I keep seeing this one meme on Facebook, over and over, slightly reworded each time. At least one person I know has posted it multiple times. It is posted by “essential workers,” talking about how we “non-essential workers” are sitting on our butts, chilling, collecting money. That might be true for a few people, I’ll give you that. There have always been people who are either lucky or lazy. That’s nothing new and the pandemic certainly didn’t create them. But, as someone who has worked two or more jobs most of her adult life, and put herself through college as an adult while also working, I can tell you I am not lazy. And I find this meme that blankets everyone on unemployment into that lump as both hurtful and offensive.
How Unemployment Is Not The Windfall Some Are Making It Out To Be
A year and a half ago, I had a massive heart attack and heart failure as many of you who read this blog already know. What was worse than the illness was the massive pile up of bills I then had to dig myself out from under afterwards. There were a few wonderful people who stepped in to help, who I will be forever grateful to, but I had to do most of it myself. And I did. At one point I was 5 months behind in my mortgage. 5 freaking months. As of about 6 months ago, I was completely current again. Why? Because, I am NOT lazy and, when I was healed enough, I began working multiple jobs to fix the situation.
The “stimulus” check was not in fact meant to be a stimulus check but instead a check meant to help those in immediate need due to the pandemic. If we want to nitpick about everyone’s finances, to be fair, shouldn’t that have then gone only to those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and not everyone? Yet, I am not seeing memes about that from those that are counting everyone’s money. Strange…
In December I brought home $3695. $2850 of that was from blogging and $845 was from substitute teaching. I am using December as my example because, ask any blogger, January and February [until around Valentine’s Day] are slow revenue wise. The summer is pretty great monetarily, so I didn’t use any month there either because of the skewed results I would have gotten. December was a pretty typical month for me.
March 13th, the school system I substituted for closed due to coronavirus. So there went that income. With companies’ ad needs changing and travel at a stand still, many blog projects that I was able to earn money from disappeared as well. I have been trying to get unemployment for 6 weeks now [Read about the first 4 weeks of my struggle here] only to be told today that, for the ENTIRE last 6 weeks of fighting to get unemployment, I get a grand total of $78. Why? Because I make “too much” money at my self employment job and only qualified for unemployment for one week out of the six [a week that I made nothing]. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. That extra $600 for that one week will be nice! Nope. I don’t get that either. That extra $600 that the government promised those on unemployment didn’t start until the VERY NEXT DAY. And what did I make on my blogs the week starting that VERY NEXT DAY? $150. And that’s all I will get for that week because that little bit of money is “too much” for me to qualify for unemployment.
For April, so far, I have made $975 blogging. We are only 23 days in so there is still a chance to make more. Perhaps I can pull $1300 together? That’s going to be a far cry from the almost $3700 I might make in a typical month otherwise. I went from making $3700 a month to $1300 a month. Now, tell me, “essential employees” posting these stupid memes, how many of you can live on a 65% DECREASE in pay? How many of you can roll around in it while sitting back on the couch, chilling, drinking margaritas?
I can continue to claim unemployment but, honestly, what’s the point? I haven’t made a dime for any week but that one for $78. By the way, that $78 is on a card somewhere that they were supposed to of send, that I never received and they don’t seem to know how to help me find. My only option now is to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. But do I want to go through another 6 week fight to then be told that I can’t get it because I applied for unemployment or some other nonsense?
It’s a crap situation all around. “Essential employees” have to go out everyday and be potentially exposed to something that could possibly kill them or the loved ones they could possibly bring it home to. But they have a dependable source of income. “Non-essential employees” get to stay home where they are safe, but they are monetarily insecure. Some have far less money than others. But we are all struggling in our own way. I am glad that I have my blogs to rely on because Lord knows that “unemployment windfall” hasn’t done anything for this girl except waste her time that she could have been using trying to come up with something else.
I am super stressed like everyone else right now and this is not helping. I have also spoken to several people who have posted this meme and explained to them why it’s not true nor is it helping morale in general. This isn’t any of our fault. I feel like we should all be supporting each other right now instead of finding ways to get digs in and passing judgment.
How have you struggled during this pandemic? Share in the comments below or on our social media channels.