Happy Birthday to me!
March 24, 2020 was my 50th birthday. And I was recently unemployed and if that wasn’t bad enough – here comes the coronavirus. No big celebration and social distancing has begun.
My last assignment ended in November 2019 and I did have some savings to manage for a “rainy day”. But four months later to March 2020, that “rainy day” was nearing a monsoon. There were countless calls from colleagues about the lack of work during this time of the year, which is when it usually picks up. Then, a week before my birthday, I started an assignment that would last about a month and talk about timing. Look at God! Exactly what I needed. Well, three days into the assignment, the company abruptly stopped the assignment for fear and safety relating to the coronavirus. It couldn’t have come at a worse time – for me, and I’m sure for others. I was strapped financially and I panicked – and I was scared. I needed to work. I’m single with depleted savings and facing a potential nationwide shutdown that could last several weeks to possible months, as reported.
Where was the coronavirus in November 2019 when I had more savings and was blessed to not be paycheck to paycheck? My mind went a million miles a minute on everything from should I cancel my Netflix subscription to will I be evicted. I obsessed with the breaking news and updates relating to the spread and the governments’ “plan”. Congress recently released details of the “stimulus” package for Americans impacted adversely by the pandemic’s job loss and guess what? Out of $2 trillion – I am only eligible for a $1,200.00 one-time payment, possibly. Why, “possibly”? Because the threshold to receive the $1,200.00 is for individuals that make $75,000.00 or less per year. The $1,200.00 one-time payment amount decreases for income over $75,000.00 a year, which during the times when I worked, I exceeded that amount. So, my one-time payment would be even lower. And the decision to shut down the nation is affecting people in many different ways, aside from the obvious need to control the spread.
As an independent contractor I am paid most often as a 1099 status and am responsible for my own tax sheltering and benefits and am typically not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. But my most recent position in November 2019 was W-2 and allowed for me to apply for unemployment, which is not much at all – but something. My prayer is that in the midst of this pandemic I find a work from home job, which I’ve had before. There are other groups out there that are only paid as 1099 status and groups that are simply paid very low wages to begin with and those jobs are now gone with no guarantee that they will be available when this is over.
It’s a scary time yet not everyone has the luxury of self-quarantining for a number of weeks, let alone months. Yes, we must all work together and fall in line, but that doesn’t mean it will be luxurious.
With all the coronavirus reports and stories, there is just so much, and yet so little, information on what the actual next steps are for resolve. Yes. Wash your hands. Yes. Sneeze into your arm. Yes. Social distance. But with all of the same reports and stories advising that 80% of people who test positive will be “ok” – how can diagnosing, helping and saving the unfortunate group who contract the virus be juxtaposed with the larger group of people who will be fortunate enough to not be taken down by this monster virus? Yet, their lives are turned upside down as well. Let’s all take care.