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Opinion Editorials

Are You Being Cuckolded by Agents on Trulia Voices?




We talk a lot about the need for reputation management through Google Alerts and the like, with the idea being that you need to know what’s being said about you. But almost as important is the notion of relationship management. Do you know where your clients are going for information when your back is turned?

From Trulia Voices …

Seller won’t disclose Seller Property Disclosure Statement … Should this be a red flag for us? … BTW our real estate agent is great.

And another …

We put an offer on a house, seller countered. We agreed to counter and had it back to them within a couple hours. That was 4 days ago. Shouldn’t we be under contract by now? … I spoke with my agent today, and we are just gonna move ahead and start inspections. Kinda scary that we can’t open escrow yet though. (This after multiple agents had chipped in their two cents.)

And another …

I’m looking at a home in Queen Creek just a few miles from Gilbert. … It’s been hard to find relevant comps … We are thinking 550K is a solid price, we love the property – but we want to be sure not to overpay in this volatile market. Advice?

… Yes, I am working with a Realtor and using comps off the MLS.

These are three examples, only from the Arizona RSS feed, only within the last week. And this is what happens every single day on Trulia Voices.

It’s 3 a.m. Do You Know Where Your Client Is?

Let’s put aside for a moment the fairly clear-cut violations of the NAR Code of Ethics that are taking place every single day as agents provide advice that at worst conflicts and at best interferes with the relationship established between these clients and their agents.

(I know, I know … they’re the ones asking for the advice. But even we as real estate agents ought to be able to stop panting and pouncing like starved hyenas long enough to see what we’re doing.)

Your value is in your experience, your expertise, your advice. Have you ever watched as a transaction went south because your client’s parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends from school or the local bartender gave them advice not based in reality? Have you ever found yourself explaining how things are done in your state compared to the state from which your buyers have moved?

Take that phenomenon, multiply it by 100 or so, and you have the daily frenzy that is Trulia Voices. Here’s the basic scenario:

  1. Client doesn’t trust the agent they have hired. (Most likely because they never really interviewed an agent, instead trusting whatever name they saw on a sign.)
  2. Client goes to the web searching for someone to validate whatever position they already have taken. (Because nothing is more effective than searching for the one, best answer among those shouted from a crowd. Kinda like The Price is Right.)
  3. Agents desperate for business jump all over themselves and their peers, trying to demonstrate their expertise … regardless of the area about which the client might be asking. (But hey – there’s little difference in real estate in Arizona and North Dakota, right? Houses are houses, 50-below or 120 degrees, right?)

And step four becomes the inevitable … client becomes so frustrated about the inability to receive a coherent answer from an incoherent mob that their driving theory – that there is no value brought to the table by a real estate professional – is confirmed.

Take a Breath … and Have Some Dignity

To be valued you need not only to demonstrate your expertise, but you have to expect to be valued for that expertise.

If your clients are running to Trulia Voices looking for answers that contradict the advice you’re providing them, and if you’re confident in your answer, confront your client and explain that they are hampering their ability to meet their goals. If they don’t agree and don’t see the value you add, fire them.  Don’t waste your time on people who think nothing of what you know and what you do.

And if you’re one of the agents stomping on other agents’ agency relationships in hopes of winning an MVP award for having the most answers, take a step back. Think about what you’re going to say and what the ramifications might be.

Fooling around and not knowing the other person’s attached is one thing. Fooling around knowing full well your cuckolding some poor sap trying to put food on his table … that’s just not good form.

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

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  1. Tom Vanderwell

    May 16, 2008 at 4:44 pm


    Every time I hang out at AG, I learn something new. Thanks for the post. Very well said, and very appropriate for those of us on the lending side too…..

  2. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Dalton, this is a tough one. It’s frustrating because Trulia has set up something that is really cool- a place for the curious to draw answers from a pool of expertise but often, the “point hungry” do exactly what you’re saying.

    My feeling is that whether it is regulated or not, if people would…
    (a) stay in their own back yard
    (b) be EXTRA cognizant of the code of ethics and representation agreements
    (c) ignore becoming MVPs and answer because they are the source of the true answer

    …Trulia Voices as a self-governed body would function much better and the consumer experience would be better for agents stepping up voluntarily. Like you mentioned, it’s the PEOPLE that are answering the questions that are the problem, not the format. I have hope though, don’t you?

