Life is a lot harder when you have to grow up without loving and supportive caregivers. Lacking a stable home environment and financial resources, these people navigated the foster care system to the best of their abilities.
They share their foster care stories with us below.
1. I was in foster care, but was never adopted. I was taken away from my biological family at a young age, and from then on I only met them by appointment on a weekly basis for about an hour under supervision. I went from home to home being told directly that "you are only here because you make us money" and "if you were my real son, you'd be treated differently." When I would misbehave, my foster parents would threaten to "call the agency" and return me like some sort of defective product.
During the summer time, I was sent to camp so they can "get a break from me" and spend alone time with their biological children. It took a mental toll on me and I lived in constant fear. The people I was surrounded with in my foster homes made be believe that anybody that interacted with me wanted to use me and that led me to withdraw from everybody and isolate myself to be on the safe side. I really only felt at "home" when I was in school.
Things are better now, I am working on my PhD and I'm trying my very best to build healthy relationships with people, but it is extremely hard to open up when I've been hurt so much. When I see stray cats on the street that don't trust me to feed them, I feel I have a deeper understanding of why they act the way they do. My walk of life has taught me that all things are transient, but the best feeling that I've ever felt is love. If you have any children, give them a big hug and tell them you love them, it means more than you would ever know.
2. I was in foster care with relatives after my mother died but was never in the system per se. They kicked me out at 18 but I was eligible for a lot of benefits due to being a ward of the state in my teen years. My aunt and uncle never officially adopted me.
I struggled through college but I did end up graduating and have a solid job, a home and I'm getting married in less than 3 months.
3. Both my parents committed suicide, My mother when I was 5, which put me in foster care, and my father later in life, when I was already a big part of the system.
My sister and I bounced around alot, my sister a lot more than I did - I ended up at 13 different homes, (Some I would go back to) she ended up in a lot more. We were both very difficult and would test the foster families after the honeymoon period ended - and eventually it wouldn't work out and we would move on - the longest I stayed in one place was 3 years.
After some physical and sexual abuse at a family, and a general disregard for my future - I was caught shop lifting and given community service. Sent to a charity, and became a pretty big part of their fundraising (It was a super marketable story really) - got sexually abused by the founder - but carried on with life.
Eventually got married, and had 2 kids - it didn't work out (after 10 years) - but I'm still doing my hobby from when I left school and work as a Systems Administrator.
Life isn't bad - A lot of things I wish I did better - I struggle with a bit of baggage. - I'm not sure how much of that is perceived and how much is real, but I'm doing much better than my sister - and I'm a relatively functional member of society. Which is much better than I would have been.
Continue reading on the next page!
4. I was effectively raised in a big facility for kids they didn't have room for/kids too damaged by abuse/the system to be out and about.
These days I'm mostly upset about what it did to the continuity of my education.
My past ruined my future. And the only girl I've ever loved doesn't want me, because I'm a mess, and it just kinda kills me every day to know I'm so disposable. An auxiliary person. I think because I've never had a stable family or been accepted anywhere I put a lot more value in human relationships than other people? And time after time I've learned I'm not worth it to the rest of the world.
It's weird because I've always been reasonably intelligent, and done well in school- so all the things most people really value have come easy to me. I'm working on grad school/will get a doctorate. I play the bass guitar. I've traveled a bit.
But all I ever wanted was to love and be loved, and it just feels... impossible. All I want is something everyone else just seems to have. I still watch everyone go to their parent's houses for Christmas and Thanksgiving and I've got nowhere to go. I've graduated college with no one there to cheer me on. I'm just getting tired of exerting myself when, truthfully, no one really cares.
When I was being hurt growing up I always felt like it was something to rise against. I always knew I could forge a future for myself with education, get a good job, and love someone in a way no one's loved me.
These days, though (at 30)... I just feel like I missed the boat, and I'm tired of the miserable world I live in.
