Satisfying Small Victories
Everyone has heard the stories of hardships and struggles, but sometimes in life, things can be surprisingly easy. Whether an unexpected life hack, trade secret, or just through pure luck, these stories encompass the little victories of everyday people.
I lived in New Jersey, and a friend of mine invited me to a commercial audition at a New York City bar. I went because of the bar and only auditioned after two drinks. I left thinking it was a waste of time. I had no idea what was coming.
A month later, I get a call that they want to use me for the commercial. Plus, it turns out the director was the guy who directed the original Space Jam. I got lines and ended up in two of their commercials. I then got a 40k payday, where I thought someone made a clerical error. This kick-started my acting career.
Staying Linked In
On LinkedIn, I always have my status set to “looking for work” even when I have a job. One day, a recruiter asked me if I wanted a job. I found the position and applied with the company directly, and apparently, they had been looking for someone with my qualifications.
Just like that, I made $20k more and got a super laid-back job with flexible hours where I never had to commute to work. I also have a really nice title now and actually just interviewed for another job that’s a higher title with higher pay. I’ve only been at my current job for seven months.
Not So Common Knowledge
My small victory was overcoming a lifelong speech impediment at 22 years old. A lot of the "common knowledge" around speech impediments is that if you can't beat the thing by the time you're 10 or so, that's pretty much it for you.
The idea is that your speaking patterns have become so ingrained at this point that you basically have to accept that you're stuck with it for the rest of your life. This was the explanation given when I was cut from speech therapy in third grade.
It was a big part of why it took me until I was 22 to return to speech therapy as an adult. I assumed this issue was stuck in stone, and that I was kidding myself by thinking it was something that could be fixed. But someone had made a big mistake. Turns out that common wisdom was all incorrect.
There actually is no deadline for when you can fix a speech impediment; you just need to be given competent speech therapy. So, my lifelong lateral lisp was gone within two sessions, and my lifelong rhotacism (can't pronounce 'r's) was gone within a month.
It was awesome! But also, really? It was that easy? I could've had a happy, normal childhood this whole time but I just...didn't? Because the adults in my life thought the issue couldn't be fixed back when I was only eight years old? Well, that sucks.
I achieved a small victory fixing clogged drains. It started out because my sink drain plug wouldn't stay up. I poked around under the sink and found the pop-up rod had rusted completely through and broken.
It cost me five dollars for a new one at the plumbing supply store next to where I worked at the time. It took five minutes to figure out how to swap, and now I know how sink and shower drains come apart, which makes unclogging them simple.
Maybe it's just me, but in my brain, it seemed like that was something I'd have to call a plumber to come to unclog, but it's all remarkably simple.
Small Victory At Small Claimsman in black shirt sitting beside woman in white shirtPhoto by Saúl Bucio on Unsplash
My small victory was suing someone in Small Claims. It was surprisingly easy because my case was rock solid and I had a professionally printed document of evidence, witness statements, and precise records sent over to the court.
Meanwhile, the defendant did literally nothing but send unlabeled loose printouts of my Facebook page as her so-called evidence. It was a very quick judgment for the plaintiff.
Best Job Ever
I've hated every job I've ever had. Then at 18 years old, I joined the forces for six years. That sucked the whole time, then I went into customer service at Walmart, and the staff was mean to everyone. I tried security and the staff was just degrading.
I had job after job doing what I thought was the "right" thing. One day, my life changed. I decided to apply for a local HVAC company and worked at a call center. Nothing big, I think there were a total of nine of us on the phones. Honestly, it's the best job I've ever had.
We all get along, spend hours a day on our group chat sharing memes, and our management has one-on-one meetings every two weeks with the goal of "this meeting is not work-related but we want to know just how you're doing, how's is life treating you, what do you need".
There's constant communication about expectations and how we can better meet them and how they can help us perform better. The majority of the company's profits are used to better employee lives (I get monthly commission and residuals, and $30 a month in healthcare) along with monthly potlucks, paid lunches, and competitive pay starting at $17 an hour.
I haven't seen any turnover...none! My position was only hiring because too many people got promoted.
Too Good To Be True
For months, I had been applying for tons of jobs on every platform I could find. I was also talking to friends to get critiques on my resume/cover letter. Updating my online portfolio, et cetera.
Then one day a recruiter messaged me out of the blue on LinkedIn and basically handed me a dream job. It was one interview and then a call to say “Hey you're hired”. I legitimately thought it was a joke right up until my first day of work.
How I Doubled My Salary
I got a salary request when applying for a job, and accidentally wrote double what I meant to write since the number keys were right next to each other. They accepted anyway.
The 20-Dollar Flat Screen
I found a 60-inch TV by the dumpster. Plugged it in but it didn’t turn on. Looked up common problems with the model number, bought a part on eBay for $20, replaced the part, and had a huge TV for $20.
Sleep Hackedperson holding white medication pillPhoto by Mariana Rascão on Unsplash
I never slept well. Then one day, there’s an over-the-counter magnesium supplement called “calm”. I drink a cup every night and sleep like a hibernating bear. It was that easy.
No One Else Applied
This is how I got the Erasmus scholarship. We had only two places each term for the 300+ people in my university program. I always thought of applying, but I thought my chance was too small to get into one of the places, so I didn't really push myself to apply.
Until I did. Turns out I was the only one applying, and I spent the next half a year in the lovely city of North Sweden completely financed by the European Union.
When In Doubt, Try Amazon
I had a loose hinge on my door. It kind of drove me crazy for three years, but I had no idea how to fix the wood that had been stripped. Then I found a product on Amazon for $10 where you shove on a sleeve, break it off and then screw in the new screws.
I bought two new hinges that don’t squeak. It took about 10 minutes and cost $20 and it’s no longer a problem.
A Cheaper Fix
The power steering failed on my Acura. My local Acura dealership wanted to charge me well over $1,000 to fix it. But I had a better idea. I bought a power steering pump off Amazon for $70 and found a YouTube video that explained how to fit it.
I don't have any car maintenance experience but it only took a couple of hours to do the job myself and it worked like a charm.
Thank God I’m Fired
I had accepted a new job but was anxious about giving my notice at my old job. I had been there for 8 years and really loved my team. I had also been stressed out that I was taking a week off between jobs because it was a stretch financially.
