I have always had a fascination with cults. As you can imagine, I've read a fair amount of books on the subject. Helter Skelter, which tells the story about the Manson murders and was written by the lead prosecutor on the case, is highly recommended. Raven, a deep dive into The People's Temple and the notorious Jim Jones, is another stellar read. Films on the subject, including the recent The Endless, are well worth the watch.
But what makes people join these cults and what would get them to leave?
After Redditor theotherweatherguy asked the online community, "Former cult members, what made you realize you were in a cult and that you had to get out?" people shared their stories.
"My mother realized..."
My mother realized there was something wrong when our head minister publicly called her a wh*re, because she was one of the few women who WOULDN'T cheat on her husband with him "in the name of Jesus." She left, taking us (the kids). My father, the husband she refused to cheat on, stayed in the cult for a couple more years.
"After this got to be too much..."
I was born and raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Got married to another witness when I was 19. Around age 23, I started questioning the intense level of control they have over our smallest choices: What we wear, look like, what we watch or listen to, who we spend time with, etc.
Things really started falling apart when my cognitive dissonance was reckoning with the fact that I've worked with several hundred non-witnesses, and they were every bit as intelligent, compassionate, and loving as the best witnesses I knew, yet the Organization taught me that non-witnesses were selfish, horrible people, and they were all going to die at Armageddon (which has been constantly and urgently imminent for the last 150 years), I'll drop a link to some of their quotes regarding this in case you're curious.
After this got to be too much, I finally decided to research what ex-witnesses had to say. The Organization called them "Apostates," we were trained to be terrified of them and what they had to say, to never listen to them. Once I gave them a chance, it clicked instantly. Our leadership told us to never listen to "Apostates" because they knew the whole time that the apostates were right about everything they say.
My wife was not thrilled, to say the least, but I convinced her that truth stood up for itself, and she had the right to examine all the evidence and decide for herself what was true. We've been happily out for a year and a half, making new friends, having the time of our lives and we are buying a house this week.
"I felt insulted..."
They told me I devoted too much of my time studying instead of praying/proselytize/going to gatherings/so-called 'family time.' I even explained that I study because I want to one day contribute to the alleviation of poverty in my country. They confronted me one day. They said that studying is more important to me than God, that it would be better to save myself a seat in heaven, and that all I could do is pray for God to provide for the poor.
I felt insulted because they were Americans and it seemed like their privileged life blinds them from how humiliating it is to not be able to eat. I personally know how many generations that have passed that have prayed for poverty in our country to end. After that exchange, I was so shaken with disgust from what I just heard. It was then that I decided I should get out. I'm a spineless coward, so I composed a letter detailing my leave and handed it to them rather than confront them directly.
"When they told me..."
When they told me I couldn't leave and if I did defy them and leave, I would be excommunicated.
"By the time they let us go home..."
In the early 2000's I went to the Church of Scientology as a 20-year-old. My dad was an Evangelical pastor and I was really turned off of Christianity (still am, even more now). I had heard that Scientology was kind of crazy but hadn't heard anything about what we now know their beliefs to be. When I first went, I really liked the idea behind how they viewed it as "tech" and not really religion. They start you off slow and you don't necessarily get into doing auditing right away (unless you have a bunch of money). I also ended up working there to pay for my classes since I was a poor college student. I actually really liked the people there and had a good time for the most part.
After a couple of months of spending a few days a week there, going to classes and working, I got past the intro classes. That's when the crazy started to show itself. I remember having discussions around how basically, you have to follow what Hubbard said to the letter. Well I'm a bit of a free thinker and that didn't sit well with me, but they would just respond with "Well that's how his 'tech' works!".
A week or so after our discussions around following things to the letter, they had a big event. I don't really remember what it was for, but it ended with trying to sign people up to go on a Scientology "cruise." If you couldn't afford it, you'd have to join the Sea Org and work your way through. Being as it was a pretty expensive cruise (more than normal since you were paying for the classes too), they were having a hard time getting people to sign up. They had a quota they had to hit for the meeting and wouldn't let us leave until they met their quota. So they'd hound people in the audience (maybe around 40 of us) until someone would finally relent and sign up. Then they'd do it to someone else.
