Here in America, the coronavirus is out of control. Millions of people are out of work. States that started opening up are closing back down. The extra unemployment benefits that many people have been using to keep their heads above water have ended.
Shit is about to hit the fan. For some people, it already has. But for many others, it is about to. The Senate is not interested in helping and is taking their time moseying along. Whatever they come up with will likely be woefully inadequate. Much like they are as human beings.
Many people are going to faced with choices for which there are no good options. They will have to choose what they are able to pay. Do they keep a roof over their heads even if it means they can’t pay the utilities and run short of food? Or do they let go of their homes and cram in with family and friends? Or into already overcrowded homeless shelters?
As the pandemic drags on and more people face these hard choices, the feeling in society will become increasingly hopeless and desperate.
How do you make choices when all the options are bad?
See Where Help Is Available
Some of you may have various amounts of savings waiting for an emergency like this. You may still have a job. You may be working your side hustle hard. But eventually, the savings will reach zero. You may lose your job as the economy craters. Your side hustle income may go down when most people no longer have any disposable income.
When you are faced with no good option, look around at where you can get help. If you have family that you can stay with, that is good. Even a cramped place is better than no place.
Look at both old and new programs. In my local area, many food banks have ramped up their operations making more help available. Some of the local governments have new programs specifically for those who have been slammed by the pandemic. Local schools provide food for kids that can be picked up. Local utilities are working to allow payment programs.
If you do not have family or friends that you can stay with, then keeping a roof over your head should probably be your highest priority. I know for most of us it is our largest expense, but safety dictates that you need an indoor place to reside and to socially isolate.
Unfortunately, if you cannot afford utilities, then the safety issue starts to get blurry. How safe is a home without running water or electricity?
For some of you perhaps some of your utilities are included in the rent and you are able to budget on the others.
I’m sure that the first thing you did was cancel everything not absolutely necessary. So that leaves, power, water, trash, sewer which depending on where you live might be bundled up in various ways. Where I live, I only have to worry about gas and electricity which are billed together. Everything else necessary is covered by the rent.
Deprioritize Pride, But Not Ethics
Pride keeps many people from reaching out for help. They mistakenly believe they should be able to make it on their own. Humans are not solitary creatures. We live in communities for a reason. Part of that reason is to be able to help each other out when needed. There is safety in numbers and if too much of your community leaves or dies, then everyone left will suffer.
Don’t be too proud to ask for and accept help.
Do not betray your ethics to secure help or security. Yeah, you might be able to keep your job by throwing an innocent colleague to the wolves. You may be able to increase your side income by cheating customers. You might even be willing to steal something you want or need. But the harm is not worth it. If you are discovered your reputation is toast. If you are not discovered, it will still damage you. You will begin to see yourself as the kind of person who does unethical/illegal things. That could lead to you doing more unethical things in the future.
If you are a sociopath you won’t care who you hurt. This article isn’t for you.
You will get through this. As horrible as it seems at the time, you will eventually bottom out and be able to start climbing back up once the virus in under control and the economy recovers. Take a deep breath. Know this is temporary. Know it is not your fault.