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 CampDreamy asked: 'What advice would you give someone starting their first job?''
Starting your first job is always nerve-wracking. The start of anything new usually is. That's why it's helpful to get some advice.
Before I started my first job, a friend of mine told me that there were a lot of things I should be willing to do in order to become indispensable, but one thing I should never do is give up lunch.
Even if it's a busy day and everyone is working through lunch, take five minutes to buy something at the deli next door or pop something in the microwave. You will not do your best work if you do not eat a meal.
I was very glad to get that advice, and it was something I always followed.
I also followed my own personal rule of writing down the process to do anything at work, even if it was as simple as where to look for a particular file. Anytime I thought 'oh, I'll remember,' I ended up having to ask again. It's always better to write it down so you not only know how to do it, but are the one that people come to when they need to know how to do it.
I'm not the only one that has good advice for someone starting their first job. Redditors are full of advice and are ready to share.
It all started when Redditor CampDreamy asked:
"What advice would you give someone starting their first job?"
"95% of success is showing up on-time and not having a bad attitude."
"There’s a quote that goes something like: you don’t need an advanced degree to show up on time, work hard, and have a positive attitude."
"I basically used this as my mantra as I built my career (and still do)."
"This has been my experience in my first ~5 years of employment. Being someone that people enjoy interacting with, sticking to deadlines, and broadly trying to make lives easier rather than harder will get you pretty close to the top, and it’s a lot easier than working overtime every day."
"Yep, when I was younger I always thought that just showing up on time, being a decent person to work with, and doing a good job were the bare minimum that everyone did....I learned later that this will put you above approximately 90% of your co-workers."
"Poop on company time."
"Boss makes a dollar, I make a dime. That's why I poop on company time."
Everyone Makes Mistakes
"Don't worry about f**king up. You're going to f**k up. We all f**k up. Constantly."
"Learn from it when you f**k it up so you do it better next time and you'll be the best employee in any job."
"And when (not if) you f**k up, own up to it, and do your best to fix it. It's way easier to fix a mistake when it first happens than 3 weeks or even hours down the line. This applies to basically any field."
"Listen to gossip if you want, but never spread it."
"Yep. I worked in a private pool snack bar kitchen last summer, and nearly all of my coworkers were high school girls. The amount of sh*t they talked on each other was insane, but I just tried my best to not get involved. It never became anything other than sh*t-talking, but it's just a good idea in general to keep your head down."
"I work in a kitchen with majority middle-aged women, and it's simular to what you described."
Do It All
"If they tell you to sweep, just sweep. You still make the same amount. Unless you’re an MD or something else, in that case you’re f**ked!"
"A programmer consultant I knew in the 90s lived by the motto "it all pays the same.""
"You want him to spend his $50/hr time doing things that an unpaid intern could handle? Sounds like an easy day."
(Don't) Let It Burn, Burn, Burn
"Don’t burn bridges if you quit or get fired."
""Never cut what you can untie.""
"- Robert Frost"
It's All Public
"Assume everybody in the company plus clients will read every email you send."
"Yeah this is genuinely a great rule that will save your @ss. Write every email as if it will be read by the whole org."
"Also speak as though anything you say is being recorded."
"Document EVERYTHING. Every time punch. Every direction from your supervisor."
"Do this if you are working outside your duties/responsibilities as well, or directed to do things. You want a paper trail of why you did what you did if something screwy happens."
"Ideally, the work place should concentrate on policy, protocol, training, engineering and admin controls and such... but well stuff isnt always ideal."
"You're going to feel tempted to make strong relationships with your coworkers - but remember that you shouldn't share with anyone what you wouldn't want known by everyone. You may think you can trust someone, but you should have a bit of caution."
"A lot of work relationships feel a bit like a friendship, but they are not. If they move on, or you do, it is rare that you will stay in touch. Accept it for what it is."
"Take advantage of tuition reimbursement to get degrees/certifications that will benefit your career and don't worry about "owing" the company for it."
"Many industries have pretty generous tuition reimbursement programs where they cover your school but you owe them time after they cut those checks. A typical program might have a requirement that if you leave the company you need to pay back anything they had paid out in the last two years."
"The thing is that you want to leverage that degree for a salary jump and the current company won't give it to you because they have you "locked" in now, right?"
"So you interview for your next job and when that company gives you an offer you explain that you're on the hook for the tuition reimbursement at your old company "and since you will be getting the benefit of that education I will need a signing bonus to cover my financial obligation to my current employer.""
"Keep in mind that the signing bonus will be taxable income so you need to shoot for an amount that will have taxes taken out and leave what you need to pay back the tuition."
"I've known too many people who didn't get a degree that could have really helped them but they didn't want to be "on the hook" to their employer. I even know one guy who spent close to $30k out of his own pocket to get a master's degree because he didn't want to "be stuck here" when he was done."