It was getting to be around 10 pm and I had to be at my real job at 7 am so I asked if I could leave. They said no, just wait until they finish signing people up. Well, it kept getting later and I kept asking. Finally, after another 45 minutes, I tried to walk out. They physically barred me from leaving. Oh, and not to mention, this entire time they were trying to get me to drop out of school to go. The program I was in had a 2 year waiting period and if I left it would be quite a while before I would be able to get back in.
By the time they let us go home, I hated every person in that place. The people I was starting to like were the ones telling me to drop out of school. I never went back. They called and called begging me to come and talk to them. I finally ended up talking to who had been my favorite person there and explained how upset I was that they were asking me to drop out of school etc. They just doubled down and kept trying to get me to come into the church. At this point, I knew if I went back they probably wouldn't let me leave. So I never went back. Told them never to call me.
I've gotten mailers from them over the years still and they'll find my phone number and start to call. Well, a couple of years ago I had finally had enough of the calls as they would call almost as much as the car warranty scams now. I had already told them nicely to stop calling but one day I lost it on someone. I went ballistic on the phone. I don't remember what exactly I said but they haven't called me since and I haven't gotten anything in the mail.
"They control everything..."
A friend from the same church explained it to me when I was young. They control everything from our money, marriage, thoughts, actions. But growing up in such a church makes it feel normal, you know? I couldn't question it.
"When I realized..."
When I realized that forcing everyone to legally change their last name, not leave the building, not take pictures and not say certain words was not normal, dude. Also the mandatory viewing and the evening classes for those inexperienced in the cult's niche (paranormal).
"I left when my partner..."
I was in an offshoot of AA for drug addicts called DAA. They treated the AA big book as gospel and they encouraged absolute control from your sponsor (mentor). You had to tell them every grisly detail about your life. They refused to allow people to take mental health medicine.
The group took up all of my time and spent hours trying to go to NA meetings to recruit people. They saw Bill Wilson as almost godlike. At the top of the organisation in London was a figure who subtly placed himself as the cult leader, and took advantage of young newcomers.
I was 17 and had begun questioning the doctrine. When I requested to meet with the pastor of our mega-church to discuss my questions, I arrived to find that he'd brought in several other men to the meeting, leaders in the church, as the doctrine did not allow a man to meet with a woman alone. Again, I was 17, a child, not a grown woman. I was curious about contradictions in the church teachings and wanted to discuss. Instead, the pastor and deacons berated me for questioning "God's Word" and told me I would go to Hell if I did not accept what I was told at face value.
I was expelled from the church for questioning and informed that, because I had questioned, I could not repent. No matter what I did, "God" would no longer accept me into "His kingdom". I could not pray for forgiveness or be baptized again. I was a lost soul.
I went on with my life and my parents left the church not long after. About a decade later, the pastor was accused of embezzling from the church and was hit with federal charges. Even though he had claimed to have a PhD, it turned out he didn't even have an undergraduate degree. He was a con-man and many of his family members, who were in leadership positions in the church, were part of the scam. They'd used millions of dollars of tithes to fund their lifestyles, hired bodyguards and lived in a secret compound.
He's still preaching, sometimes moving to another country when he comes under fire again. I pity the people who fall prey to his and his family's schemes.
They cast every problem in your life as your fault. You'd be lacking faith, or not doing the right prescribed cult actions like meditation or writing down your failings in detail and sharing them. Sponsors often told other people what their sponsees told them - there was no privacy.
I left when my partner, now wife, managed to show me what was going on. Unfortunately, she read a lot of my graphic writings about my past and we struggle to repair trust.
I hate them - they prey on vulnerable people and make the cult their lives. If you leave you're isolated and bereft and alone, because your entire life is in there.
Please avoid. Happy to answer questions about them. I'm UK based but they're worldwide.
"I felt a lot of pressure..."
I was raised in a group that many consider to be a cult. My parents are still involved. I felt a lot of pressure to not finish college and instead do missionary work and so I stopped attending. They kept scheduling me for things despite my no-contact, no-show and they thought I would just show up whenever they said. When no one reached out to check on me or make sure I was okay, I realized I was just being used.
"But to answer the question..."
The cult I was in never acknowledged it was a cult but after reading up on how cults operate I'm convinced that it was one. It was located in a farmland area of Tennessee and called The Farm. Here's why I felt it was cult like.
