Keeping it real and positive with Kiley

Chronicles of an unemployed zookeeper

I can say with complete & total honesty that I NEVER expected this.  Ok, well maybe not never, but let me tell you if I did think about something like this happening, I was way more cool & rocking studded leather clothes & face paint or something.  Instead, I’m in my shabby old college sweats in a messy 1 bedroom apartment writing this at 5am because I couldn’t sleep. Ew… I’m like a lame NPC.  

What exactly is this?  Well to me, it seems to be the end of the world.  My life as I know it is over & my fight for survival in a dystopian world begins (not really but that’s what it felt like). 

Yesterday, at 6pm the governor shut down my state & I became unemployed.  Just like that. I was told via popup on my phone no less. Ugh, it’s like being broken up with by text… or post-it if you’re old school.  

It blows to be honest.  

Myself & my three coworkers just kind of sat in the employee break room in shock when we heard the news was coming right as we were about to clock out for the day.  

But then, someone cracks a stupid joke.  We giggle. We all take a breath & kind of collectively go… what next?  Because in the world of animal care that really is what we do best. What next?  Ok, get it done. Our world, our tiny microcosm of the facility or even just the department that we work in, is filled every day with those kinds of moments.  

Those moments where life suddenly takes a left turn & you’re left scrambling.  Yet we always seem to manage it, don’t we?  

The animals need it.  

So we just do it. 

Of course, our first thoughts are always for the animals.  Gotta love the animal care world for that. The worst moments & our thoughts in that instant are not about ourselves.  I love you all for that. I mean that from the depth of my heart. But let’s talk about those second thoughts. Those “oh… well **** now what” thoughts.  We all have them. After all, I can’t sleep & don’t want to look at my bank account at the moment. You’re normal. It’s ok. But think about how we handle things at work?

Something happens at work.  You maybe let yourself panic for one tiny moment & then, you’re ON IT.  Like a peacock on a school kid’s snack you are motivated! Understand the scenario to the best of your ability, make a game plan, take it one step at a time.  You have the ability to think in milliseconds about the steps that need to happen & what order. Suddenly another curve ball appears & you’re already readjusting.  Boom. Rake drop. Nailed it. Or most likely zip tied it because that’s all you had available at the time you animal keeping, training, educating badass.  

I know it doesn’t seem like that, but right now you are the animal that you need to take care of.  Your fellow keepers are the animals that you need to take care of. In this moment in history, I invite you to rise to the occasion to be the best human keeper you can for yourself & our community.  Understand the situation to the best of your ability, help others to do the same. Come up with a protocol (write it out in standard training format if you need to). Get one step done. File for unemployment today.  Bridge yourself! ’m really serious about this. You’ll feel better knowing it’s coming & you can also bridge yourself for it & get more M&M’s. Bonus!

Remember that the best plans have wiggle room.  The best training plans sometimes need tiny approximations.  Getting up & dressed, might need to be one of those. Whatever it takes.  Bridge yourself & get some M&Ms. 

I’m going to sharing my story with you a little over the upcoming… days weeks months whatever… & I want you to share with me too!  Welcome to my world. My name is Kiley & I am NOT an NPC. I’m a badass, slightly anxious, really broke, zookeeper and unemployed. 

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