5. I wasn't an orphan in the sense that my parents were dead, but neither were capable of caring for me.
At age 13 I was forcibly removed from my mom's care (she lost physical and legal custody of me and my siblings) and I was placed with family. My grandparents had "temporary custody" of me until my mom was fit to be a parent again; problem was, she never got her act together, so I remained a ward of the state with legal guardians until I graduated high school.
I wish I was put in foster care with strangers. Then, at least, the neglect/abuse/trauma I experienced would be more understandable. The way I see it, it must be easier to treat strangers poorly than your own flesh and blood. If I was living with strangers, I wouldn't have taken it all so personally.
It's been about 13 years since my family was split by the courts, and in this time I managed to graduate from high school and college, have a few relationships (albeit failed ones), I have a kid who is pretty awesome, and 8 years of therapy to show that I've made some positive progress emotionally.
I ultimately hope to work with families who are impacted by addiction and mental health (which is what split my family) to connect them with resources and built emotional/psychiatric resiliency to cope with these problems.
I believe I've stopped the cycle of abuse in my family. I want to help others stop the cycle too.
Continue reading on the next page!
6. I went into foster care when I was 13 and eventually aged out. I was in about 12 homes between the ages of 13-16. It's not easy to place a teenage girl. I'm white and 10 out of my 12 families were black.
My state (I'm not sure if this is something that is done everywhere) had an annual "Foster Child of the Year" award. You get nominated by social workers and foster parents. When I was 16, I was nominated and won. Got to go to a big banquet, met Stedman Graham, was given $1000.
Anyways, after I won that, I was placed with a very nice family who I stayed with until I was 18. Always thought they would adopt me, but they never did. I'm 28 now and I don't talk to any of them anymore.
Now, I own my own business. I'm getting married in 2 weeks. I made my own family out of friends who I celebrate holidays with. Sometimes I feel left out when people are talking about their childhood and the things they did growing up. I've had rough patches, I get lonely. It'd be easy to get bitter. But I know how much life can truly suck, and I'm grateful for everyday it doesn't.
7. Complete emotional wreck, I try to bury any sort of feelings I have as anytime I open up to someone they end up leaving. Couldn't get post secondary education as I had to work full time to pay for rent. I keep trying though, began courses on three separate occasions but just spiral into depression when I'm working a shitty job to pay for school I feel I'm just going to fail at anyway or that it's just a huge mistake. I've lived in almost thirty different places, nowhere has felt home. I seriously feel lost.
8. I was in foster care, but I was never adopted. My first foster parents never legally adopted me, but we call each other family. They never were emotional and I constantly live in fear of being disowned if I don't finish college or maintain a Catholic lifestyle. Both motivating and depressing.
9. So I was never adopted. Grew up in 4 different gov homes and then was going to be kicked out when I turned 18. I was in school and the military was always showing up doing those recruiting booths. I joined the Air Force and have been in 19 years now. Found my own family and really proved the phrase "blood doesn't make family". I have been to 7 continents and over 2 dozen countries. I have to tell you retirement is scarier than those days as a kid....
10. I was taken in by relatives, but never legally adopted. They raised me fine, and the only real issue is that I didn't have insurance between the ages of 18 (when I was dropped from their plan for being an adult) and 24 (when I had to purchase insurance for the ACA). If I was legally theirs, I could stay on their plan for another 2 years.
11. My Mom was in 42 different foster homes, orphanages, etc. Mom never got adopted for 2 reasons: they would not split her and her psychotic violent brother up, and my sociopath of a grandmother would prevent anyone from adopting Mom. If Mom was getting emotionally attached to a foster mother, psycho grandma would find out and have Mom pulled out of the home. ( Mom would tell grandma about 'nice foster mother' during planned visits. Even though Mom and uncle had 2 parents they were still in orphanages and foster homes since their narcissistic mother and playboy father couldn't be bothered with taking care of their own kids. Mom turned out okay. Finally found stability in my Dad, who loved and cared for her until the day he died. Now I take care of her. She's had such a tough life. And her strength shows. She came out of that traumatic childhood sane and able to raise a family.
Continue reading on the next page!