I finally set up a meeting with my boss. I couldn't even sleep the night before. An hour before I was going to give my notice, my boss's boss called me into a meeting with HR. I was being laid off along with a large number of other employees.
They were so sorry, and my boss's boss was in tears. She promised they would "take care of me". Anyway, I got 20 weeks of severance and a full three weeks off between jobs. Definitely, the best thing that's ever happened to me.
I was so shocked that I almost started laughing during the meeting and had to pretend I was trying not to cry.
The Miracle Cureclear drinking glass on white tablePhoto by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash
My small victory was drinking water. I went from having sleeping issues to waking up fully rested. Water has changed my life! I thought it would be super difficult to kick soda, but once I tried, the benefits certainly outweighed the lack of taste.
Lying On The Job
I got a job that required full-time fieldwork for minimal pay. On my first day, they asked about my other skills. I saw other people using AutoCAD so I said I used it in college but I was rusty. This was a lie. I had only ever used it once to draw some circles.
The company was excited and got me a 4-day refresher class. I learned AutoCAD and haven't been in the field in over a year. I later asked for more pay since I wasn't a field tech anymore.
They said “no”, so I got another job using AutoCAD for double the salary. Pro tip: learn AutoCAD C3D, it's not that hard, and people will think you're a tech genius.
“DJ's Got Us Falling In Love”
In my sophomore year of college, my buddies were throwing a party at their house. One of them was a moderately successful DJ in the local college scene. We were having a good time and the DJ was doing his thing when he had to use the washroom. That's when something beautiful happened.
As he's leaving, he taps me on the shoulder and asks me to just stand at his turntables to make sure no one messes with them. He had songs queued up so I just had to stand there and wait.
About 30 seconds later, two women walk up to me and say how much they love the music. I tell them it’s just a playlist and I’m only keeping it running. But they are still super impressed.
A few minutes later the actual DJ comes back and I give up my post. Then one of the girls comes up and asks me to dance with her. One thing leads to another and we ended up having a great time.
At one point I told my friend about this girl I’d met while covering him at the DJ booth. He laughed and said, “Yeah sometimes it’s that easy”.
Worth A Try
My small victory was getting a job working for the US Department of Defense. I'd always thought that those kinds of jobs required prior government service, and a whole host of various degrees or such to get a job with them.
Then I saw a job opening for one site near where I lived and thought to try it. So I applied. I honestly didn't expect to even get a callback or anything. I not only got the callback, but also got hired for the job.
The requirements were far more lenient than I expected. All the job required was a clean criminal record and a willingness to learn. I ended up working as a wastewater treatment tech for them, and eventually got an environmental engineering degree with their help.
Never Too Late
My small victory was going back to school. I've been toying with the idea for years, but telling myself it was too far, too expensive, too time-consuming, et cetera. Because I had a home, job, and child to maintain, I couldn't do it.
Something in me finally cracked recently and I thought to try it and made a call to a tech school nearby. Three days later I'm on a tour. The tour is maybe an hour or two in total. The papers were all done online, and I start Monday!
They also threw a ton of financial aid at me. I'm only going to pay about $50 a month until I've graduated, and then those payments go up to about $95. Still very manageable. My classes are only four hours long and are at night, and I only have to be in class two days a week.
The rest of my studies are done at home with a tablet they provide me, so I didn't even have to buy a computer or anything. I couldn't believe how easy and affordable it actually was.
Up, Up, And Awaywoman in white knit sweater inside aircraftPhoto by Jon Ly on Unsplash
I got my pilot license. To be fair, I did study a lot but it was one of those things I wasn't sure I was going to do well on. My instructor said I'm ready, but I still wasn't sure.
Day of the check-ride, I answered every question correctly without hesitation, and did every maneuver correctly. We parked and my examiner said "So how's it feel to be a private pilot". I thou.ght in my head "There's no way" even though I did everything right with relative ease.
A Little Research Goes A Long Way
I'm a 24-year-old female who knows absolutely nothing about cars. Well, I bought myself a nice front/rear dash cam without considering how to safely wire it and found out I would have to remove parts of my car to wire it behind airbags and stuff so it wouldn't prevent an airbag from deploying properly.
I thought I was going to have to pay someone to install it for me, but then I found an amazing solution. It turns out a simple YouTube video walked me through the whole thing! Now my dashcams look professionally installed. I also learned how to change a blown fuse on the same day because my USB adapter wasn't working.
I was high on the achievement of something new and had a brief hyper-fixation on learning to mod my car but thankfully got over it.
Learning To Love
My small victory was breaking up with someone who wasn't good for me. I stayed way too long in relationships that I didn't want to be in. Once I learned to like myself, I realized I don't have to settle.
I didn't mind being alone in between, and because I liked myself, I started to draw the type of people I actually wanted to be around. The type of people who made me want to keep challenging myself to be better.
If you're in a relationship where your heart aches all the time, where you're accepting less than love and respect and kindness, and if you're in a position to leave and still be safe, just do it.
Even if you don't like yourself yet, you will. This is true for all relationships, not just romantic ones. Surround yourself with people you like to be around, and who like to be around you. Time is all we have, so invest wisely.
The Broken Fridge
Some previous owners left a "broken" fridge in the kitchen when we moved in. They put it in the paperwork that the fridge was broken and that they weren't going to dispose of it. So I made plans to get a new one the week we moved in, but just for fun, I decided to plug the old one in to see what was wrong.
Four years later and we're still using it without issue. We did find that the push-to-connect plastic water line for the ice maker was leaking a bit so we replaced that for about two dollars.
All Little Action
When I was working overseas for a US company, many of my co-workers and I all developed a similar chronic health problem due to our employer's ongoing violation of several workplace health and safety laws.
I repeatedly urged my co-workers to file SPOT reports, because it was not the kind of health issue that goes away on its own. Not one of my co-workers could be bothered to file a report, even though everyone complained constantly about their resulting health issues.
So, I filed a SPOT report. They had no idea what they were missing. I ended up in two years of physical rehab back home, hauling in overseas money tax-free, while not having to work, and ended with a generous five-figure cash settlement.
My health issues, thanks to the medical attention I was able to get by holding my employer accountable, have been resolved. My former co-workers, I imagine, are still just complaining about theirs. There was no lawsuit and no attorney. One single report of injuries was all it took.