  3. Kevin Boer

    May 16, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    …not to mention the craziness of asking for advice in a public forum on a negotiating strategy! People! A client of mine told me a story …they were buying a home a while back, and like most savvy home buyers, they googled the sellers. Turned out the sellers had a blog and they were … you guessed it … blogging about their home selling process. e.g. “We put it on the market for $X, but we’re willing to settle for $Y.” Hello!

  4. Jonathan Dalton

    May 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Kevin – that’s priceless. I love it.

    Lani – yes and no. Will the consumer enjoy the experience if the answer they get is “sorry, but you need to talk to your agent for that advice.” Not that such an answer ever will be unanimous because people are still hoping to win the business that someone else already has.

  5. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    May 16, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    JD, I disagree. Well, partially. If it swings to the most polar opposite of today’s behavior, Trulia users will (as you stated) provide no value if the answers become canned, thus defeating the purpose of Trulia Voices. HOWEVER, an agent can answer without violating COE by saying “in my experience X, Y, Z but each situation is unique and it’s always best to consult your Realtor who knows all the details first hand.”

    It’s not just Trulia voices though, it’s everywhere where online Q&A exist- the current consumer trend is to vet everything. Even if you’ve been told one thing, despite that adviser’s expertise, many just HAVE to consult every source possible before making a final decision. It’s what Benn has referred to as the “bread crumbs” left online for consumers to try to piece together themselves… the excellent professional is always where the expertise is at, regardless of online behavior of some professionals, right, JD?

  6. Barry Cunningham

    May 16, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I call it the Active Rain syndrome. For some reason people go crazy over flippin points! Thos systems that are designed to award responses..any responses..allow so much inaccurate information to be offered up…but by gosh they got their points didn’t they?

  7. Ryan Hukill

    May 16, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Steve, this may be the most intelligent assessment I’ve seen all day:

    “client becomes so frustrated about the inability to receive a coherent answer from an incoherent mob that their driving theory – that there is no value brought to the table by a real estate professional – is confirmed.”

    Unfortunately, this situation presents itself daily, in many different forms and forums, and the momentum of stupidity is amazing!

  8. Faina Sechzer

    May 16, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Jonathan, My concern is not so much about “monitoring” what my clients do on the Internet. It is more about the quality of the advice that is provided. It amazes me how many RE agents give advice related to transactions in other states. Saying “XYZ is my experience, but in your state you may need ABC”, how useful is it? Even when it’s in the same state, it is like a patient calling up several doctors and asking how his surgery should be done. What could the doctors answer? “In general I do this surgery in an XYZ way, but you may need it in the ABC way. I can’t tell without examining you and seeing the X-ray”.

    I had someone on my blog ask very specific questions about the value of the home they were considering buying. I would imagine they were using and agent. Why would they consult an anonymous Internet agent instead of their own? If they don’t trust their agent’s advice why are they using him/her?

  9. Rich Jacobson

    May 16, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Jonathan: You won’t get any argument from me. I wrote something along a similar line the other day entitled, “Open Mouth, Insert Fine” or “Real Estate Roulette” that was based on a Trulia Voices encounter. Bottom-line is that way too many agents are far more concerned with littering their contact info than they are giving viable, professional expert advice. Oh, and of course, it never hurts to actually be licensed in the State you’re dispensing said advice….

  10. Dan Connolly

    May 17, 2008 at 12:08 am

    I have always wondered about the basic idea that it is unethical for one agent to comment on the business practices of another. I understand the reasoning behind NAR and the Code of Ethics, (and I don’t do it) but think about it from the consumer’s point of view! What if doctors did what NAR requires? No more second opinions?

    I see the most absurd answers from agents on Trulia, and I want to flame them back to the cabbage truck they fell off of, but I don’t do it. It would make the industry look bad if we bickered amongst ourselves on public forums. But what about the consumers?

    What do you do when you see someone spouting crap? Do you comment on the quality of their advice? When we suffer in silence I think the general public thinks we agree!

  11. Jonathan Dalton

    May 17, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Rich – an excellent point, actually … at what point do the answers delve into unlicensed activity? Had not thought of it but I think that’s a legitimate concern.