12. Orphan might not be the most accurate term to describe me, as I think one of my biological parents is still alive.
Orphan may be the best term I've got, though, since I haven't interacted with that biological parent in what'll be a decade this February.
My life before foster care was ... not a pleasant one. I lived in a rundown house with my biological mother. I never knew my biological father. This house often didn't have running water, or electricity, or heat. Many summers I would come back from summer camp and find the lights out, and know that it was time to take my gameboy to the library to charge, as not only was it a portable source of entertainment, but it doubled as a light. Some winters I would have to sleep in a sleeping bag with three sweatshirts on in front of an open oven for heat.
This wasn't a happy poverty either. No, my biological mother and I didn't suffer together like they do in the movies, bonding and sharing what little we had, loving each other. No, she was vicious. She beat me daily - grabbing my hair and throwing me on the ground, sitting on top of me so I couldn't escape. She would make me stand in the corner for hours on end on glass. The house was frankly unfit to live in, with cobwebs covering the walls. My biological mother slept on a ... nest of unwashed clothes on the floor in her room. She didn't have a bed.
She could have had a bed. There were beds in the house. She was just deeply mentally ill.
The worst part though wasn't the physical abuse, or the state of the house, or the ridicule from my school mates from wearing the same clothes for a week because your mother didn't do the laundry.
It was the mental abuse.
Hearing your mother say things like, "The only way I can fall asleep at night is by thinking of ways to kill you", or "Idiot boy strikes again" when I would get dishwashing soap instead of dishwasher liquid, wreck a person's psyche. Or, at least, it wrecked mine. Towards the end of it all, before I got out, I was falling apart at the seams. I was lashing out in class, I was slipping academically. I was going to either kill myself or I was going to kill her. I was sure of it.
Luckily, I didn't take either of those paths.
When I was thirteen, I called the cops on my biological mother - the only family I have ever interacted with in my life. This wasn't the first time I had done that, or the first time the state had been over the house. They had been getting calls from kind concerned parents for years, but every time somebody would be dispatched, my biological mother would tell me that I'd better lie, as life in foster care was worse than anything she could ever do to me. And, because I was surviving (albeit barely), I didn't want to risk making things worse, so I lied. I told the social workers that the bruises I got were from playing sports, and that the house usually wasn't this bad - after she'd spend hours cleaning to make it only dirty, not disgusting.
This was, however, the first time I stuck to the truth and didn't recant.
The next few days were a blur, but I was taken to the hospital, then I spent the night at my preschool teacher's house, and spent the next week at my homeroom teacher's house.
At the time, I was attending a $20,000 a year private middle school on a full academic scholarship. Despite being in foster care and coming from the opposite of money, I considered the other kids at that school my peers - kids whose parents made millions of dollars, who were bred to go to Andover and then Harvard, who wore outfits that were more expensive than all the clothes I had ever worn up to that point.
They were my peers, goddamn it, and I wasn't going to let a little thing like severe physical and emotional trauma, and a lack of home support stop me from being like them.
There's this quote, arguably attributed to Steinbeck, about socialism not working in America because the poor think of themselves not as exploited, but as temporarily disadvantaged millionaires. I lived that quote.
As soon as I got out of the abusive household I was in, and was placed in a more stable (but no more loving) house, I rallied.
Slowly, but surely, I got less weird. Less antisocial. My grades improved. I got friends. I got a girlfriend. The next year, when everybody around me was applying to boarding schools, I did too. I got into one. I went to it. There, it was the same story as before. Famous actors' kids, kids with three or four houses, and me, the kid with the clothes from Walmart that the state's meager clothing budget would pay for.
There, I was the captain of the debate team, played two sports, did theater, started and ran an a cappella group, and got one fucking question wrong on my SAT. By any measure, I did alright. And I did it all while bouncing from foster home to foster home every few years, waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats from flashbacks, and being unable to get a high five because I'd flinch instinctively.
None of the foster homes I lived in ever cared for me, in either sense of the word. Some places thought I was too liberal. Some had kids of their own and treated me like a second class kid. Some had never had any kids of any sort before, and threw me back to the system when they realized it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.