The Family Favoritewoman standing beside black and gray concrete buildingPhoto by ᕈ O W L Y on Unsplash
My parents and grandparents all had this really annoying habit of making anything and everything sound way harder or more demanding than it actually is.
Whenever I'd perform the feat and realize how insultingly easy it was, I'd be left a little offended while my family would cheer me on. I never could tell if I was offended because I expected a harder challenge or offended because my own family thought I couldn't handle something so simple.
Maybe it's an ego thing, maybe it's Maybelline. I don't know. But here's the twist. After I turned 18, I started treating everything like it was easier than it looks so I didn't let my mind get caught up thinking I couldn't do it at all. The result of this was that I became one of the handiest and most skilled people in my group.
A Little Upgrade
My small victory was learning to code. I’m no programmer by any means, but I was working a data management job that heavily utilized Excel to update a database via file drop. We were using formulas to check our work against the master file of the database after loading it.
I showed an affinity for working with data and my manager encouraged me to learn SQL and move into analytics. I was intimidated so I put that off for about two years.
Finally, I was so unsatisfied with the job that I knuckled down and got started learning SQL. I was so surprised at how much easier it was than I expected.
With just the basics I had a new job within three months. Now I use it every day. Not so much writing SQL, but using and tweaking existing code to suit my needs. Reading code to determine what it’s doing is a great way to learn as well. With any luck, this time next year I’ll be starting as an analyst.
One hot Summer night, we had a severe thunderstorm that hit my area hard. Power got knocked out everywhere around me. So the next morning, they were able to get the power back on, and all of my lights and appliances came to life...except for one big problem. The 65-inch TV that I bought two weeks prior still wasn't working.
Obviously, I tried to turn it on, unplug and plug it back in, et cetera. I tried every single thing I could think of, and after hours and hours of attempts and endless research online, I came to the conclusion that my TV was just donezo.
I figured even though I had the proper surge/power protection hooked up to it, it somehow must’ve gotten fried in the storm. I was devastated.
But after more hours of reading sites and forums about how to repair it, I find a post on a forum that describes the exact issue I’m having, and they said that all they did was get a hairdryer and aimed warm air into the back of the TV and all the internal junk inside.
I say to myself, “There’s no way that works, but what’ve I got to lose” so I grab a hairdryer and aim it into the back of the TV for about seven or eight minutes, and then plug the TV back in.
And boom! It comes back to life and turns back on. Crisis averted. Not too sure why it worked, but I was ecstatic, to say the least.
I got an email from Amazon that said I was being invited into their "Amazon Vine" program. I had never heard of it, but the email said that I can just request free stuff, and all I have to do is review it.
It sounded too good to be true. In fact, it sounded exactly like a joke. I was 90% sure it was one, especially since they needed me to sign up with my name, address, and social security information. You know, exactly the kind of information you should never give out on the internet.
But the email seemed to come from Amazon itself, so it made me curious. I did some looking into it just to see if it was a joke and how it worked. However, after looking into it more, it turned out to be completely legit.
In the last year, I've gotten about $45,000 worth of free stuff from Amazon, and all I had to do in exchange was write honest reviews about it. If I like it, I say so, and if I hate it, I say so.
I've gotten all sorts of stuff, like a large-screen HD TV, an ice machine, boxes of snacks like cookies and Doritos, furniture, dash cameras, tablets, tattoo machines, and more. My neighbors must think I have a serious spending addiction, and my poor delivery drivers think I've opened up a retail business or something.
I do owe the IRS a bit because it technically counts as income, but for my income bracket that ends up not being too much anyway. And because people always ask me how they can join, well, you can't. You either get an invite, or you don't.
Nobody knows how they choose whom to invite, but it's based somehow on reviews you've done in the past.
Knowing Your Worth
My small victory was negotiating a pay raise. Rumor got around work that I could use a computer. They tried me out on the CNC machine. Turns out my hobby of playing with computer programming for the past 20 years meant I was absolutely fantastic at it.
It also turns out that fixing the edge banding machine isn't that hard if you learn how it works. Suddenly I was the most valuable person in the place. I expected to just get a pay raise because I have the belief that people should get what they deserve.
No pay raise was forthcoming after 18 months. I am a fairly anxious person, but with some encouragement from my friends and family, I worked myself up to ask for the raise. The response made my stomach drop. The first time I asked, my boss just chuckled.
I don't think he was condescending, I just think the way I framed it sounded like a joke. The second time I asked, my boss said he'd think about it. I immediately started looking for a new job.
Turns out, I am a highly desirable employee. Within two weeks, I had three job offers. I resigned. Everyone was sad. My bosses panicked and asked me what it would take for me to stay. So, I demanded a fairly high wage for my trade to stay.
They didn't even hesitate to give it to me. Now I'm the highest-paid person in the place.
Dream Home Dealbrown and white concrete house near green trees under blue sky during daytimePhoto by Johnson Johnson on Unsplash
I got my place because it was sitting on the market for months. It was slightly more than I wanted to pay and it wasn't exactly my style, but it had "potential". It was only four years old and a 15-minute walk to the beach.
It was also on one of the larger blocks in the street. Anyway, I decided to buy it. The pest and building report came back confirming the house was pretty much immaculate. Two months later value had gone up $50,000.
Two years later, the place is worth $200,000 more than I paid. I think everyone overlooked it initially as it only has one bathroom and one small garage, but it does what I need.
I saved 18 years for a deposit and had a great credit score and savings history. I just found the one unicorn property and am so fortunate for it. I managed to even get a bank loan without having to rely on a broker. I absolutely love the place now.
I have a little garden and am putting in trees for the visiting wildlife. The street is quiet, and the neighbors are friendly. I was so lucky to come across it.
Just Another Lego Set
Building a PC is my small victory. With so many sophisticated videos on YouTube that didn't teach the trade well, I thought it would be hard to build a PC. Then I tried it once, and apparently, it was just an adult Lego set, but easier.
Carefree Car Troubles
I completely ruined the first (and last) brand-new car that I ever financed by being a sloppy driver and never changing the oil. Like, not only did I trash the interior of this car, I completely ruined the engine. But here's the kicker.
By some insane stroke of luck, I was granted a recall of my entire engine, due to some unrelated issue. They replaced my engine free of charge, and I drove the car for another 60,000 miles. I recently traded it in for a nice used car and am treating this one like my baby. I used my spare life already.
