Meet the ReadyForZero Team: Claire

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At ReadyForZero we strive to always be available and accountable to our users. That’s why we personally respond to every e-mail that’s sent to our support inbox and why we have pictures on the About page. Now we’re sharing our stories here so you can get to know the fun and diverse people that are working hard everyday to make ReadyForZero better. We hope you enjoy these interviews – and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!

Our next interview is with Claire Murdough, our one-time one-month intern turned integral part of the content team. Claire brings to our office interesting perspectives (what’s your spirit animal?), the sunniest of all dispositions, and incredible writing talent. Read on to learn more about our intern/squirrel/dinosaur and how she began her ReadyForZero journey.

What were you doing before ReadyForZero?
I was living abroad for a year but before that, I was working at a chocolate factory in San Francisco called TCHO.

Not many people can say they’ve ever worked in a chocolate factory.
I know! I was very happy to add it to my life resume. I grew up watching I Love Lucy and there’s the famous scene where she’s working on the chocolate conveyer belt. I think that probably inspired me. And even though I wasn’t working the line, I went back into the factory to lead tours and tastings. I definitely learned a lot about how to make chocolate and loved sharing that with others.

How did you hear about ReadyForZero?
It was through an external website called internships.com. I knew I wanted to hone in on writing and was applying for editing positions but getting pretty much the same feedback. “Thank you for applying. You have some experience and skills, but we would really like to see more experience and skills.” So I decided I should step back a bit and look at internships.

When I clicked on the link to ReadyForZero I was directed right to the webpage and then the blog and I just really, really liked the tone of the content. And the funny thing is, it was towards the end of the day so I was gearing down but I decided to read one last job posting which turned out to be for a Content Intern at ReadyForZero. The post was written in pirate jargon which is definitely a language I speak.

I almost didn’t apply because I had already decided that I was “done for the day.” I got up from the table and got a snack but then I was like, “You know what? Just one more, one more today.” And I did and then, Shannon, because you’re a freakin’ e-mail ninja, responded immediately.

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Well, you actually responded to the job opening in pirate! I was impressed, to say the least.
I remember having a conversation for maybe 30 minutes of, “Do I? Do I not?” Now I realize if you ask yourself that question then yes, just go for it.

What was the one thing that made you want to work for ReadyForZero?
It solidified when I met you guys in person, but when I first read the blog. Everything was so positive and focused on things you can do and actions you can take rather than focused on the negative. The facts and figures of debt can be overwhelming and discouraging, but it’s so much more useful to have places that answer questions like, “How do you change the situation to what you want it to be”?

There was a lot of authenticity and optimism in the writing and it brought the feeling that it was a very genuine company. It was already clear just from the site and the blog, but then I actually met you guys. It was just–I couldn’t have felt more comfortable right away and that was something that was–well, that’s not something I would ever give up easily. I don’t think that most people would say, “Oh, yeah. I went to a job interview and it was so comfortable and I felt at ease.

The other part though was attaching my name to something that’s so useful and that has purpose and function. I’ve really enjoyed embracing the personal part of personal finance and seeing how it impacts people. That’s been really amazing.

What are you excited about for the future of ReadyForZero?
I’m really excited to see it grow and to create a larger community of users. It gets people talking about finance which is an incredible thing because it makes debt seem less scary. Debt isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Claire in Asia

Claire enjoying some Cambodian soup.

Well, you’ve certainly had a lot of experience managing your own personal finances since you’ve done so much traveling.
Yeah! I literally went to China and back so it was a big sling of human experience. I lived in Beijing for 6 months and then traveled for another 6 months.

What was your favorite place to visit during this time?
I really liked Vietnam. It’s absolutely beautiful and I love the food. I always seem to come back to food. Plus they drink a lot of coffee there, too. I also really liked South Korea. If I had to choose, I would probably say those are my two favorites.

Alright, time for a few quick-fire questions:

What’s your favorite place in San Francisco?
My favorite place in the city is…probably on a hill somewhere.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I really like to bake and write!

What are you reading right now?
Some fun reading. I’m reading a memoir of a guy that worked in the hospitality industry. It’s called Heads on Beds and it’s almost like an Anthony Bourdain book for hotels. I like the kind of funny tongue-in-cheek kind of writing.

Claire Camping

Banana Slugs – mascot of UC Santa Cruz, Claire’s alma mater!

Any other pastimes?
I really like hiking, backpacking. I don’t do it enough, but I love that. I can’t even express how much I like it.

If you could go to Hawaii or Alaska, which one would you pick?
Alaska.

Skiing or snowboarding?
Snowshoeing ;).

Plane, train, or automobile?
Train. I like the pace of trains and I like train stations as hubs – plus I’m a nervous flier.

What do you always take with you when you travel?
Slippers. They look like man slippers.

What’s your biggest irrational fear?
I don’t like heights. I get vertigo.

She's come a long way from her days as an intern!

She’s come a long way from her days as an intern!

If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
For a while, I would have said squirrel – but I’ve assumed a couple more since I’ve worked with ReadyForZero. Namely a T-rex and a quokka.

Dogs or cats?
Cats.

What kind of cereal would you be?
Honey Bunches of Oats!

Makes sense. Honey Bunches of Oats makes for a cheerful squirrel! Just watch your office supplies around Claire – they have a habit of making their way over to her desk ;).

Image Credit for Featured Image: Marc Aarons

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  • http://www.twitter.com/bwfeldman Benjamin Feldman

    Great interview! I didn’t know that you were an I Love Lucy fan.