So I sort of drifted. Doing well enough academically to set myself up for the kind of life I wanted to lead. And as of two weeks ago, I have it.
I graduated my elite liberal arts school with a degree in computer science, and I'm now making six figures at one of the biggest tech companies in the world. I've got plenty of friends, plenty of close deep meaningful friendships, but I don't have a family. And, to preempt the usual comments, please don't say they're the same. I've spent my entire life with my nose pressed up against the glass of the storefront, seeing the happy faces inside while I've been out in the cold. I know the difference between friends and family.
At least I managed to make sure that I won't go hungry, or have to sleep in front of an oven for heat, or ever have the lights off again.
I wish I had a family. Most nights I go to sleep with that thought in my mind. I'm a broken person without one.
A lot of times I've thought about putting an ad on Craigslist, or the local newspaper, or the internet, or Reddit, or SOMEWHERE saying:
"Family wanted. Me: 23 year old outgoing geeky girl. Self-sufficient in every way except the one that matters. You: Literally anyone willing to take me in as your child. Not as your child conditionally, not as your child until it's weird, but your child whatever happens. However we feel about each other. Just... together."
If you want to be the parents I never had, I'm accepting applications.
Oh, and to add some more flavor to this story, I did all of this while being transgender. Talk about life on hard mode.
with your friends!
Being woken up suddenly is not very good for our health.
Especially for the elderly, it's not something to make a habit of. Sleep interruption can increase blood pressure, cause a worsened self image, and cause a day filled with irritation and confusion.
No one wants to be woken up, but there are definitely some reasons for being woken up that are worse than your alarm clock.
We went to Ask Reddit to find out some of the worst reasons people have been woken up.
Redditor Toothpiicxxk asked:
"What's the worst reason you woke up?"
These truly are the worst.
We love our pets, but sometimes not so much.
"My cat was throwing up right next to me."
"She brought you breakfast how cute."
"I was just about to answer that my cat threw up right on me, specifically my hair, which I had just washed..."
Some horrible news hits you.
"Being woken up to be told someone you know died certainly qualifies."
"Or when you already know, but you wake up in that ignorant bliss that lasts for about a second and then it hits you. And this goes on for a long time."
"It's been about 15 years and I still will wake up on occasion thinking I have to tell my older brother something cool that I know he'd love to hear about. Or have a vivid a** dream about how it was all an mistake and he's still here. Happens less often then it used to but oof does it ever still hurt."
"Woke up at about 3am to a cop repeatedly ringing my bell. my mom had accidentally drowned in the tub. she was really weak from chemo."
"Woke up to a phone call telling me my incredible brother-in-law had been hit and killed by a drunk & high driver, his wife was also expected to pass as her neck had been broken, and their kids were both in surgery. My husband and I were in the will to get the kids, so we needed to fly to Chicago right away. As I sat there in shock, I hung up the phone, turned to see my sleeping husband snoring away, and knowing I would now have to wake him up to tell him the worst news he would ever hear."
2018 false missile alert.
"I live in Hawaii, that time we got the missile scare."
"Oof at least it wasn't real but I would have definitely panicked if that was me."
"Damn, I slept straight through it. My mom literally woke me up, told me; and I still went back to sleep."
"What were you supposed to do? Go outside and witness your annihilation?"
"I think it's the right thing to do to inform people even if there isn't necessarily anything that can be done about it."
"Some people would appreciate being able to conduct prayers, get one last hug with their loved ones, etc."
"Cockroach walking on my lips with no shame. I brutally murdered it as soon as I yeeted it halfway across the room."
"I had a weird dream about a cockroach somehow paralyzing a friend then walking towards me in that same room. Then I awoke to find this a**hole cockroach slowly creeping on my lips."
"When I threw it away, what startled me was it did not panic AT ALL. It even slowly headed towards me!"
"I also mouth washed and brushed my teeth and even disinfected my lips with alcohol. It was a surreal experience."
"I seriously loathe roaches and there's no other way to ensure its death than a brutal one."
Screams in the night.