A Breezy Breakup
My small victory was divorce. Maybe this is an unexpected answer but I was dreading it. I worried it'd be this whole huge debacle. Once I mustered the courage and we got over the initial upset after an hour or two, we just began separating.
The divorce paperwork was simple, the court visit took less than an hour, and boom, we’re divorced. We both moved on amicably. I just feel like people always paint divorce as this incredibly difficult thing but it doesn't have to be and isn't always all that hard to get through.
I once was a temp at a tiny office on a construction site around 2003. I was only there for one day while the regular person was on some training.
They sat me down and told me that I just needed to copy all these numbers from one program to another. So, I selected them, hit ctrl c and ctrl v. They stared at me. Turns out about 60% of this woman's time had been spent manually typing numbers from one place to another.
Machine Takeoverblack flat screen computer monitorPhoto by Jake Walker on Unsplash
I used to process HSA claims around 10-plus years ago. One system we had to use back then was an old terminal program that took four line items per page. That's it. For a usual claim, no big deal, and not too hard to keep track of things over two or three pages for a longer claim.
Most fit on one. However, we also had the dreaded shoebox claims. This was the person who saved up every receipt all year in a metaphorical shoebox and sent everything in, once a year, to empty their account. We hated them.
Dozens or hundreds of line items totaling thousands of dollars. Just because you only have $500 in your HSA doesn't mean we get to stop there. If you sent in $4,000 in receipts, I've got to account for it all. Totally ruined my numbers for the day, and they tracked claims per hour religiously.
The main issue was double-checking that everything added up right when you were done entering it, and at four items a page it took forever to tally. But I came up with a genius plan. I made an Excel sheet.
It was laid out so I could enter every single line, then run a macro that would calculate the needed totals and dump all the text to a text file formatted exactly so I could select four items at a time, and paste them directly into the terminal window from the default starting cursor position, and every field would fill in automatically.
Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next. Copy, paste, next, et cetera, et cetera. This easily halved my entry times, with way less work. Finding any typos was much easier. I just had to look at a single organized sheet instead of scrolling through hundreds of pages of terminal text. It was great.
I showed it to my manager so the rest of my team could use it. Her reply made me see red. She was horrified I would use something like that, as no human was "double checking as they went along". This is despite demonstrable improvements to my error rates on large claims after I started using it.
She ordered me to stop using it and forbid anyone in her team from automating any part of their job at all. I kept using it for all of the two months I stayed there after that. I had some of the highest claims per hour numbers and lowest error rates on her team.
I never developed any more tools for them. She didn’t deserve them.
I used to have to make two contracts for every person I brought on a traveling training team. I said two contracts were unnecessary and made them into one, sent it to our lawyers, and they approved it.
Still, it took me a long time to update each contract with different names, pay rates, and dates. So I went on an Excel forum and found out how to make a mailer list, and hours of work suddenly took me 10 minutes. I didn’t tell anyone this though, so I just took my time.
Then I had to make floor maps for restaurants to send to the company that puts them into our scheduling program. Well, all of our restaurants are cookie cutter, so I just used Paint to piece them together rather than make all of them each time. I’m a Picasso with Microsoft Paint.
Then they wanted me to use Excel to keep track of training teams. One of my co-workers used Smartsheet and loves to teach people things. So, I jump on Smartsheet with her and she shows me around.
It's way easier to publish it so that people can see the teams but not mess up any information. I used forms to avoid asking them 30 questions that auto-populate my Smartsheet and shared it with payroll so they never have to reach out to me.
I had templates on Outlook and tons of stuff. I basically took a lot of my job and realized there has to be an easier way. So I would ask on Reddit or just look things up, and spend maybe an hour learning something that will save me many hours in the future.
I always tell people to just look things up. They say “I don’t know what to look up” and I say “Whatever your problem is just search it up the exact same way you’d say it to me”. Then when they look up “Excel thing that makes this do that” they are shocked that they find their answer.
A few years ago, my mom was tasked with fixing my grandparent's toilet while we were visiting for the holidays. The toilet reservoir was constantly filling and running, and thus flooding the bathroom, because the buoy arm wasn't lifting high enough from the water in the reservoir to switch off the water flow.
My mom (who is normally a very practical person) had been tackling the issue for hours. She was pretty distraught, thinking we would have to order a new buoy arm, maybe even a new sensor, or switch and pull the whole assembly apart to replace everything.
She was planning out a trip to the store and pricing things out when I walked in. The solution was so simple. I took one look at it and bent the metal arm the buoy was attached to down so the arm had a slight upwards curve.
The buoy still reached the same level in the reservoir but registered on the sensor as higher because of the curve in the arm. Problem solved.
I watched it dawn on her what I had done, and she just looked at me like I had a third eye. She said, “I've been struggling with this thing for four hours and you fixed it in four seconds". She was very happy I saved her from more work and spending more money.
She calls me her “little toilet engineer" from time to time. I work on Aircraft, so it's mildly demeaning.
A co-worker of my husband's got locked in their office. He was out on a Friday night for a few drinks. He walked past the office on the way to the taxi stand and decided to pop into the office to use the washroom.
When he tried to leave, the magnetic lock on the door wouldn't release. This was one of those buildings where the ground floor was a separate unit, a separate business was on the first floor, and their office was on the second floor.
The only other way out was a rolled-up emergency evacuation ladder he could toss out one of the larger windows, but he was drinking and scared of heights so instead he sleeps in the break room.
The next morning, when the co-worker is still unable to leave, he calls my husband who lived nearby. My husband talked him through where to find the management keys and contact numbers for the security company but they were no help.
So, I grabbed our tool kit and my husband and I drove to find him. We get there and the co-worker is chatting through the letter box. Now, these two men are highly educated. The co-worker is a senior software developer with the company.
The first thing I say is "Sure it's a magnetic lock, so do you not have access to the breakers to cut the electric"? They both just stared at me. The breaker box was right beside the door, and all the co-worker had to do to all night was open it up and cut power.
Suddenly the letterbox closes, we hear the snap of the breaker being flipped off, and the door is open. We all laughed at the situation as he only then told us he'd been there overnight.
Since they both worked with software and it seemed to be a software fault, that's where they focused. But I just thought "door doesn't open because of the magnet, and the magnet needs power, so remove power".
