Well, no, not really

Parsha is keenly aware of the incongruity of going to work each day at one of the richest companies in the world after sleeping in the back seat of her car. “Sometimes people ask me, ‘Where do you live? What city do you live in?’” she said. “I just feel ashamed.’”

Parsha earns well above Facebook’s minimum wage – she is a content specialist, moderating live videos and other content – but she still hasn’t been able to find an apartment or room that she can afford alongside her student loans and other bills. She’s set up a GoFundMe page, and shared it on Facebook.

“It’s not enough pay to survive based on the rent that’s out there. How can people survive? A one-bedroom is at least $1800,” she said, underestimating what she would likely have to shell out for an apartment of her own.

“That’s my whole check right there.”

Well above” so, say $20 an hour? 180 hours a month, $3,600.

Hmm.

The more amusing thing about this piece is that it’s all about how people who work at Facebook can’t afford to live there. Which is entirely true by the way:

But those wages only go so far in a region with out-of-control housing costs.

That it’s the local governments which cause this isn’t one of the things they deign to mention.

19 thoughts on “Well, no, not really”

  1. Why would someone whose job entails looking at online videos have to work in a particular physical location?

    It’s either nostalgia or a lack of management confidence. (The latter is a particular problem in the tech industry – people get promoted in to management roles because they are good at the lower level tech roles. You don’t just have the Peter Principle problem, you also have a problem that you are thrown live in to a new role for which you are untrained and quite probably, if you were a good tech, unsuited. I read a great article on this a couple of days ago but can’t find it in my browser history 🙁 )

    I’ve been personally amazed, especially while contracting, in the differences in the presenteeism required from my various “managers”. I have had a recent role, where they couldn’t care really what I was doing, as long as my bum was visible on the seat in the office. The current role is happy to let me work from home as much as is practical (unfortunately, we are a bit meeting-heavy at the moment).

  2. “…what she would likely have to shell out for an apartment of her own.”

    I shared a house until I could afford my own place. What’s so special about her that she couldn’t do that?

  3. It’s almost like they are living in a market with no flexibility in the supply of housing. I wonder what could be preventing the market from responding to this demand.

  4. The Graun can never find an example of straightforward poverty can it?

    The Gonzales spend a lot of their income on housing; not unusual in an expensive city. If Mrs G did the interview in Spanish I’m going to guess that she is a fairly recent immigrant so her circumstances are voluntary.

    I do have some sympathy for Jiovanny as it seems the poor fucker is on the hook for half his wife’s family. My finances would be stretched by looking after four adults and four kids. But again it’s his choice.

    Unique has told us about a quarter of the story, I suspect. Although I expect being a 300 pound pink-clad eccentric with a pink dog will make it tougher to find a flatshare.

  5. “She said she liked working at Facebookand didn’t resent the engineers and product managers she cleans up after. “I know that they are the ones that are making the money,” she said in Spanish.”

    Would it be too terribly Trumpish of me to suggest that your life, career prospects and access to nice housing in the United States might be just a teensy weensy bit improved by speaking that country’s language?

  6. Choose to live in one of the most expensive places on Earth and then moan about how expensive it all is, while OF COURSE insisting on having your own apartment.

    Also the Guardian doesn’t quite get why the most Progressive city on Earth is massively expensive to live in.

  7. Looking at property there, basically a large 3 bed bungalow, $2,595,000. The website helpfully shows the estimated mortgage as $9,521 per month. Lol.

  8. “It’s either nostalgia or a lack of management confidence.”

    I think at this point it’s just that Facebook are not watching spending much as they’re still making plenty, so can put everyone into SF as long as they’ll come and pay the wages.

    They could put a team checking videos for porn, violence etc anywhere in the USA. Detroit, Arkansas, Arizona. Hell, move them to Oakland. I know lots of companies that have moved most of their team out of London to places like Newbury. You need some sales and customer liaison there, but the rest can be an hour’s train ride away or more.

  9. MC

    “The Graun can never find an example of straightforward poverty can it?”

    Funny, but here in NZ there was a similar article in one of the main papers showing a poor woman who had only $22/week to buy food. They, strangely, missed mentioning her 42 criminal convictions and the money she was paying back to the courts. Genuine cases of poverty seem hard to find.

  10. And to think there will be millions of people on lower income who do manage to find a place to live.

    How are they doing that? What skills do they bring to the rental / purchase places that she does not?

    I bet if I had her job from a standing start I’d be in a place within a week. Because I want to. House share doesn’t bother me, beats living in back seat of your car (which I have done).

  11. Martin – indeed.

    Or at least sell the Merc and buy a van. There are people who do this voluntarily (lots of youtube videos) and I can almost see the appeal…

  12. “Parsha” –or should that be “Parka”– is a censor for Zucker’s and his gang.

    I’m sorry for the dog but as far as she is concerned someone could cut her brake cables and push her mobile home off a nearby cliff.

  13. MC,

    “Or at least sell the Merc and buy a van. There are people who do this voluntarily (lots of youtube videos) and I can almost see the appeal…”

    When you look at how much stuff laptops and phones do for you today, it’s certainly a lot easier than some decades ago. I knew a bloke who was getting a camper van and part of the reason was that he could go and work on a client site and stay in the van in the week and save money on hotels.

  14. Expat friend of mine was paying something like $4k/month for a two bed apartment in the valley 7 years ago. Like me, you can make an educated guess as to her minimum earnings at the time. She’s now got a place of her own up by the bay. The advantage of being a techie rather than doing an entry level administrative role.

  15. Parsha should watch a few episodes of Friends.

    She might gain some insight into how & where young singles & couples often live in USA & UK.

  16. “It’s not enough pay to survive based on the rent that’s out there. How can people survive?”

    Find a job that pays enough. Somewhere else.

  17. “Parsha should watch a few episodes of Friends.
    She might gain some insight into how & where young singles & couples often live in USA & UK.”

    A yuuuge rent-controlled apartment in the expensive end of New York?

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