"One time I got woken up by a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night. I live alone and it also woke up my dog who was freaked out the rest of the night. Searched everywhere including outside and didn't find anything."
"Well that was lucky. Imagine what would have happened if you had found it..."
"Hopefully a fox, coyote, cat, or cougar."
"Being clearly asleep, and then someone wakes you to ask, 'Are you asleep?'"
"Bruh my mom be like [this]."
"The only correct answer to this question is 'yes.'"
"I woke up to my mom calling me sobbing because she thought I had died, I was 10 hours away and my blood sugar was severely low and wasn't answering any calls, that was horrifying."
"We've learned what does and doesn't work for waking me up in a medical emergency."
"Blood sugar can be a b*tch, found my mum having a really bad hypo while sleeping when I was a toddler and for years and years after would wake her up to check she was okay without realizing I was doing it for that reason. Glad you're okay!"
Something so relatable.
"My alarm rung. It's a daily struggle."
We've all been there.
If you're not a morning person, waking up in the morning can already be a challenge, but no one wants to get woken up to horrible news or an emergency.
In fact, we should be waking up naturally with our own personal sleeping patterns.
We all know that's easier said than done.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
People have a habit of excusing crap behavior - honestly because it's often easier in the short term. Long term = flaming dumpster fire.
The excuses people use to dismiss behavior range from mundane and meaningless to the sort of leaps normally reserved for kangaroos and Olympians. It's sometimes amazing that these excuses work - but they do.
Some of them work so well that they're just sort of "accepted." That, obviously, kind of sucks and is something we should avoid - so let's talk about 'em.
Can't swerve around what you don't see, ya know?
Reddit user TMTtasmachine asked:
... and away we go.
" 'That's just how they are.' "
"One of the biggest enablers for tantrum throwing, bullying, etc. is that they get treated with kid gloves to avoid dealing with them." - alexrt87
"Oh my God you hit the nail on the head. Whenever someone says 'that's just the way they are' I say:"
" 'Yes, that's the point! Glad you noticed too! Now is it okey-doke for them to be jerks they have special jerk privileges? Or maybe they are just people and should treat everyone else as such?' " - notatrumpchump
"It depends on how it's said."
"People are the way that they are, and you shouldn't be surprised when they continue to be that way."
"This, obviously, doesn't excuse it - but people also shouldn't be surprised when a bad person continues to make bad decisions. Neither should we waste space in our minds being bothered by it." - unlawfulfoxy
Harassment Isn't Humorseason 2 lol GIF by ShamelessGiphy
" 'It's just a joke, bro.' Harassing people isn't humor." - loading__99
"A guy who says/does offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him." - Eatsleeptren
"Dude, legit had someone come up to me and start shouting in my face, calling me Madison, pretending I was cheating on him. Literally the most crowded location outside a theater, everyone staring at us, looking at me like I was some horrible cheater while I was out with my then fiancé."
"I started hyperventilating, my fiancé nearly decked the dude, and then someone shouts 'CUT' like this is some big 'YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA' moment and everything's supposed to be okay."
"I burst into tears."
"It was the most humiliating moment of my life, and thank god my then fiancé, now husband is not the type to overreact or jump to conclusions, or be abusive. Imagine how bad that could have been for someone with an angry or abusive partner."
"Prank videos are a plague on the internet and there is a REASON so many of them are fake, or involve actors." - Darkovika
Stay Sober, Then!Drunk Drinking Beer GIFGiphy
" 'I was drunk / high / etc.' "
"Then don't drink?! Stay sober if you can't NOT be an a**hole!" - BasedBenjamin
"Alternately, I hear a lot of 'I'm a happy drunk!' "
"Yeah, according to your drunk a$s. That doesn't mean you're not an ahole. Not remembering is not an excuse either." - PepeBabinski
"I was also loud, obnoxious, and I wouldn't remember sh*t the next day."