Funny thing is, this is the second time I'd had to come down to that office and release someone trapped inside.
Serious About Scholarships
My girlfriend didn't realize most scholarships aren't even applied for, so they give it to whoever applies to it by default. With her help, I wrote four essays that were tweaked for each scholarship application.
I did the writing because I'm a writer by trade. By the time she transferred to her new college, she had an excess of $1,500 to spend every month. Because of that, she could focus on her studies instead of trying to balance a job on top.
Suddenly Irishblack and brown electric guitarPhoto by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash
When I applied to college, I applied for an Irish American scholarship. Turns out they had so few applicants they just gave me $40k towards my tuition. I have a secret, though. I am not even remotely Irish.
Never Hurts To Ask
I was at a private concert with maybe 50 people for a band that used to sell out stadiums. My friend was a huge fan but too shy to talk to the band. So, I dragged him up to the edge of the stage after the show and explained the situation to the lead singer.
He dragged my friend onto the stage and took his picture with the whole band. My friend had a great time. Sometimes it is that easy.
Right Place, Right Time
I went to the bar one night with some friends and ran into a girl who had worked for me a few years earlier. I said “hi” and we chatted for a minute. Then she asks me where my girlfriend is, so I let her know that we broke up a couple of months earlier.
Suddenly, she replies "Oh cool, well I'm here with my friends and I'm going to go hang out with them, but if you want to hang out after the bar closes, I've always liked you". I blinked about 10 times in a row before finally saying "That sounds awesome". We ended up having a great time.
This One Weight-Loss Trick Doctors Hate
I lost 25 pounds...and all I had to do was stop eating before bed.
Seriously, Did You Try Turning It On?
I was given a TV because the audio didn't work on it. On the back was a "sound on/off" button.
Did Somebody Say Free Electronics?trash against wallPhoto by Kevin Butz on Unsplash
When I was a kid, I used to regularly dumpster dive for electronics. The vast majority of electronics are thrown away because some minor part was broken. Often, it's as simple as a fuse.
From Home Cook To Chef
Turns out it’s so easy to learn to cook with raw ingredients. Throwing in random things that taste good together usually works as long as you understand what you like.
All It Takes Is A Personal Touch
I was recently looking for an apartment. Rent in my city, like most cities currently, is outrageous. So after three days of looking, I found this 2-bedroom apartment with a price that normally would get you a roach-infested one-bedroom/studio in a bad part of town.
But these apartments look nice and are in a good part of town. The reviews online are all positive. I can't figure out the catch! Then I saw a disappointing detail. I see there is a year-long wait list for this place. As a result, I decided to go to the leasing office directly.
After talking to the property manager, I get bumped to the top of the list for an apartment that becomes available next month. I keep waiting for the bottom to drop out. Most people spend months looking for places in my city and they'd be paying a third more than I'm paying at a minimum for a similar place.
I looked for 3 days and found this place, but I think I just got lucky and it was just that easy.
Did You Try Turning It On?
I worked on an almost five-million-dollar lighting rig for a concert as a junior guy on the job. We get it all plugged in and patched, but it all went so wrong. None of it would turn on. All the guys were freaking out trying to figure out why.
The team collectively had about 150 years of experience...yet no one checked to see if the generators were turned on. I was like “No way this is why but I'll just go check if the generators are good”. Flipped stuff on and voila.
One Man’s Junk, Another Man’s Treasure
When I was a kid in the 80s, my family was broke. Like, we were two paychecks away from living in our car. We actually did have to live in our car for a few months before my mom landed her job.
Anyway, imagine a single mother of three, who works three jobs just to make ends meet. I was just attending 8th grade, and I was playing in the back of our house. I noticed something in the dumpster that I hadn’t seen before.
I fished it out and brought it home. It was a computer. A monitor, keyboard, and a tower thing. At that time monitors sat on top of the box. And they were huge! Not to mention expensive. I managed to set it up and it was already booting into Windows 3.1.
When my mom got home, she was livid! She thought I had taken it from someone. We couldn't afford anything close to that. No way! But once she saw the grass stains on the side, she knew.
We had that computer for four years. It helped me in ways I can’t even believe. Because of that computer, my love of electronics and my curiosity flourished. No, I am not a computer technician now, but I am the resident computer nerd for my family.
I make a living online, and I attribute most of my knowledge to what I can Google. So yeah! It “was” that easy!
Arcade Awakeningbeach under blue sky and white clouds during daytimePhoto by Roland Denes on Unsplash
I was at Carolina Beach last summer around Memorial Day. We got to the boardwalk one afternoon and there was an arcade there.
I found this skill game where you have to press a button that moves a fixture with a razor on it. When you let the button go, the device stops and the razor snaps through the middle. There's a small string close to the glass. If you time it right, the razor cuts the string, and this huge door opens, and you get all the prizes in the machine.
I swiped my card to play, pressed the button, and held it before releasing it. Suddenly, the rope cuts and the doors open. My son was losing his mind, and I'm just regretting the next two hours where I have to lug this giant bear and box of sand castle toys all over the boardwalk.
I still have not decided if I'm a savant at this game, or if it’s just really easy.
Reddit user GazelleHistorical705 asked: 'What is the most ridiculous college major you’ve ever heard of?'
Many high school graduates face the conundrum of what to major in when they go on to pursue higher education.
Teens who haven't already sparked an interest in a particular field by the time they graduate wind up buying more time waiting for enlightenment by electing "undecided."
But to avoid any stigma of being an idle scholar, some students settle on majors they thought never existed.
"Fun with pasta," anyone?
While such a major might not exist, I wouldn't put it past some academia for coming up with it.
Curious to hear what those unheard-of specialized fields of study are out there, Redditor GazelleHistorical705 asked:
"What is the most ridiculous college major you’ve ever heard of?"
Majors with one word, please.
Sounds Like A Hard Major
"PENIS. My school offered a major in Political Economy of Newly Industrialized Societies, but eventually realized the acronym and changed the name. Pity. I hope some were able to get their degrees with a concentration in PENIS."
"It was made so the Vice Chancellor could buy a private golf course for the university, so he could play on it. I believe it had 5 enrollments ever, and one was a joke that didnt show up or pay. It got cancelled the first year, but he got to enjoy his own personal golf course for some years after."
