February 23, 2016

Don't Try To Live in S.F. or NYC on Minimum Wage

You really should NOT try to live in a very expensive city like San Francisco or New York City on a minimum wage income.   A young woman named Talia apparently did not realize this.   She recently publicly whined at her companies CEO about how little money she makes and how she can't afford to eat.

Talia Jane's : An Open Letter To My CEO:  You can read the whole thing if you want but the key of the letter is where she says: "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".    You really can't expect to afford to eat, drive, pay utilities, etc with the $200 a month left after paying rent.

There is a  customer support specialist job opening at Eat24.    But I would not recommend taking that job then trying to live in S.F. on that income alone.  

I doubt that job opening is just because they fired her after her rant.   Its more likely that they have that job open continuously.     Customer support service jobs are entry level high turn over positions.   They likely go through people on a continual basis and are always having to hire and train different people as others leave after a few months or maybe a year or two.

The Yelp CEO says he agrees SF is expensive but that her firing wasn't his doing.

Minimum wage is currently $12.25 in S.F.  But if she waited a few months she'd get a nice raise.
 S.F. minimum wage is going up... $13 in July $14 in July '17 $15 in July '18 I'd like to get 6.1%, 7.6% and 7.1% in the next 3 years but I know that ain't gonna happen.    I don't think we can really expect more help from the city of S.F. in this matter.  

I'm not sure what more we can really expect from Talia's employers.    $12.25 an hour for an entry level job that doesn't require college plus apparently has 100% free benefits and free food at work isn't a bad deal even in a city like S.F.  

I wonder what Talia's roommate thinks about all this?    Oh, wait, she never said anything about having a roommate and didn't talk about paying half of the $1245 a month, so apparently Talia doesn't even have a roommate.    Wow.     Seriously?      Trying to live in one of the most expensive cities in the nation, if not the world, on minimum wage AND doing it without sharing housing?   I mean really... ?     Even the totally unrealistic financial situations we see in TV sitcoms or dramas like Friends or Girls make it pretty clear that low wage earners in SF or NYC don't get the luxury of single occupancy housing.

I wouldn't try to live on minimum wage in most any city without a roommate.   Its really not going to work any better in most any city, not just the most expensive places.  

But even if Talia did have a roommate it would still be a significant struggle to try and live on ~$800 a month after rent is paid.     Its not impossible like living on $200 and maybe she could manage it but it would probably be pretty hard.    I wouldn't recommend it.  I recommend making more money if you've got a choice.   Eat some cake too while you're at it.    Or maybe Talia should follow the example of one of her ex coworkers and move to a city where minimum wage is a livable wage, if a low wage is all her skills and experience and career aspirations are going to get her.   Theres nothing wrong with wanting to get an English degree and then wanting to go write snarky comments on Twitter for a living.   Just don't expect corporate America to throw money at you for it.    And definitely, absolutely don't expect to be able to live in an over priced city like San Fran or NYC on your minimum wage without a roommate.     Its not Talias ex employers that made that plan fail.   that plan was Talia's plan.   That plan was doomed to fail from the start.


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