"Quitting drinking has been one of my best choices of my life." - TTungsteNN
"Help"new girl coach GIFGiphy
" 'I'm just trying to help you' " - Miserable-Air1234
"Every time I've heard this, they're manipulating me while helping only themselves." - mykittenfarts
"My Mom to a T. Everything she does is better than anyone else's and she always gets pissed that people don't praise her for 'helping.' "
"She's now a certified (by herself) psychic and I have come to the conclusion that she's not a covert narcissist but an obvious one. I really wish I was joking." - Silent_Discussion657
Parenting ProblemsLeave Me Alone Run GIF by TLC EuropeGiphy
"Any variation of 'I'm a Mother/parent.' "
"Had some lady cut me in line at a coffee shop and she hit me with 'I'm a single Mom of 3!' as her excuse."
"Ok? And? I was still here first." - maid-for-hire
"I'm a single mom and I f*cking haaaate when other single moms/parents pull that sh*t to get special treatment."
"Last week, I was having a rough morning, my kid was being difficult, and I was running late. I was rude to a cashier over a minor inconvenience."
"Not only did I apologize for my shitty behavior, I wrote corporate to let them know how professional and patient she was while I acted like a f*cking toddler."
"Was being a parent part of the reason I was frustrated? Absolutely. Was it an excuse for that behavior? HELL no."
"I acted like a b*tch, and I called myself out, and I apologized. I still feel bad about that - I rarely let things get to me to the point I snap at others." - ClusterfckyShtshow
"Wow. I'm a Mom as well and tired but it doesn't give anyone a right to use it as some sort of ploy to get away with stuff."
"Like, mice become Moms about 12 times a year. You're not special 🤣" - SpoonLoops
Believing Your BossThe Office Monday GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"I had a boss say some really racist sh*t around me one day and the next day, out of nowhere, he says:"
" 'Don't believe half the things that come out of my mouth!' "
"It was not really an excuse, more like trying to cover for himself after the fact, but still stuck with me." - sirlongbottom441
"Report them to HR. Seriously." - kokichi--ouma
"Looking past the racist stuff for a bit, that's not a very encouraging thing to hear from a boss…" - WonderfulBlackberry9
Bad Day AgainBad Day Reaction GIF by Schitt's CreekGiphy
" 'I'm having a bad day/week' "
"Okay, so you decide everybody that you interact with deserves the same fate? Get out of here, dude." - myordinaryexistence
"We all got stress, don't take it out on me. I get some people have stress bad enough for it to be passable every once and a while (family member passing, etc) but general, stress should not lead to you being a jerk to me." - willsimpforfree
"Damn, I'm definitely guilty of this. Usually I remember to apologize after but at this point I've learned to just avoid the situation in the first place by minimizing my interaction with people if I'm in a shitty mood." - nozzzrul
"Reminds me of when that White boy went on a murder rampage and killed a bunch of Asian women & that a-hole sheriff gave a press conference telling the media that the 'poor boy had a bad day.' "
"My idea of a bad day involves going home after a rough day at work and just staying in the house."
"Apparently, I should change my ethnicity from Asian to White and go on a murder rampage, see if my @ss gets a sympathetic sheriff to say on my behalf that I had 'a bad day.' " - kingkazul400
It's Not An ExcuseSeason 2 Reaction GIF by FriendsGiphy
"This won't go down well, but using depression as an excuse. As someone who suffers from it, it's still not ok to treat others like sh*t" - Rainbowwallstickers
"Could not agree enough. My partner has a 'friend' who treats everyone like sh*t all the time, has no consideration for others and openly mocks people in public."
"She gets so much grace from those around her under the guise of her 'mental health.' It's so infuriating watching an adult woman never have to take responsibility for her actions." - 34boor
"I get there are some things you can't control, but you are still responsible for keeping that sh*t in check and if you're aware of your mental illness, you should be aware of how you approach people and situations."
"I'll admit I used to be guilty of using my mental illness to be an @ss, but now I'm trying to better myself" - VeeSquibbles
Florida Gonna FloridaLooney Tunes Florida GIFGiphy
"People are letting Florida off the hook way too damn much. And I live in Florida."