Just Throwing Ideas
"Frisbee. A friends roommate at Amherst was in some kind of 'create your own major' thing and chose frisbee. His family had momey and college was just a formality."
Certain concepts as a major were hard to grasp.
Seed Of Despotism
"IIRC, like 20 years ago some college in Indiana offered a major in World Domination."
"You can only get a job as a henchman with a BS."
"You need a full PhD to be an evil mastermind."
A Vague Focus
"PhD in general studies."
"Tf do you even write your dissertation about."
Let's Take It Outside
"An old friend has a Bachelor's degree in Outdoor Activities. He was never able to explain exactly what that meant, though."
"A guy I know majored in Recreation."
"When I was there, my college had one of the top Parks Recreation and Tourism Management (PRTM) programs in the country."
"It had the nickname 'Party Right Through May.'”
"It was extremely popular with student athletes, especially football players."
"There’s always a demand for graduates too. It seems like one of those fields where you shouldn’t need a college degree to do the work, but you need one to get in the door."
Going At Your Own Pace
"When I was in uni my friend dated a guy who was majoring in leisure studies. I used to joke that leisure studies is a 4 year program, but if you’re good enough at it you can do it in 6."
Things went up a notch.
Arghhh Ya Kiddin' Me?
"At MIT you can be certified in being a pirate if you complete the courses of pistol, archery, sailing, and fencing."
"It’s not a major, it’s a certificate. But if I ever get my own office it’s going in a very nice diploma frame and I’m gonna see who notices."
"My university had an Interdisciplinary Studies department that served mainly to get super duper seniors graduated. They would cobble together the random credits people got because they changed majors every semester into a 'degree.' You get some wild majors like a BA in Culinary Traditions and Music in the Former British Empire."
"My college briefly had a major in Nordic Lesbianism."
"I've read many of the responses on here where most of them weren't ridiculous imo but you gave the best one!"
Make It Up
"At a graduation at the University of Redlands. They have a degree whereby you basically take the classes you want and call it what you want."
"The degree conferred was, I kid you not: 'Still trying to figure out who I am.'”
Clearly there's a major for all occasions.
But at the end of the day, does it really matter as long as you have a BA in something to show you were academically tenacious?
Now go out there and carve out your own path, young scholars!
Just make sure you can pay off those student loans.
Maybe there should be a major on how to avoid debt.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is defined as:
"the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages."
AI is broken down into four types—from most basic to most advanced:
- Reactive machines
- Limited memory
- Theory of mind
The first two—reactive machines and limited memory—currently exist.
Reactive machines AI have no memory—it responds directly to current information. An example is a recommendation based on your streaming activity.
Limited memory looks into the past and monitors specific objects or situations over time, and adds the information to adapt responses. Self-driving cars are a good example of limited memory AI.
The other types—theory of mind and self-awareness—don't exist yet.
Theory of mind AI would be able to understand intentions and predict behavior while adjusting its own responses, simulating human interpersonal relationships.
The final step in AI is self-awareness. These would be systems that have a sense of self, a conscious understanding of their existence.
As AI advances, some human work functions will be done cheaper or more efficiently by AI.
Reddit user othersimon asked:
"Those who actually had their jobs replaced by AI, what was the job? What replaced it? What do you do now?"
Redditors definitely had feelings about businesses implementing AI.
"To everyone who argues that AI isn't capable of doing their job yet I say, so what? All that matters is your boss thinks it can do the job."
"Laughing at their failure is small solace when you're unemployed."
"I mean how many people were fired because they had been working for 10 or 20 years and earned high pay, to be replaced by some minimum wage worker who completely botched the job and took twice as long?"
WUT U MEEN IZ RONG SPELD?
"My entire editing team was replaced by a robot that was supposed to write and edit text like a human can."
"They didn't test the robot first—it was terrible, and their entire project failed."
"No tears were shed."
"My wife was a copywriter/wrote blogs for internet optimization online primarily for legal and medical fields."
"AI took over and her company either fired everyone or severely reduced the amount of pay that was offered per job—wife is still unemployed."
"But we heard just last week that it sounds like the company is now going under."
"AI-written articles are obvious from a mile away and they’re terrible."
"I think Google should penalize search rankings for AI generated content as it’s often not valuable to the reader who is looking for useful information."
"And these articles bastardize Google’s own value in a sense as the info showing up in search results is materially less valuable than genuine content."
1, 2, 3...
"Worked at Amazon for a few years. Did inventory basically all night."
"Then they installed cameras, scanners, AI, etc..."
"Still need a human, but yup, a lot of us were no longer needed."
"SBC (simple bin count, just count everything in the bin, easy) is redundant."
"I was on a very small software development team at a relatively large company."
"We were often tasked with not only working on our project, but utilizing new cutting-edge technologies to test whether they would be viable before rolling them out to the rest of the dev teams."
"We were asked to start leveraging AI to help us with our development and we gave it pretty high praise."
"Apparently we talked it up too much though and they decided to see if they could simply bypass needing software developers and have the business analysts generate code from their requirements and then send that code straight to QA."
"They didn't really test if that would work before laying off our entire dev team, and a couple of months later they laid off the remaining members of the team because it wasn't working out."
"It was just one of many bad decisions they made around that time and they're currently struggling and losing market share because of it."
"I'm still working as a software engineer and use AI as a useful tool, but I'm sure to always let my supervisors and managers know what its pitfalls are and how its just supplementing my work, and not completely doing my job for me."
"Software dev here, new exec came in and replaced me (only dev) with 'no-code' software."
"From what I hear from my friends still there, they shot themselves in the foot."
"In order to get AI to work well for you, you’d have to spell out your specs in great detail and spoon feed it. Of course, in order to do that one would need to know exactly what they want first."
"Unless they have a helluva business analysis team, that is a fantasy."
"Oh, and how are they going to update the AI generated code down the line? There is a guy on my team who is sharp as a tack but his code is actual mental gymnastics. I make him spell it out to me because it simply makes no sense."
"Turns out he was writing code that was assisted by ChatGPT. AI writes code that computers can read, devs need to write code that other devs can maintain/expand."
"AI can create stuff from scratch, sure, but I don’t think it’s prepared as of yet to digest complex code, interpret it, and then add to it with more complexity. They could try to run everything we do with AI but will hit some dense walls quickly."
No Injuries If There's No People
"Some warehouses have some self driving high reach forklifts."