    Faina – first question for those folks would have been if they’re using an agent. If not, I’d be happy to help if they contacted me through my own blog. Agents giving away free comps on Trulia Voices? Makes much less sense.

    Ryan – Steve’s my dad, but I take the compliment anyway.

    Barry – stop agreeing with me. You’re freaking me out, baby. 🙂

    Lani – just because it’s the trend doesn’t mean it’s necessarily effective. Bell bottoms, flowery design, plaid leisure suits and white shoes were the trend in the 1970s. Doesn’t mean it was the smart way to go, with the benefit of hindsight.

  12. Russell Shaw

    May 17, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Jonathan, I agree with everything you’ve said here *except* your last comment. Bell bottoms, flowery design, plaid leisure suits and white shoes *was* the smart way to go. Okay, maybe not the flowery design or the plaid leisure suits – but white shoes and bell bottoms sure were! 🙂

  13. Jim Duncan

    May 17, 2008 at 7:19 am

    I see a couple of problems with the “advice” being given on Trulia Voices, et. al, and Rudy said it in a comment last week:

    Overall, many of you have been in the online real estate space much longer than others. You know how to participate and how not to. I remember when I first started commenting and contributing many, many years ago – I too had to learn the ropes…..But I did. Some people are at that earlier learning stage now. Rather than shooting them down, I think it’s much better to lead by example – as many of you do. Remember AR when it first started? Many didn’t know what they were doing, but everyone learned from each other. And today, they are doing great and teaching others.

    I’d argue that the space has become so diluted with agents trying to gain presence on the train that *everyone* else has jumped on or is jumping on that there are fewer great ones to learn from.

    The competition now to get points, rankings, etc. has become more important than actually giving good advice.

    Also, Lani’s right – today’s consumers/buyers/people need to vet everything – it’s why I google things my doctor tells me, what the mechanic says is wrong with my car, how much tires cost, etc. I expect my clients (especially first time homebuyers/sellers) to ask friends and family and google for advice or verification.

    The agents offering “advice” and whether that crosses ethical boundaries … that’s an entirely discussion altogether.

    /shoulda made this a post

  14. Jonathan Dalton

    May 17, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Russell – if you were a king here like you and Ladmo, dining at Durant’s every night, maybe … 🙂

    Jim – I think Rudy’s timeline is backward … Active Rain was more effective then than now. There are too many people writing schlock for points for the experts to be heard above the shouting.

    Trulia Voices is the same way … consumers need to pick through the “I don’t know how it is in Phoenix, but here in Milwaukee …” and the other “call me (please? please? please? please?” answers to get to the real nuggets.

    Not that some questions don’t deserve the latter answers, like the recent spate of “would someone help me sell my house?” queries that have popped up. You almost can see Realtors waking to an alarm and sprinting to the keyboard when that happens.

  15. Thomas Johnson

    May 17, 2008 at 10:22 am

    After the great google juice fiasco at Trulia, my inclination is to just post such point winners such as:

    “Consult your Realtor

    1. Gives me points
    2. Keeps me a a top poster in the area with my happy mug/avatar
    3. No COE violation
    4. Civil disobedience makes me feel better about being bagged by their no follow policy on my listings until Realogy renogotiates the deal.

  16. Eric Blackwell

    May 17, 2008 at 11:18 am

    @Thomas — too funny. and yet an effective strategy…(grin)

    @Kevin Boer–that was a great point. Do I really want a customer who is constantly going and check my advice through as many other folks as they can find on a public forum?? In my SEO consulting practice, you get a couple of those “Well whaddabout what so and so said?” questions. On number three, I ask you if you trust me. If not, go pay them.

    If you’re a jackass, that could happen on time #2. (grin)

  17. Patrick Mahony

    May 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Dude, you`re raining on my first MVP since fourth grade football…..Com`n you`re mess`n with my self esteem,

    Dan Connolly

    “I see the most absurd answers from agents on Trulia, and I want to flame them back to the cabbage truck they fell off of,” [ Hey! don`t be blaming the IRISH! for this ] “but I don’t do it. It would make the industry look bad if we bickered amongst ourselves on public forums. But what about the consumers?”

