Crisis situations happen to all of us eventually. I’m not talking about the type of crisis that happened freshman year when your “best bro” went to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, or any one of the reasons a white girl would “literally die.” The type of crisis that I’m talking about affects the person you love the most: yourself. My crisis moment happened just last week. First, someone broke into my car and stole my wallet. Then, a few days later, another person broke into my car. To top off my week, my work computer was hijacked. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I don’t know what awful thing I did to deserve this literal (entirely metaphorical) kick in the balls. So, when you’re presented with one of these situations, here is an abbreviated list of things you should do.
1. Don’t panic or freakout. At this point in the game, there is nothing you can do to make the present moment better. You need to accept the fact that the next one to 24 hours will be full of misery. You know that feeling when you call customer support? Yeah, try that for five different credit cards, with four different lenders, who use 47 different call centers. I’m looking at you “Greg (Raj) from Tucson (Punjab).” You know when Batman is having trouble figuring out what the Joker is up to? Same thing happens when you’re tracking the “perp” via online banking. Fisting yourself is probably less painful. Unless you’re into that, because then it definitely will be.
2. Do contact the authorities first. This may sound painfully obvious, but my first instinct was to call and cancel my credit cards. I’m thinking “these thieves are relentless and are going to continue their crime spree at Bob Evans!” Yes, I was charged for a Bob Evans breakfast that I didn’t get to enjoy. Twice. So I call my credit card companies, and after an unnecessarily long amount of time on hold, I’m told that I need a police report to report fraud activity. There goes 45 minutes of my life and a little piece of my soul. Save yourself from peeing your pants in frustration and just call the cops first.
3. Don’t call Mom and Dad until things are mostly resolved. Trust me. One of the worst things in the world is having stressed out parents calling you every five minutes to make sure you’re okay. “Yes, Mom, I’m fine. No, I still haven’t found my wallet. Yes, Mom, I’m sure it was stolen. There are more than $400 in charges at Walmart.” When you’re dealing with the brutal cocktail of offshore call centers, police reports, and learning how to pay for goods without plastic, the last thing you need is someone who can’t help you bugging you just to “check in on their baby.”
4. Avoid telling coworkers. These fun-sucking, misery-sharing people will take your pain and either tell you about the time 45 years ago when they had their Halloween decorations stolen by some pesky kids on Devil’s Night or they’ll make constant jokes about your unfortunate situation. I had a coworker seek me out after she heard about my crisis who told me she almost hid everything in my cubicle. Then she said I couldn’t have any of the cool, new office supplies (is this even a thing?) because they would be stolen. Normally, I would have started crying and blamed my tears on the contacts I don’t wear. I was lucky enough, however, to know that she has kids and that “must have a great personality” quality about her, so her life sucks infinitely more than mine, even given my circumstances.
5. Take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This one is so painfully obvious–it hurts me just to think that I’m THAT stupid to let it happen. Don’t leave valuables in an unlocked car, especially with work equipment (that you don’t own). You know the saying “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”? With that being said, can you guess who has IT mad at him? Also, can you guess who just found out that his company has a lot stricter Internet policies than he remembers?
6. Adapt. Make sure you have a valid passport so you can go to the bar and have your friends buy you pity drinks during happy hour, because everyone knows your overreliance on credit cards has left you financially crippled for the next two to 14 business days.