"Someone said that their warehouse has only 2 human high reach drivers & 9 self driving high reaches."
"Lights off manufacturing is getting closer by the day."
"I work in a facility that’s about 800k sqft. It has 20 employees in it and hundreds of not thousands of robots. We make millions of widgets a week."
"Single use medical devices. All plastic. Huge boom in business during Covid, back down to earth now! But still very profitable."
"All the lights are on sensors because there are areas people don’t go into for weeks at a time. It’s eerily quiet and creepy. If there’s an issue we fly someone in from another location."
"Trucks unload raw material into large totes. Robots collect the totes and deliver to the material storage area. A human inspects quality and quantity."
"Machines mold the widgets, a robot pulls them out, cameras inspect the parts. Data is sent to a central quality facility in Mexico."
"When the lot is approved, robots pick up the totes and delivers to packaging lines where it gets boxed up, weighed, labeled, and taped shut—all by robots."
"Then the completed pallets get delivered back to the warehouse where a truck picks it up and delivers to the customer."
"We have a few engineers (I am one) that maintains, inspects, and reports out on the systems. We have three security guards—one whose job is a ‘buddy’ to escort people to dangerous areas."
"If you had an accident we wouldn’t know about it until your shift ended."
"There’s a plant manager, a pair of quality techs, a couple material handlers. And two maintenance folks."
"That’s the entire operation."
"I used to be a projectionist."
"Now a movie is on a hard drive and it's programmed to run remotely."
Facing the Future
"I'm about to lose my job to a layoff, but I will be replaced by 2025."
"Working in semiconductor manufacturing, most of production is fully automated already with plans to automate more. My job is basically to babysit idle machines right now."
"The maintenance crew will always be necessary but as soon as AI can do the rest of my job, I am not necessary at all."
"I can be replaced by code, the company would love to get all the product made without paying people for their time. I know I am expendable to them but it's the best paycheck in the county."
"Sad but it's the truth. Gonna have to try and stick it out while I apply to new jobs."
It Is What It Is, But Isn't What It Isn't
"I feel like this is going to happen a lot in the next few years."
"Don't get me wrong, AI is an incredible technology, and depending on the specific implementation, it's capable of great things."
"But the unveiling of ChatGPT and AI art bots started a bubble of sorts, which we're currently still in."
"People seem to be over-conflating and misunderstanding how AI works, what AI is, and what AI is capable of, and for that reason, I think we're going to see a lot of misguided layoffs coming."
Technological advancements have eliminated human labor forever.
This isn’t a new dilemma created in the computer age.
All we can do is pay attention and adapt.
According to the General Social Survey, 20% of married men and 13% of married women reported having sex with someone other than their spouse.
In the United States, 17% of all divorces cited adultery on the part of either or both parties.
But 70% of married women and 54% of married men reported they didn't know of their spouses’ extramarital affair until their spouse confessed.
And how did the other 30%-46% figure it out?
Reddit user Ok-Still2345 asked:
"How did you find out your significant other (SO) was cheating on you?"
Out of the Mouths of Babes
"Hell, my 5-year-old grandson told me!
"He said 'you ain't my favorite pop pop...Rodney is!' I said who the f*ck is Rodney?'."
"The rest is history."
STI Was a Big Clue
"My best friend had chlamydia she got from a hook up. And then weirdly enough my fiancé at the time started having symptoms of, coincidentally, chlamydia!"
"This was the 2nd partner she had done this to me with."
"I had just gotten out of the hospital for a spine surgery, so thankfully I didn’t contract it."
"I gave him a ride to the Walk-In clinic (he couldn’t drive) and left him there."
Keep It Down Over There
"Neighbor called me asking if we could be a little more quiet with the sex."
"I was in another state."
"This is how my neighbor found out her newborn child's father was cheating on her."
"She was working an overnight shift and their other neighbor (I was away) called in a noise complaint for a woman screaming."
"Dude was having sex his ex while he was supposed to be watching his newborn."
"Oddly enough my ex-girlfriend (call her A) at the time told me."
"She messaged me asking if me and my girlfriend (call her L) were still together.
"I said yeah."
"A sent me a picture of L grinding on some dude's lap at a party."
Making a New Friend
"I caught an ex in my 20s in a similar way. My friend called me and he was like 'hey man are you still with her?'."
"'I'm going to send you a picture, I'm here right now, sorry man.' It was a picture of her on some dude's lap at a house party making out."
"I drove to the house, parked outside, texted her the picture, then walked inside. Walked up to her, told her we were done, looked at the dude, said 'congrats she's all yours now' to which he responded completely clueless that she had a boyfriend, and yelled at her."
"She left. He and I proceeded to get sh*t faced together at that house party and became really good friends for about 5 years before he moved to the other side of the country."
"Her best friend called me and told me. She was very gentle about it, knew it would hurt a lot."
"Eased me into it, provided evidence, wished me a good evening."
"When that friend and I ended our convo, I called my then girlfriend and informed her about what happened. It felt good to have a counter to every excuse or lie she tried to retort with."
"Going in prepared spared me from just going back to her, probably."
"My ex girlfriend's best friend did this for me as well."
"It was my birthday and I invited them all to a hotel in socal to celebrate. The friend pulled me away and said my gf had slept with like 5 people during our relationship."
"She saved me possibly years of heartache."
"Funny thing is, she hated me. She only told me cause my ex pissed her off."
"My ex's friend all summer kept referring to me as 'Scotty' and I kept asking why and my ex would get mad and 'sshhh' them."
"I finally found out that it was a reference to the song 'Scotty Doesn't Know'."
"Oof. This was in high school."
"I had an ex whose friends were the reason I found out he was cheating on me after deep cleaning his apartment while he was in the rehab that I helped get him into."
"Real solid dudes. Wish I kept in touch with them over the years.
"They saved me so much grief."
In the Clouds
"Shared cloud storage photo album had backed up some damning pictures."
"Had a picture on his phone of his side piece in our home holding our child."
"My head exploded."
"Found a long, maroon-dyed strand of hair in his BEARD."
"I have short blonde hair."
"Funny enough, he had constantly accused me of cheating beforehand."
"My ex husband was the same way."
"He swore I was cheating but it was him."
"My ex too, yeah. She blew up at me several times to accuse me of cheating while she was visiting her sister over Christmas."