    “What do you do when you see someone spouting crap? Do you comment on the quality of their advice? When we suffer in silence I think the general public thinks we agree!”

    When you correct another Realtor in a public forum, it is not bickering. It is giving the consumer the correct information, you may actually be helping a Realtor who is unconsciously incompetent.

    Myself I compete for clients with about 5 or 7 of Arizona`s finer Agents, my answers have to be above par or don`t bother answering at all, and if I am wrong, or I happen to “bend” a rule. They will let me know.

    My advice, don`t suffer in silence. It does hurt the industry. Correct away.

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Opinion Editorials

Ways to socialize safely during quarantine

(EDITORIAL) Months of isolation due to quarantine is causing loneliness for many, but joining virtual social groups from home may help fill the need for interaction.




Quarantining, sheltering in place, staying home. We’re tired of hearing it; we’re tired of doing it. Yet, it’s what we still need to be doing to stay safe for a while longer. All of this can be lonesome. As the days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the alone time is getting to even the most introverted among us.

Solitary confinement is considered one of the most psychologically damaging punishments a human can endure. The New Yorker reported on this in a 1992 study of prisoners in detention camps in the former Yugoslavia, as well as Vietnam veterans who experienced isolation. These studies showed that prisoners who had experienced solitary confinement demonstrated similar brain activity to those who’d suffered a severe head injury, noting that “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”

We aren’t meant to be solitary creatures. Your “pandemic brain” is real. That fogginess, the lack of productivity, can be attributed to many things, including anxiety, but being kept apart from other humans is a big part of it too. Be kind to yourself, give yourself grace, and join others virtually. Be it an app, a class, a Facebook group, a chat room, or a livestream, someone somewhere is out there waiting to connect with you too.

The good news? We are lucky enough to live in an era of near limitless ways to interact socially online. Sure, it is different, but it is something. It’s important. The best thing about this type of social interaction is being able to hone in on your specific interests, though I’d caution you against getting caught in an online echo chamber. Diversity of interests, personality, and opinion make for a richer experience, with opportunities for connecting and expanding your worldview.

Here are a few suggestions on ways to socialize while staying home and staying safe. Communicating with other humans is good for you, physically and mentally.

Interactive Livestreams on Twitch:

Twitch is best known as a streaming service for video game fans, but it offers multiple streams appealing to different interests. This is more than passive watching (although that is an option, too) as Twitch livestream channels also have chat rooms. Twitch is fun for people who like multi-tasking because the chat rooms for popular livestream channels can get busy with chatter.

While people watch the Twitch hosts play a video game, film a live podcast, make music or art, mix cocktails, or dance, they can comment on what they’re watching, make suggestions, ask questions, crack jokes, and get to know each other (by Twitch handle, so it is still as anonymous as you want it to be) in the chat room. The best hosts take time every so often to interact directly with the chat room questions and comments.

Many Twitch channels develop loyal followers who get to know each other, thus forming communities. I have participated in the Alamo Drafthouse Master Pancake movie mocks a few times because they are fun and local to Austin, where I live. Plus, in my non-quarantine life, I would go to Master Pancake shows live sometimes. The chat room feels familiar in a nice way. While watching online is free, you can (and totally should) tip them.

Online trivia in real time:

There are some good options for real-time online trivia, but I’m impressed with the NYC Trivia League’s model. They have trivia games online on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The NYC Trivia League seems to have figured out a good way to run the game live while keeping answers private from the other teams. They run games on Instagram Live with a live video of the host, and participants answer via the question feature. Clever!

Online book club:

First I have to shout out my Austin local independent bookstore, BookPeople, because they are fantastic. They run book clubs throughout the year, along with readings, book signings, and all things book-related. BookPeople hosts several online book clubs during these lockdown days, and most people will find something that appeals to them.

I’m also impressed with this list from Hugo House, a writer’s resource based out of Seattle. This list includes Instagram and Goodread book clubs, book clubs for Black women, rebels, and poetry lovers. The Financial Diet recommends the Reddit book club, if you are comfortable with the Reddit format. Please note that it’s a busy place, but if you like Reddit, you already know this.

Cooking class or virtual tasting:

This is doubly satisfying because you can follow these chefs in real time, and you end up with a meal. There are a couple on Instagram Live, such as The Culinistas or Chef Massimo Bottura.