The Little Moments Matter
"Don’t miss any major life events (or the major life events of close family/friends) for work. You might feel pressure from your employer not to take the time off."
"The family/friends will still be around for many years, the first job probably won’t."
Learn To Save
"Pension! Pension! Pension!"
"Put as much as you can afford to into your pension. Retirement might seem a lifetime away but the sooner you save for it the sooner you can achieve it."
Money, Money, Money
"Pack a lunch! Eating out can put a huge dent in your paycheck!"
"Can't stress this enough. For the price of eating out unhealthy food for 1 day you can usually pack healthier lunch for 2-3 days."
Oh, yes! I found out about that last one the hard way...and still haven't learned!
Just the other evening, I was walking home, and I barely survived.
I tripped on a dead tree branch.
The next thing I knew, I was flying in the air and landing on my back.
My belongings were strewn about.
And my to-go burger was dead.
A simple walk.
A simple dead branch.
And almost lights out.
Redditor Typical_XJW wanted to hear about the times people eluded death, so they asked:
"How did you almost die?"
Don't even get me started on any and every car ride.
We're always moments from the end on highways.
Back in the Day...Hunger Games Student GIFGiphy
"Almost drowned when I was 5 or 6, been hospitalized twice for sepsis between 2016 and 2019, and had a stroke this year. I'm 29."
On the Disk
"MRSA infection in the disk on my lower spine between L5 and S1. Showed up two days after a cortisone shot but the hospital said it was from something else. Was in hospital 25 days multiple emergency surgeries."
"I worked for a doctor who did these in-house and other procedures, and it 100% made me not trust medical facilities, cleanliness, and sterilization procedures. Had about twenty patients all come down with the same gut infection, 'coincidentally,' the same patients who came in for endoscopy procedures the same day."
"Saving a younger friend from drowning, he panicked and almost took me out."
"Had that happen with a younger cousin when we were kids. His brother and I went to save him, he climbed on both of us and pushed us under. Lifeguard didn’t even see us until he pulled younger cousin out of the water, then we popped up gasping for air."
"16-year-old farm kid me, stepdad told me to go pick up a load of corn seed for planting. I had gone with him many times before, and driven the truck (full ton dually diesel) and hauled light stuff with it. Nobody told me how different it is to haul 10,000 lbs of seed on a big flatbed trailer on gravel. I had a lot of common sense and was driving slowly and carefully."
"Still… 10,000+ lbs pushed me down a gravel hill skidding, praying to god I stopped before the stop sign at the T intersection to a busy highway. I came to a grinding halt JUST as the front of the truck crossed the plane where the gravel turned to asphalt. A semi was coming from one direction and regular cars from the other. I shudder thinking about what if on that one. Don’t let untrained kids tow potentially deadly, heavy trailers, with zero training."
Finding TracksCollege Sports Sport GIF by Sealed With A GIFGiphy
"Was backwoods camping in Yellowstone and if I hadn’t considered for 30 seconds if I REALLY needed to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, I would have walked out of my tent headfirst into a brown bear, which I heard before leaving and found tracks of next to my tent in the morning. Spookiest moment of my life in hindsight."
Bears are a no go for me.
Camping is an even bigger HECK NO!!
Several StrikesReassuring Jimmy Fallon GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonGiphy
"Twice. 1. Woke up to my apartment on fire."
"2. Hit head-on by a drunk driver on a small bus, just after everyone got off bus exploded."
"Lmao okay, so I was getting my teeth cleaned, and I got nitrous oxide because I have so many exposed roots. Well, my hygienist at the time was this lovely lady from Minnesota. Kinda flaky, but super sweet, and talked about her family all the time. So I'm in the chair and she hooks up my mask, and away we go. I actually fell asleep! Except not so much."
"Turns out Barb had forgotten to turn the oxygen on and had been feeding me straight nitrous. She only noticed because I started gasping for air while unconscious. So that's how I almost died at the dentist. I never saw Barb again, but I tell you, that was the best nap of my life!"
"I was snorkeling. I had my other stuff stored on a rock by the water, about 3 meters high. When I got out, I decided to climb straight up. Almost at the top, the rock I was hoisting myself up on came off and I fell back first onto the coral. If a friendly wave hadn’t come in, I would have broken my back, at least."
"I was diagnosed with a rare fatal blood disorder from birth, doctors projected I’d live till about 6 and then die from massive blood loss. As this was the mid-90s, they tested the idea of using stem cells from my sibling's umbilical cord; administering the first successful stem cell transplant from a sibling donor and I’m still here to tell the tale!"
These were some tremendously close calls.
Do you have any near-death experiences to share? Let us know in the comment below.
