Friday, March 20, 2020

Unemployed...

At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to share this post. I feel like there is enough depressing, scary and sad news circulating these days and I didn't want to add to it (especially because I try my darnedest to be a bright light to those around me), but this is real life (which some of you are interested in ;)) so eventually I decided to hit "publish".


I'll be honest, up until Wednesday everything seemed to be "business as usual" over in the McDot world. The hubby had been working from home for a few days, but he had been doing freelance design for about a year before he started with adidas, so it wasn't so completely out of the norm for us. I was still working my normal hours at the running store (we had cancelled all of our events and fun runs, but the store itself was still open for business with our normal hours). Don't get me wrong, we were cleaning and sanitizing like mad as soon as any customers came in and left, but for the most part COVID-19 wasn't personally impacting my life (other than being slightly anxious about only having three rolls of toilet paper in the house and not being able to buy any during my recent weekly grocery trip). Well, all of that quickly changed...

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Wednesday my co-worker and I got a call from our store manager, letting us know they were cutting hours while things worked themselves out. It netted out to only lowering my hours by about 6 hours a week (three of my 10am - 7pm shifts would be changed to 12pm - 7pm shifts - not a big deal and it would give me more time in the morning to run ;)). We all knew changes like this were on the horizon, we just weren't sure when they'd roll out and how much impact they'd have.

Just in case you didn't know, I have LOVED working at my local running store!

Thursday was the first day with my new hours. Things in the store hadn't been as slow as one might assume with everything going on. We landed on the reasoning being that since gyms and studios were closed, people were really only "left with" walking and running as forms of exercise so everyone was stocking up on their running shoes and attire.

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Before I went to bed on Thursday, I received an email notification saying my administrative rights for the store's Facebook page had been revoked (I help with their social media as well as working as a sales associate in the store). I took a screenshot and texted it to the hubby (who had gone to watch a movie at a friend's house before the "shelter in place" order was released) with a "Hmmmm...". I hoped it was an accident, but knew deep down something was coming.

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As I briefly mentioned, Thursday evening the governor of California issued a statewide order for all residents to ‘stay at home’ amid the coronavirus outbreak. The order is in place until further notice. Essential services (such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks) will stay open. {California estimates that more than half of the state — 25.5 million people — will get the new coronavirus over the next eight weeks. “We believe the virus will impact about 56% of California’s population... We believe with a 20% hospitalization rate, that’s about 19,543 people that would need to be hospitalized – above the existing capacity of our system.” California is the third hardest hit state in the US, behind Washington and New York.} I knew that meant the store would close temporarily, but assumed that when I woke up on Friday we'd probably have an email from our manager (or maybe the owners) letting us know that once the order was lifted that life (and business) would go back to normal... Good thing I'm not a betting girl, because boy, was I wrong.

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Friday morning came and I saw my phone light up with a call from the store. I figured it would be the store manager (who was supposed to be working from open until close), letting us know that they would be abiding by the governor's mandate. I was a bit shocked when she said that she was at the store to hang a sign saying the store was CLOSED... like closed, closed. She said that she hated that it came down to this (don't we all?!) and after the dust settles and IF they are able to re-open they'd love to have me back, but for now she'd recommend I file for unemployment as soon as possible.

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Now let me mention that I had talked to her a few days earlier and told her I was well aware of the saying "last hired, first fired" so if they needed to lay folks off, I absolutely understood the nature of the business and would harbor no ill-will or hard feelings. She thanked me for the offer but said that I was too important to her and the store to let that happen. I wrapped up the conversation by saying I was selfishly super happy to hear that, but if it came down to it, which I prayed it didn't, I would absolutely understand and she should not worry about having to address it if push came to shove...

Well, push came to shove...

As of Friday morning I became officially laid-off (along with the rest of my coworkers). I jumped on the unemployment site and filed for benefits (in my 35 years I have never once had to do this - I have always left a job on my own terms). I realize I've paid into the program for the past 20+ years, but it still felt a little strange having to submit a claim to take advantage of the benefits. I won't know for a couple weeks if my claim is approved (and I'm sure with everything going on right now it may be delayed even longer than normal), but for now I will hold my head high without feeling shame or guilt for having to submit a claim - even though those seemed to be the first emotions I felt when I hit the submit button (I'm obviously not alone, I saw an article that said unemployment claims hit 80,000 IN ONE DAY earlier this week in California alone!).

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Again, I am hoping that once we can get a handle on the coronavirus that the economy will be able to bounce back, but how long that will take (and if some of the family-owned and operated businesses will still be around at that point) is anyone's guess. I will say that I am staying positive and hopeful, knowing we will come out okay on the other side.

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With that saying, I did want to urge each of us to do our best to not only stay healthy, happy, safe and sane during these uncertain and somewhat scary times, but also to continue to support our local mom-and-pop shops whenever and however possible! We're in this together so let's do what we can to help one another get through this as best as we can!

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Are you currently under "house arrest"?

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Hang tight! These are highly unusual times and we are all in for a wild ride!

Good for you for filing unemployment right away. You're not the first person to do it, shoot I've done it, and since its really insurance you've been paying for, no shame and no guilt okay?

My cat loves this work from home thing. Me, I'm having trouble getting the WORK part going (especially since my cat wants to sit on my keyboard).