Keeping it real and positive with Kiley

Gold covered poop… is still poop

Things have changed on my end.  We actually did get hired BACK to work here.  My boss is pretty cool & looked over everything.  Since we’re a nonprofit we don’t pay into unemployment first, it’s paid later.  So since he would have to pay for us anyways, he just thought it was easier to bring us back & keep us working.  However, its at severely limited hours. Which is fine! I don’t mind sacrificing for the animals. Again, that’s ALWAYS what zookeepers do.  When is it ever going to be our turn? Not while there are living animals that still need us & that’s just a fact, y’all.  

So I did get a paycheck & it was about what I would have gotten if I kept my unemployment claim in.  Have you filed yet? Yes, it’s alarming & overwhelming. Yes, there is a lot of unknowns right now. Yes, we hear nothing but depressing news.  

This week we hit more than ten MILLION unemployment claims.  The system is bogged down. Some people won’t receive benefits any time soon.  Some of those benefits will be extremely small (or normal for those of us in this field…sigh).  It’s officially getting scary out there. My advice? KEEP AT IT. I know at lot of people are scared about money, but just keep plugging away.  Find out what your state offers & start a budget. ASAP. Knowledge is power. Completely cliche but completely accurate right now. You will feel stronger & more confident if you know where & what your money is doing.  

If you’re too scared to look at your bank account, you will never know how to move forward.  If you need help or advice on where to turn, REACH OUT TO YOUR BANK. Most of them have people on staff right now to assist.  How do you set money aside for savings? How do you invest? How do you use what you have in the best way? There are a lot of people out in the world right now that are there to land a hand.  Like Mr. Rogers said, “look for the helpers”. Financial aid staff are absolutely there & want to help you. Tell them you’re a zookeeper who saves animals & they will think you’re the coolest!  They will absolutely do what they can for you. Also, I highly recommend doing this when you’re not living during the apocalypse as well. I know it’s cool to be financially uncouth, but seriously it’s going to save your life in the future.  

Have all of your information at hand.  Have the last eighteen months of employment information, w-2’s, addresses, personal information.  Have this at hand, filed. I know we like to live on computers now, but for this I would recommend getting a file case & printing everything off.  When you’re on the phone with people this will make it easier. I wish I could provide more links, but I swear to you, if you go to your bank’s webpage they will have something about how to get help.  Please call them.  

Do you have financial advice you want to share?  Have a book or a podcast you want to give a shout out to?  Have you found a way to live financially sound as a zookeeper?  Share it! We have this fear that it’s not polite to talk about money unless we’re complaining about it, but now is a time to help lift each other up, not to brag.  If you have found ways that work, lets get it out there & help make zookeeping a career that people aren’t scared to get into.  

Note from LynnLee: Both Kiley and I have prepared for this situation years in advance and have emergency savings funds with 3-18 months of expenses stocked away. I followed Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball program back in 2016 and that has made a huge difference in my life and in my anxiety. In 2008 I did not have that emergency fund and so I truly know how it feels to be facing layoffs and unemployment without that cushion. I just wanted to share that it’s possible to do, even in our field. Reach out if you want support!

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