When it comes to the dating scene, most of us have a pretty low opinion of people who choose to cheat on their partners, not to mention serial cheaters.
But that doesn't seem to stop some people from doing the deed.
Curious, Redditor miaah214 asked:
"People who have cheated before, why did you do it?"
"He cheated first, and I was young, petty, and thought revenge would make me feel better."
Immature and Selfish
"Unbridled ego, unsatisfying regular sex life, and a girl who threw herself at me."
"I was an idi*t, I acted like an a**hole, and I will regret it for the rest of my life."
"It was a hard truth to face. It was a dark time in my life where my ego and my immaturity caused me to hurt several people I loved."
"Fortunately, I learned from it, and while I can't take back the pain I caused, at least now I know that I am 100% capable of being an a**hole and so can choose not to be one."
"Insecurity. I was always on the lookout for someone who would make me feel more desirable than the last. It was a serious youthful lack of judgment."
"Once I grew up emotionally, I realized what a piece of s**t I was and the hurt I caused. Hard to live with, to be honest."
"100% pure lust. That’s it. I’m not proud of it."
Lots of Options
"Willing partners. It was amazing how many times when I did have a steady girlfriend that I would suddenly get propositioned by random women or worse yet, my girlfriend's friends or sisters."
"Too many times to be a fluke."
"It was like they figured if you are in a relationship, you're worth pursuing."
"But when I was single, most times I couldn't get a woman's attention."
"So it was an ego boost, but ultimately, I decided to be a better person, and I met a person who I truly thought was 'the one.'"
"And to a certain extent I did, it just didn't last through no fault of my own."
In Need of Validation
"When you grow up being in turn neglected and told you're not good enough, validation is like a drug, and intimacy is the ultimate validation."
"Sooooo much therapy to undo this."
"This. I’m just recently realizing how I didn’t receive enough attention and validation from my parents and how much it’s influenced my choices. Meeting someone and having them be into me physically is the easiest validation boost I can find."
"People who grew up with parents actually interested in them and with an instilled sense of self-confidence don’t know how good they have it."
"I don’t inherently feel important or relevant so I’m always looking for someone to tell me otherwise."
The Thrill of It
"Because I was a f**king a**hole 20-year-old who only thought of himself and getting some action. The high of it."
"I'm 37 now. No cheating since then."
The Real Joy
"My ex was done in the bedroom and even said they were no longer interested in me physically or sexually."
"I should have left at that point, but with kids and the financial hit of divorce, I just looked to fulfill that need."
"I later divorced, and it was a big financial hit, but oh my god, what a relief it was getting out. Getting out of an abusive relationship is where the true pleasure comes from."
In Need of Attention
"My partner cheated on me shortly after I had his baby. I wanted to leave, but I convinced myself to stay. The logistics of having a baby and 24-hour care are challenging on your own. He refused to have sex with me."
"At some point, someone got me in a weak spot. Somewhere between exhaustion, low self-esteem, and the sheer opportunity of having an orgasm were too strong for me. I’m deeply ashamed."
"Shortly after I picked myself up, the relationship ended. I should have left sooner."
"Someone telling you that you are beautiful, talented, and special after being invisible can feel like a drug. I don’t expect sympathy from anyone for my actions. But I do have a lot of sympathy for others now."
The Easier Option
"Because I chose a cowardly and easy path. Instead of going to therapy and ending my toxic relationship, I cheated on them with someone who I had convinced myself I was in love with and loved me."
"As it turns out, breaking up with someone is a lot less harmful to everyone involved than cheating."
"Not me, but a guy friend cheated and the reason he gave was that he loved his fiancée but they had very different sex drives."
"He also said that when he brought it up to her (the difference in their sex drives and the problems it would cause) she begged him not to leave and insisted it wouldn’t be an issue."
"He told her it already WAS an issue and, as a last resort, she said she would understand if SOME DAY he felt the need to look elsewhere…just as long as she never found out."
"The girl admitted to saying all this but explained that she would have said anything for them to stay together in that moment, she didn’t think he’d actually be 'f**ked up enough to cheat' and she never imagined he would do it so soon."
The Perfect Combination
"A perfect storm of poor impulse control, untreated mental illness, and boredom."
"People on the moral high ground will tell you not to cheat for reasons like morality and integrity; from the moral low ground, I can tell you that the lifelong guilt, shame, and remorse are not worth it."
"Because the relationship was done and I was already moving on emotionally. I just didn't care about her enough to care whether she was hurt or not. Honestly, in hindsight, I have zero idea why we were still together. It DID make the eventual breakup a lot messier."
"I was young and it taught me an important lesson. If you're done, just be done and leave. There's no point in dragging it out. If you're ready to start looking for another relationship, start by ending the relationship you're already in."