You can also participate in virtual tastings for wine, whiskey, or chocolate, though you will have to buy the product to participate in the classes (usually held over Zoom or Facebook Live). If you are in Austin, Dallas, or Houston, I recommend BeenThere Locals. The cost of the course includes the wine, spirits, or cooking kit in most cases, and all of the money goes to the business and expert hosting the class.

Look for your favorite wine, spirits, cheese, chocolate makers, and chefs that are local to you to find a similar experience. Most either prepare the class kit for pickup or delivery within a local area.

Quarantine chat:

To interact with another quarantined person seeking social interaction, there’s Quarantine Chat. Quarantine chat is one of the ways to connect through the Dialup app, available on iOS and Android devices. Sign up to make and receive calls when you want to speak with someone. The Dialup app pairs you randomly with another person for a phone conversation, at a scheduled time, either with anyone or with someone with shared interests.

Quarantine chat takes it a step further with calls at random times. When your quarantine chat caller calls, you will not see their number (or they yours), only the “Quarantine Chat” caller ID. If you are unable to pick up when they call, they will be connected with someone else, so there is no pressure to answer. It’s nice to hear someone else’s voice, merely to talk about what you’ve been cooking or what hilarious thing your pet is doing.

Play Uno:

Uno Freak lets people set up games and play Uno online with friends or strangers. Players do not need to register or download anything to play. Uno Freak is web-based.

Talk to mental health professionals:

If your state of loneliness starts sliding toward depression, call someone you can speak to right away to talk over your concerns. When in doubt, call a trained professional! Here are a few resources:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): The NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET, 800-950-NAMI (6264) or
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to this text line 24/7 for someone to text with who will also be able to refer you to other resources: U.S. and Canada: 74174, U.K. 85258, Ireland: 50808.
  • Psych Central has put together this comprehensive list of crisis intervention specialists and ways to contact them immediately.

There are many ways to connect even though we are physically apart. These are just a few real time ways to interact with others online. If you want something a little more flesh and blood, take a walk around the block or even sit in a chair in front of where you live.

Wave at people from afar, and remember that we have lots of brilliant doctors and scientists working on a way out of this. Hang in there, buddy. I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.

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Opinion Editorials

Working remotely: Will we ever go back? (Probably not)

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) Now that the pandemic has opened the door on working remotely, there’s no way we’ll put the genie back in the bottle. But, here’s some ways you can adapt.



Woman working remotely on her couch with a laptop on her lap.

When it comes to working remotely, will the toothpaste ever go back in the tube?

Mark Zuckerberg recently said, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale…” By 2030, Zuckerberg anticipates that over half of Facebook’s workforce will be remote. Many other companies are jumping on the work from home bandwagon. Working remotely has helped many businesses manage the pandemic crisis, but it’s unsure what form remote working will take over the next 10 years.

We know that employees are responding positively to WFH, as reported in this article – Employers: Lacking remote work options may cause you to lose employees. As offices transition to a post-COVID normal, here are some things to consider about your office and remote work.

What does your business gain from allowing workers to WFH?
The future of remote work depends on a conscious application of WFH. It’s not just as easy as moving employees out of the office to home. You have to set up a system to manage workers, wherever they are working. The companies with good WFH cultures have set up rules and metrics to know whether it’s working for their business. You’ll need to have technology and resources that let your teams work remotely.

Can your business achieve its goals through remote work?
The pandemic may have proved the WFH model, but is this model sustainable? There are dozens of benefits to remote work. You can hire a more diverse workforce. You may save money on office space. Employees respond well to remote work. You reduce your carbon emissions.

But that can’t be your only measure of whether remote work fits into your vision for your organization. You should be looking at how employees will work remotely, but you need to consider why employees work remotely.

The work paradigm is shifting – how will you adapt?
The work environment has shifted over the past century. Remote work is here to stay, but how it fits into your company should be based on more than what employees want. You will have to work closely with managers and HR to build the WFH infrastructure that grows with your organization to support your teams.

We don’t know exactly how remote work will change over the next decade, but we do know that the workplace is being reinvented. Don’t just jump in because everyone is doing it. Make an investment in developing your WFH plan.

