (in August). But maybe I could find someone on Craigslist who won’t mind all of that because they’ll look at the dark circles under my eyes and realize I need the cash more than they do.

How about this: instead of telling you about all the ways I’m withering away from putting my all into a company that doesn’t have my back, I offer some solutions. I emailed Mike, Eat24’s CEO, about a few ideas to give back to our community for the holidays. He, along with someone named Patty, politely turned them down. But maybe you could repurpose them?
Originally, I suggested that Eat24/Yelp employees volunteer at local soup kitchens and food banks to give back to our Bay Area community (I see on your twitter that you care deeply about the homeless epidemic in our city) while also helping the different departments meet and mingle. Maybe instead, you can help set up something to allow Eat24/Yelp employees to get food from local food banks and soup kitchens? I’m pretty proficient at rice, but some hot soup would sure make up for not being able to afford to use my heater.

Originally, I suggested that Eat24 offer a matching donation with customers where they can choose a donation amount during checkout and Eat24/Yelp would match it and donate those profits to a national food program. Maybe instead, you can let customers choose a donation amount during checkout and divide those proceeds among your employees who spend more than 60% of their income on rent? The ideal percent is 30%. As I said, I spend 80%. What do you spend 80% of your income on? I hear your net worth is somewhere between $111 million and $222 million. That’s a whole lotta rice.

Originally, I suggested that Eat24 offer special coupon codes where half of the code’s value ($1) goes to charity. Maybe instead, you can give half the code’s value ($1) to helping employees who live across the bay pay their transit fares? Mine are $226 monthly. According to this website, you’ve got a pretty nice house in the east bay. Have you ever been stranded inside a CVS because you can’t afford to get to work? How much do you pay your gardeners to keep that lawn and lovely backyard looking so neat?

I did notice — and maybe this was just a fluke — that Yelp has stopped stocking up on those awful flavored coconut waters. Was that Mike’s suggestion? Because I did include, half-facetiously, in that email he and Patty so politely rejected that Yelp could save about $24,000 in two months if the company stopped restocking flavored coconut waters since no one drinks them (because they taste like the bitter remorse of accepting a job that can’t pay a living wage and everyone kept falling over into the fetal position and hyperventilating about their life’s worth. It really cut into the productivity that all those new hires are so prolific at avoiding). I wonder what it would be like if I made $24,000 more annually. I could probably get the headlight fixed on my car. And the flat tire. And maybe even get the oil change and renewed registration — but I don’t want to dream too extravagantly. Maybe you could cut out all the coconut waters altogether? You could probably cut back on a lot of the drinks and snacks that are stocked on every single floor. I mean, I could handle losing out on pistachio nuts if I was getting paid enough to afford groceries. No one really eats the pistachios anyway — have you ever tried answering the phone fifty times an hour while eating pistachios? Those hard shells really get in the way of talking to hundreds of customers and restaurants a day.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I know they’re not worth your time — did you know that the average American earns enough money that the time they would spend picking up a penny costs more than the penny’s worth? I pick up every penny I see, which I think explains why sharing these thoughts is worth my time, even if it’s not worth yours.

Your Friend In Food,
Talia

UPDATE: As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company. This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?) but any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated. My PayPal is paypal.me/taliajane, my Venmo is taliajane (no hyphen). Square Cash is cash.me/$TaliaJane. Thank you so much for helping my story be heard.