Ready to Make Up for It
"I had a perceived lack of affection. I felt ugly and disgusting and like I was just an emotional tampon."
"I would never do it again. In therapy, I learned a lot about the reasons I did what I did and in all honesty, if she would even entertain the idea of trying again, I’d spend every day making up for it and making sure she felt more love then can be imagined."
"I’m currently fulfilling into the man I know I can be. I just wish it took a more positive trigger in order to start that for me."
Let's end it -- the article, that is -- on a lighter note.
The Worst Kind of Cheating
"My wife wasn’t around. The house was empty."
"I couldn’t wait for her to get home, so I watched the next episode without her knowing."
"Honey, if you’re reading this… I’m so sorry."
"You're a monster."
It's so hard to imagine what's going on inside someone else's head or why they might choose to do the things that they do, especially if it's something we don't agree with.
It's at least heartening to see that many of these Redditors used these experiences as learning opportunities and have since gone on to treat the most treasured people in their lives a little differently.
Making yourself feel at home takes work but not as much as you think.
Homeowners, for example, are apprehensive about renovations because of how much costs.
Even tenants renting a home can feel like they're stuck in a situation where they don't feel comfortable because of minor inconveniences they think requires major solutions to fix.
Cut to this Reddit thread, where the ideas for affordable home improvement options were shared that may make you wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Curious to hear some tips from strangers online, Redditor Super_dupa2 asked:
"What small upgrade made a huge difference at your house?"
We tend to overcomplicate things when solutions can be simplified.
"Methodically buying phone chargers with long enough cables to not have to ever move one again."
"I am a pretty mellow dad (benign neglect parenting style for 5 kids) but I have two rules. Nobody messes with my bedside charger and nobody steals my two pillows."
"So, as such, I make many, long chargers available for everybody. It costs me a fortune:)"
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
"Blackout curtains for sleeping. Such a game changer."
"And they keeps my bedroom cooler."
"Insulated blackout curtains make a 10f difference in my living room on hot days."
A Cool Idea
"Attic heat exhaust fan. Our attic used to get up to 140F on the hottest days, and on those days our ceilings were hot to the touch. The whole house was consequently uncomfortable. Now the attic fan is thermostatically controlled to 90 degrees, and the whole house is cooler."
"I added a passive whirly bird that does the same thing. Heat rises and escapes before it can accumulate to those extreme levels. It also happens to be clear acrylic so now there's always light up there too which helps keep away any vermin.
No major bathroom renovations are required to make tenants happy.
No More Slamming
"Soft close cabinets and toilet seats."
"We have a soft close toilet seat at our home and every time I'm at a hotel, I completely forget that they aren't usually soft close and the slam startles me 😂"
Nozzle Upgrades Can Do The Trick
"A better shower. If you can't redo the whole bathroom, just replace the head. This also works if you rent, just keep the old one in a box, so you can bring the nice one to your next house."
"I'm a renter and I finally installed a better shower head this year, after just using the default head in all my apartments for almost 20 years. 10/10, highly recommend."
Perfect Welcoming Gesture
"My wife and I own a smallish apartment complex . One of the things we do every time a new tenant arrives is replace the toilet seat. I learned that trick from my parents who had about a dozen single-family rentals. It's amazing the goodwill you receive from a tenant simplify giving them a new toilet seat. We actually put the box behind the toilet so they know it's new."
"Smart outlets for Christmas lights, both inside and outside. I have them scheduled to turn on at sunset and turn off at midnight."
"Smart outlets are one of my favorite purchases. During Halloween and Christmas, we’re using multiple outlets for inflatables, house lights, and tree lights. The smart outlets allow you to have everything synced so they all turn in at the same time."
Things Are Looking Bright
"Replaced dated lighting fixtures - fixtures are now properly grounded, the interior looks more updated, and there is more/better light."
Energy Conservation Option
"Motion activated light switch for the laundry room. Never have to worry about turning off the light when leaving with an arm full of clothing."
Creating an environment can make a huge difference.
Source Lighting For The Win
"Lighting can absolutely make a huge difference in the way you feel in your room. Get some shoulder height (when you are sitting) lamps for your living room. You will notice a shift in how much more relaxed you feel when you use those instead of the overheads."
Home Art Gallery
"Spending a day mounting my artwork. It felt so much more like my home after that."
"Every time I've moved, I put that off for way too long, then finally break down and do it and the house feels so much better to be in."
One major upgrade was our VE hybrid tech water boiler and warmer we got from Japan.
The Zojirushi kitchen appliance uses VE, or vacuum electric, technology for very minimal electricity to maintain the water temperature at a constant 195° so we always have hot water at the touch of a button.
There's no more time wasted boiling hot water over the stove every time we want tea or the occasional instant cup noodles.