"Her roommates informed me that she had a threeway with some random guy and her cousin on that same trip."
"Honestly at that point I was glad for the excuse to dump her."
"We were living a few hours apart for a few months because of work. I was driving up every weekend to see her."
"She called me and told me that she had to go see her dad or something that weekend. I knew she had been super busy and stressed at work and she loved wild flowers."
"I spent all day Sunday picking wild flowers, bought a vase, and drove up to the house she was renting, intending to drop them off on the porch so she'd see them when she got home that night."
"Her car was there. A sport bike was parked next to it."
"And she has never been quiet in bed when she didn't have to be."
Right Person for the Job
"I received an 'anonymous' email from someone who felt I 'deserved to know' that he was seeing someone else.
"The email included details about the relationship and several screenshots."
"99% sure it was sent by his side chick who wanted a promotion to main chick."
"I gracefully gave her the promotion and he found a replacement for her old position shortly thereafter."
Ignorance is supposed to be bliss, but there's one thing all of these stories have in common.
Everyone was happier to end a relationship with a cheater than continue being lied to.
I was very fortunate that my parents were able to pay all expensive not only through adolescence but even through college. However, they made it very clear that once I graduated, I was on my own.
I made every effort to make sure I could afford to live once I graduated. I made copies of all the recipes my parents got when they bought stuff for me, and started saving my own receipts, something I didn't do through high school. I calculated monthly expenses and created a budget for the future.
When I graduated, I had accounted for all the big expenses: take-out food, the expensive skin care essentials I needed to keep my acne at bay, and utilities (heat, AC, electricity).
What I didn't realize was that small expenses are not so small. Microwavable meals went up by $2. Gas, which was pretty steady while I was in college, seemed to shoot up daily. And things that don't seem expensive at first glance, such as toilet paper, become big expenses as they add up.
I'm not the only one who had these realizations. Redditors have too, and are eager to share what items they didn't realize were expensive until they became an adult.
It all started when Redditor ForeignReviews asked:
"What item did you not realize was expensive until you became an adult?"
"Food is both more expensive and goes bad quicker when you're an adult."
"I know right! I honestly love grocery shopping, so when I started driving I would go grocery shopping when I had the car and so nowadays I do maybe half of the grocery shopping. But, it's just so expensive. I often look for deals and will buy generic/store brand on most items but, still."
"My biggest tip for "goes bad quicker" is to always get from the back, because usually that's where the longer lasting stuff goes and when it's stacked, get from the bottom. When it's stuff with longer shelf life like cereal and canned stuff, I don't usually bother. But I mostly do that with bread and dairy products. My mom taught me that when I was little."
"Yes! Having to feed yourself and your household is getting too expensive and so tedious. I really admire my mom for making dinner every night when I was growing up. Thankfully I don't have kids so me & my husband are okay with just eating snacks sometimes."
"My parents split up when I was a kid in the 90s, and I remember going to my dads apartment in another city, and him cooking us steak on the grill. I always loved that."
"Once I moved out I was like "wait steak is how much? Why the hell did Dad keep feeding us this?""
"Then I realised he was eating poverty meals all week to treat his kids on the weekend."
"For his 60th birthday us kids pooled our money and took him to arguably the best fine dining restaurant in my province for the full tasting menu. Seeing him light up at trying things like caviar and truffles for the first time made me realize how much he has sacrificed for us."
"So yeah, steak is expensive."
"You guys are awesome; what a nice story. He raised y'all right."
Where Do I Sit?
"Gotta be furniture."
"When I bought my house I only had a bed in the master bedroom and all my friends kept saying “you make good money just buy furniture, you could have it furnished in a month.” Then they themselves bought houses and now understand why it took me a year to furnish my house."
They Don't Need To Be That Nice!
"Rugs. Why did no one tel me a ‘nice’ rug was $18,000."
"But it really ties the room together."
"Dude, you could fly to Morocco and get a hand made wool rug for that much. What the heck are you buying?"
"My dog isn’t going to want to butt scoot on anything cheaper than 10k."
"New tires. Most unexciting $1,000 purchases I have ever made."
"Also why the hell are oil changes so expensive now!?"
"Bro fr I swear they were just $20 just a second ago now it’s like $60?? I asked my dad to teach me how to do it myself as a teen and he said it was so cheap that I might as well pay someone else. That didn’t last."
Walk It Off
"A good pair of shoes will set you back a bit, especially if you need more specialized ones for whatever reason."
Part Of The Family
"They have gotten a lot more expensive due to expected care changing dramatically, and how we feel about them."
"The idea that you would put a pet down because a vet treatment costs too much is horrible now, but was pretty common in the past. Outdoor cats were the norm so they pretty much fed themselves and you had far fewer litter changes - litter was just clay, and you tossed the whole thing."
"Dogs ate table scraps and whatever they hunted down, or cheap as dog feed made of whatever ended up on the slaughter house floor (bones and all)."
"While purebreds were probably still super expensive, most people had a mutt or tabby, that the found/were given, instead of buying."
"All true. But I waited until I was in my 50's and had raised my kids until I could afford a pet. Like kids, I wasn't going to be a pet owner until I could provide the care they deserve."
The Cost Of People
"I'm amazed how my parents could afford me."
"My parents had 5 of us. It amazes me to this day, that my fathers paultry salary at the time had to support it all. How the f**k could anyone do that today?"
"Cars, all grown-ups had them, maybe even multiple. I still think its insane that some cars are more expensive than a 2 bedroom apartment."
"I remember people restoring cars all the time when I was growing up. I would love to do it but even a rough condition rolling rust is super expensive now for even common things people aren’t super after."
"Yeah what the hell!? I feel like everyone's dad (mine included) had a project car that they were tinkering with."
"All of my 'tinkering' is to keep my single, daily driver running!"
Shiny Teeth And Me
"Teeth are luxury bones, don’t ya know? Why on earth would regular health insurance cover them? Hahaha. The fact that vision and dental are separate from the rest of your body is absurd."
I See You!
"Glasses. I have awful eyesight and an astigmatism and got quite a shock when I had to pay for my own prescription glasses for the first time."
"As a kid I had loads of it and gave it away. now I can't afford even a minute !!"
"I took a toll road home today for an extra hour of free time and it was the best money I ever spent."
What I wouldn't give -- or pay -- for some extra free time!