"Just because it's hilarious doesn't mean it isn't still completely f*cked up." - AlphaWhiskeyOscar
"The phrase 'Florida Man' is almost always followed some heinous way a Floridian is being an a$$hole." - PepeBabinski
"I'm also originally from Florida, and that state has serious problems. We need to pay attention to it." - [Reddit]
Moment of honesty ... as a Floridian ... yeaaaah, I'm gonna have to agree with that last one.
We live in a time where we are critically re-examining how we pay workers. After a two-year-long pandemic where some low-income and "unskilled" jobs were deemed "essential," we now must put our money where our mouth is.
For too long in the world have incredibly important jobs been overlooked or else outright maligned. Teachers in the USA make some of the least money, career-wise, and have some of the hardest jobs. Dancers pay to put their bodies through hell with no guarantee of paid work after training.
So how do we fix this problem? By naming it, of course.
Redditor u/NightReader5 asked:
"What professions are severely underpaid?"
Here were some of those answers.
Our Elderly Deserve Better
"I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and I loved it. It's such hard work for such little pay and that's why I had to leave."
"Not only that but I was a rare person in that I LOVED caring for the residents. Nothing was beneath me such as changing a dirty diaper or spoon feeding."
"Everything helped their quality of life. Sucks they can't keep people that genuinely enjoy it cause I couldn't make over $10 an hour."-Dancer9d9
"Came here to say this: Emergency Medical Technicians. I will never not be just a bit salty about this."
"My husband is one of those people who does this job because it's his passion and he loves helping people."
"It would be nice if he earned more than the kid who just got hired at McDonald's this morning."-ThePotterheadHobbit
High School Bathrooms....
"The janitors at my high school. I walked in the men's bathroom there once and there was a mega-giant steaming pile of crap and diarrhea right in the middle of the floor."-satanic-sex-god
"Anyhow. Are you sure that was a high school? We're talking grades 9-12 here, right?"-VoicedVelarNasal
"Unfortunately yes. Other highlights of my oh so great high school men's bathroom that contains teenagers from 14 to as old as 20 are:"
"A dude bringing a sledgehammer to school and smashing a sink, the toilets being blown up, the toilets being frequently clogged with trash..."
"Smashed beer bottle glass covering the floor, and a centimeter of pee flooding the bathroom whenever you walk in. I hate it here."-satanic-sex-god
You know immediately YOU might not want to do this job--so why is someone else getting paid next to nothing to do it?
The More You Help Others The Less You Get Paid
"Statistically speaking, any job that provides significant social benefit to others, the less you will get paid, something that David Graeber discusses in essays and his work, Bullsh*t Jobs."
"This is so sad. I'm currently in a job that pays very well, I just dont find any meaning or fulfillment with it. I want so badly to do something where I'd be helping others- something with purpose- but I honestly dont think I can afford it."-mko0njo9
"Social workers. Dealing with negligent, abusive parents while trying to help the children while in an underfunded, low-paid system is a travesty."-ZRX1200R
"Can also confirm. I like working with my family's but I don't get paid enough to deal with their crap or most of the bureaucracy."-Altowhovian93
Minimum Wage To Go Against FIRE
"Entry level wildland firefighters. They start them at $15 an hour."-NuclearEyedSquirrel
"I live in a small town in Ohio and I think the lowest starting wage I've seen was 11."
"That's the low side and those places are having trouble hiring because there's so many places paying higher. McDonald's here starts at 13 or 14 an hour."-rjoh4459
One Kid, One Para
"Paraprofessionals. Yea, my town increased the pay rate for paraprofessionals to get more people to apply since they have a shortage but the pay increase was not that good IMO."
"For that job, I think you need to be compensated for the physical and mental demands of the job."
"It's a hard job and they should be paid for the work, the pay rate in my community for the job with 60 credits is $14.50 but I think it should be more than that."-YourQueen2Bee
The question then becomes, why won't the people who HAVE money do something to help the quality of these jobs, and make sure that these people get paid?