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Opinion Editorials

The truth about unemployment from someone who’s been through it

(EDITORIAL) Unemployment benefits aren’t what you thought they were. Here’s a first-hand experience and what you need to know.




Have I ever told you how I owed the government over two grand because of unemployment in 2019, and only just finished paying it back this year?

This isn’t exactly the forum for memoirs, but this is relevant to everyone. So I’ll tell y’all anyway.

It all started back in 2018 when I came into work early, microwaved my breakfast, poured coffee, and got pulled into a collaboration room to hear, “We love you and your work, April, but we’ve been bought out and you’re being laid off.”

It was kind of awkward carrying my stuff out to the car with that Jimmy Dean sandwich in my mouth.

More awkward still was the nine months of unemployment I went through afterwards. Between the fully clothed shower crying, the stream of job denial, catering to people who carried rocks in their nostrils at my part-time job (yes, ew, yes, really), and almost dying of no-health-insurance-itis, I learned a lot!

The bigger lesson though, came in the spring of the following year when I filed my taxes. I should back up for a moment and take the time to let those of you unfamiliar with unemployment in Texas in on a few things that aren’t common knowledge.

1: You’re only eligible if you were laid off. Not if you had quit. Not fired. Your former company can also choose to challenge your eligibility for benefits if they didn’t like your face on the way out. So the only way you’re 100% guaranteed to get paid in (what the state calls) “a timely manner”, is a completely amicable split.

2: Overpayments have to go back. Immediately. If there’s an error, like several thousand of Texans found out this week, the government needs that cash back before you can access any more. If you’re not watching your bank account to make sure you’re getting the exact same check each time and you have an overpayment, rest assured that mistake isn’t going to take long to correct. Unfortunately, if you spent that money unknowingly–thought you got an ‘in these uncertain times’ kinder and gentler adjustment and have 0 income, you have a problem. Tying into Coronavirus nonsense is point three!

3: There are no sick days. If ever you’re unable to work for any reason, be it a car accident, childbirth, horrible internal infection (see also no-health-insurance-itis), you are legally required to report it, and you will not be paid for any days you were incapacitated. Personally, my no-health-insurance-itis came with a bad fever and bedrest order that axed me out of my part time job AND killed my unemployment benefits for the week I spent getting my internal organs to like me again. But as it turned out, the payment denial came at the right time because–

4: Unemployment benefits are finite. Even if you choose to lie on your request forms about how hard you’re searching for work, coasting is ill-advised because once the number the state allots you runs out…it’s out. Don’t lie on your request forms, by the way. In my case, since I got cut from my part-time gig, I got a call from the Texas Workforce Commission about why my hours were short. I was able to point out where I’d reported my sickness to them and to my employer, so my unpaid week rolled over to a later request date. I continued to get paid right up until my hiring date which was also EXACTLY when my benefits ran out.

Unemployment isn’t a career, which is odd considering the fact that unemployment payments are qualified by the government as income.

Ergo, fact number five…

5: Your benefits? They’re taxed.

That’s right, you will be TAXED for not having a job.

The stereotype of the ‘lazy unemployment collector burdening society’ should be fading pretty quickly for the hitherto uninformed about now.

To bring it back to my story, I’d completely forgotten that when I filed for unemployment in the first place, I’d asked for my taxes NOT to be withheld from it–assuming that I wasn’t going to be searching for full time work for very long. I figured “Well, I’ll have a tax refund coming since I’ll get work again no problem, it’ll cancel out.”

Except, it was a problem. Because of the nine month situation.

I’d completely forgotten about it by the time I threw myself into my new job, but after doing my taxes, triple checking the laws and what I’d signed, it was clear. Somehow…despite being at my lowest point in life, I owed the highest amount in taxes, somewhere around the 2k mark.

Despite being based on a system that’s tied to how much income you were getting before, and all the frustrating “safeguards” put in place to keep payments as low and infrequent as possible, Uncle Sam still wants a bite out of the gas-station Hostess pie that is your unemployment check. And as I’m writing this, more and more people are finding that out. And even as we enter 2021, there is still more to be aware of – we’re not out of the woods yet.

I’d like to end this on a more positive note… So let’s say we’ve all been positively educated! That’s a net gain, surely.

Keep your heads up, and masked.

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