I Got Laid Off Due to COVID-19

I’m doing my absolute best to remain calm. We’ve seen before that I’m not good at dealing with A) change, B) financial insecurity, or C) anxiety. So, this is a trying time for me. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m with my family and, if I do get sick, I have them. I’m trying to remind myself that my parents have already offered to help me out with my bills through the end of my lease; if it came to that, of course.

Life’s little St. Patrick’s Day gift to me and my coworkers was the restaurant most of us have called home for 30+ hours a week to-go food only. No dine-in guests means no servers and no tips. . Plainly put, the restaurant doesn’t need us right now. As of March 17th, I have been laid off from my job. I’ll have one more paycheck before I no longer have an income.

For all intents and purposes, I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m trying to remind myself that I’m with my family and, if I do get sick, I have them. I’m trying to remind myself that my parents have already offered to help me out with my bills through the end of my lease; if it comes to that, of course. Sure, I’ll be in a financially uncomfy spot for a while. I also might go a little loco inside my childhood home for the foreseeable future. However, I don’t have a family to support. I don’t have a mortgage. I don’t have to provide food for anyone. I don’t have crazy loans… well, hold up, I do actually. But, they’re from school,  which means they can be postponed in situations like this.

Am I scared? Fuck yes. Am I nervous about what my life is going to look like in a month? Absolutely. Am I getting more and more anxious about this as information is released? For sure. I have not, however, had an anxiety attack. Every time I feel it coming on, I remind myself that I’m blessed for the position that I’m in. Though I’m absolutely allowed to feel nervous and validated in my fear, there are others who have less resources and less support.

I work with people whose entire livelihood is dependent on the business of the restaurant. They work at 3 jobs, all of which have been closed due to the spread of this terrible virus. Missing even one paycheck is going to be detrimental to their entire family. I have the option to apply for unemployment. For one reason or another, not everyone does. I have two parents who have a lot of job security right now that can offer me my old room back. They want me to temporarily move in and depend on them until all of this passes. They have the ability to help me with bills as I start to chip away at the money I’ve saved. Moral of the story: I’m okay. Others are not. Others need as much help and resources as they possibly can get.

COVID-19 is truly scaring the shit out of me. In the last 36 hours, our cases have doubled in Wisconsin. No, I’m not scared of getting sick because as the media says, I would probably be fine as a young, decently-healthy person. I have had a gnarly cough for about a month that feels exactly like the bronchitis I had at this time last year, so I know my lungs are feeling a little tired. Even after that, I’m still not scared of getting the virus. I’m scared for my mom, who has been working tirelessly to keep an assisted living facility on lockdown. I’m scared for my grandma and uncle who are extremely immunocompromised. I’m scared for my friends that take medications every day, which might make them an easier target for all of this.

As it has with the majority of victims, the infection will pass. The thing that keeps me up at night is life just grinding to a halt because no one really knows what to do. The panic that everyone is exhibiting is what goes on inside an anxious person’s mind at a majority of times. Usually, though, we can watch normal life occurring around us and use coping mechanisms to calm ourselves down. In this space, there’s no reassurance from the outside. Everyone is just as scared as you are. No one knows what to do just like you don’t really know what to do. It makes me nervous that American’s panic is not being met with secure plans of action or support for those out of a job. American’s don’t even have the privilege of believing their executive branch because it’s stance goes from “not a real threat” to “always knew it was going to be dangerous” in just a matter of days.

Panic comes from fear. There’s not a lot of things that are strong enough to fight that force besides kindness, patience, and empathy. This is not the time to point fingers at people across the world who are experiencing loss and uncertainty at rates even higher than we are. This is not the time to stimulate the bank accounts of people with millions of dollars, but the time to ensure that working class Americans don’t lose their homes or starve to death. This is not the time for a “every man for himself” mentality, but for us to help those in our community with any resources we might have a surplus of – even if that surplus is just positivity in the face of so much chaos.

So, yes. I was one of the thousands of Americans that was laid off from their job as coronavirus rages through each state. I’m one of the thousands that’s looking to our leaders for support, whether it be financial, information, or physical.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. My absolute favorite line in The Lion King is “I know that the clouds will clear and that the sun will shine.” This will pass. It may not seem like it now. It might get much, much worse before it gets any better. Until then, reach out to your loved ones, read a book, do a puzzle, listen to my podcast, learn a new language, play a video game. If the government urging you to do so isn’t enough, stay home because it keeps people that are at larger risk of dying from this disease safe from transmission that you may or may not be feeling. If that’s not enough, stay home because it sets an example for those around you that you give a fuck about this. And if that’s not enough…. Stay home because it might allow people like me and my coworkers to get back to work faster.