"Everything in veterinary medicine. Kennel technicians, Veterinary assistants, Veterinary technicians, Veterinary receptionists, and Veterinarians."-aIsiduous
"Veterinary interns/residents, too. I work 70-120hrs+ per week, am on call about half the days per month, have to pay for my own board exams and accreditation fees out of pocket, and all for ~$33,000 per year."-WyrdHarper
"It's bullsh*t. There's nothing on this planet I want to do more than be a veterinarian, but I simply cannot afford the debt. Hopefully one day we'll get the recognition deserved. Stick in there, I know you got this!"--aIsiduous
In The Classroom
"I work in a special school, I love it but I really don't think we get paid enough for all the times we get yelled at, punched, kicked, bit, spat on, cursed at, have our classrooms trashed, have things thrown at us..."
"And then we also have parents making demands and admin telling us their 'simple' solutions to all of it that we have to carry out while they have zero clue on what it's actually like to spend a day in the classroom."-Sajiri
A Morbid State Of Affairs
"Funeral directors/embalmers/funeral professionals. We didn't get days or holidays off to begin with. Now the pandemic has stretched us to working double overtime, which we are exempt from getting paid for under Florida statutes."
"And forget hazard pay for being exposed to COVID multiple times a day every day via the deceased, the deceased's family members, the general public attending funerals, and the hospital/nursing facilities we remove decedents from."-Lesscute
So why are we holding off on giving these people a raise? Their jobs involve dangerous, mentally and emotionally taxing situations, and yet, we treat them as if society could function without them. The truth is it couldn't.
And society had best learn that as soon as possible.
What causes a small town to die?
Honestly, there can be quite a few factors, but perhaps the biggest one is that small towns often lack the upward mobility opportunities that are more available in urban areas.
As a result, many towns around the United States for instance have lost tens of millions of people as their populations seek jobs and opportunities elsewhere.
And what remains of these places can be pretty sketchy.
People told us more after Redditor RadicalizedSnackWrap asked the online community,
"What's a super sketchy US city that we never hear about?"
"Daytona Beach, FL. Imagine a bunch of alcoholic high school kids who came for spring break in 1984, and never left, and never grew up."
Oh, I don't have to imagine it.
I've seen it!
I lived in a neighboring town for a while and bodies would always turn up in farmer's fields that the cartel in Yakima had dropped off there."
Sounds like Netflix needs to get its hands on Yakima, a new show to go against Ozark.
"I remember a story..."
"Guntersville, Alabama. If I were to ballpark it, over 80% of the population are meth addicts and traffickers.
I remember a story where a man walked into the Walmart, took all the supplies and equipment required to cook, and proceeded to cook meth in the bathroom."
"A run-down town..."
"Reading, PA. A run-down town that is mostly used as a central point to run drugs between New York and Philly."
I am writing this from right nearby actually, and I can smell it from here.
"Small town almost entirely..."
"Butte, Montana. Small town almost entirely comprised of violent meth heads."
"More of a town than a city..."
More of a town than a city, but it's such a weird place, bordering on Twilight Zone. You'll see a meth house right next to a youth theatre."
According to a friend I have who spent a lot of time in Arizona, this sounds about right.
"Used to have..."
"Gary, Indiana. Used to have a prosperous steel economy, but now it's just home to abandoned buildings, failing infrastructure, and lots and lots of crime. Just look up pictures."
"I always said..."
"Amityville. Yes, that Amityville.
I always said the "Amityville Horror" house is for amateurs. You want something scary, put on a nice watch or a gold chain and wander around downtown Amityville after dark."
I went there once.
I have not been back.
"It looks harmless..."
"Harrisburg PA. It looks harmless and maybe a little boring but holy hell that place is a giant puddle of corruption just waiting for someone to step in it. Not just state government, there's a bunch of layers you can use to crawl up the corruption ladder."
"Used to be..."
"Natchez, Mississippi. Use to be the headquarters for the KKK. Not much there besides crackheads, plantation homes, and European tourists. Don't own a nice place if you're black, you'll be stopped by the police and questioned."
It doesn't look any of these are changing anytime soon, and that's sad.
Have some small towns to tell us about? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.