Keep up with my social distancing on all forms of social media (@EmyDBlog on Insta, Twitter, and Facebook). If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this, please don’t hesitate to reach out! If you want to chat with me via email, you can do so at emydsaliby@gmail.com.

Must Be Funny, In a Rich Man’s World

I don’t have a relationship with money. Even when I have plenty to pay all my bills, save some, and do fun stuff, it never really feels like enough. I read a book once that said that you have stress about things that were surrounded by stress in your formative years.

I knew that I always had food, a warm bed, clothes, and my own bed every single night. I was able to do a lot of things that children around me couldn’t. Being hyperaware, though, has always been a curse as well as a blessing. My parents never talked about money with me. Never told me if they were struggling – on the contrary, my dad always said “you can always make more money” or “we will make it work”. That being said, I don’t come from a long line of royalty or business moguls either. I don’t have a trust fund & the value of a dollar became very apparent very early on.

Literally the cutest family ever. Sullivan did make it cuter I will admit.

My parents worked their asses off to get where they are. Like many in their generation, they don’t have these Masters degrees in their field, but were able work their way up. I spent my childhood watching my parents move up into jobs that valued you them more, paid them better, and that they loved doing. At 14, I wanted to be able to *kind of* provide for myself. I got a job in childcare at our church. My first paycheck I became obsessed with the idea of saving, not having enough, and having more.

Some of my friends never had to, and still don’t really have to, worry about a job. They have a credit card linked to their dad’s personal checking account for when times get too tough… and if that’s you, God bless you, dude. Good for your parents. Good for whoever made the fortune for the family – you and I just live very different lives.

At 14, I started to get worried about saving for college. 14 years old. I mean, I had to go to school and I could only work X amount of hours in a week. The thought of my parents paying my way made me sick to my stomach. Again, if your parents had that ability or that was your family’s plan, more fucking power to you. It just makes me REALLY uncomfortable. In my head, my parents are supposed to make sure I have food, shelter, and love. Even that, is more than some people have. I didn’t want or need them to pay for school… I could do that myself.

Let’s not get it twisted; my parents did put their credit on the line to co-sign on a lot of bullshit for me. Especially these student loans, so again, couldn’t have done it without them. After 4.5 years, I was happy to receive my diploma on my own merit, payments that I had made, and debt I had taken on myself.

My parent’s graduation gift to me was paying off a couple private loans. That gift cuts one of my monthly payments in half and takes care of thousands of dollars of school debt. I didn’t feel like I could accept it, even if it was a gift. It was their money – money that they could use to take trips, buy something lavish, or just save.

As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about rent, utilities, my car payment, loans, credit card, and just the price of being alive. There are huge steps I need to take in learning better ways to save money. I need to take better advantage of my monthly budget. God knows, I need to cool it on eating out so much. BUT, the first step of making money and having a good relationship with it has been instilled in me since I was a kid – work your ass off.

Spending someone else’s money is fun and exciting, but earning your own and supporting yourself is soooo empowering. So, if you find yourself spending a lot of money on things that seem temporary, I would challenge you with the question: Do I value one dollar? Do I value my time as a means of making money? Am I spending money to cope with something else? Odds are, one or more of those questions will lead you to some pretty vulnerable realizations about your relationship with money.

I actually really like current my job. I work with my best friends and I’m good at what I do. PLUS, sometimes we get to meet sweet baby angels like these puppies. But, I don’t see myself doing this forever.

I still struggle with moments of stress when it comes to money. I question the path of content creation I’ve chosen and whether it will be as fruitful and successful as I imagine my later life to be. And sure, I could join a corporate office that draws on my majors and make a salary and have a lot less unknown. I made a decision, though, that I would rather be happy, doing what I love, and living a somewhat more restrictive life in terms of finances than working in an office, feeling stale and unhappy, but having extra money in my bank account.

I’m recently listening to the RISE podcast with Rachel Hollis who is a multimillion dollar business owner with just a high school degree. She’s the author of books like “Girl, Wash Your Face” that have become all the rage in today’s younger success-hungry demographic. I listen and actually TAKE NOTES on her words, because her path is something I’m striving for. She always says “there are a LOT of ways to make money and pay your bills.” Which is so true! Money is circling around every industry, every career, and is waiting to be given to driven, motivated people. So, even if the moments now are stressful, I have to remember the end goal is getting paid for doing what you LOVE rather than settling for what you like.

Money is stressful. It’s a huge part of everyone’s mental health. But, you can always make it.. you WILL figure it out, and regardless of what your bank account looks like, you’re worthy of happiness, relaxation, and serenity. This is just as much a reminder for me as it is for all of you.