Both me and my husband and our daughter were forced to either change our names (me spelling only) or completely (former husband and daughter).
The amount of shame heaped on anyone who snuck off the property and broke dietary rules was insane. If you went to town and drank a cola or a candy bar it was a breach of conduct and public shaming occurred. If you wore glasses for nearsightedness that was called something- I can't recall but mine were taken from me. People were always confronting you about any you said or did that they thought was not copping to the vibes.
There was a pervasive mindset and a ton of jargon that you couldn't shake off even after leaving. But leaving for me was the most controlling event. I got very sick from bad water and had been forced by my husband into a 4-way marriage. I didn't want it and was outvoted so I went along for a while, just getting more and more disgusted by the sexual relationship with this second husband and watching my husband and the other wife, so I was told I could leave but never to return. That felt ominous.
I went to the guru at the head of this disaster and said I wanted to leave. A plane ticket was bought for me after extraction of a promise to repay it. Since I had nothing but the clothes on my back I agreed. Thinking at the time that my parents would reimburse it since I had nothing, not even a pair of shoes or a coat and when I got home my dad said no effing way will I pay them a cent. So the group wrote cajoling letters which I ignored. Those were followed by threats of legal action and finally a visit from my husband begging me to either cough up the bucks or return. I countered with a divorce. I never saw this as a cult until I got home, to be honest, but the jargon and group think tactics made me feel crazy. I got counseling. It helped me see that my 19-year-old self was in no position to stand up to a quasi-religious spiritual system.
But to answer the question I felt it was a cult after I left because I was expected to act, eat, procreate and work according to the dictates of the leader. I was not permitted to question the rules or authorities. And when I got hepatitis from polluted water I was told it was all my own doing.
"They called anyone outside the group..."
I was part of a South Korean Cult called Shincheonji. They called anyone outside the group betrayers and destroyers, even one's close family and friends. They also demonise internet and prevent us from reading news especially during the pandemic when the church was exposed. They keep a tight schedule for us; we need to recruit almost everyday, and meeting and gathering to a point that we only have 4 hours sleep. I realise it's a cult after they changed their doctrine a couple of times in order to control its members. They talked about how Korea is going to be the centre of the world and everyone is going there to see the Founder - Lee Man Hee. Now the founder was charged with embezzlement, however, this information is controlled and people inside have little knowledge of it.
"When there were rumors..."
When there was rumors going on saying the cult leader was in a relationship with an ex-member although they were both married. Also, notice that the doctrine kept changing. There was zero compassion and love there. I was constantly monitored and controlled. Also, after I left the cult the leader was arrested for embezzlement. I was in Shincheonji a Korean cult very present in the U.S.
I was struggling with my religion (raised as a Mormon) for multiple reasons throughout high school and things only got worse after I came out as gay, including my mother trying to set me up with a man that was five years my senior as soon as I turned 18. The missionaries were teaching my Sunday school class and the very next Sunday after I came out to my parents they taught a lesson about the Family Proclamation and started attacking the LGBT community. I managed to drown out the majority of what they were saying but the damage was already done. A couple of months later, I cut my hair in a style that I had been wanting for months but my parents wouldn't let me even though I was 18. When I came home my parents were furious with me. My mother started telling me that if I kept going down the path I was on, I would never be able to see my deceased family members ever again. That completely broke my shelf and after that point, I refused to go to church for any religious activities.
"Once I learned about the true history..."
I went door to door trying to pressure people into joining my cult. We were explicitly taught to target vulnerable or lonely people in ways that are textbook predatory, psychological manipulation. I slowly realized that 90% of the "lies" all those "anti-Mormons" tell were 100% true, and it was the people I had trusted my whole life who had been lying.
Once I learned about the true history and evolution of a church founded by a con man, the spell was broken. I tried to get answers from their best apologists, but quickly learned that they were intellectually sleazy and obedience was valued, not the truth they claimed to hold. I realized it was a fraud, despite the shiny veneer of goodness, and I walked away.
It was quite the existential shock to have your whole reality turned upside down like that. To add insult to injury, you're then completely shunned as an apostate by all the people you've known your entire life.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Being woken up suddenly is not very good for our health.
Especially for the elderly, it's not something to make a habit of. Sleep interruption can increase blood pressure, cause a worsened self image, and cause a day filled with irritation and confusion.
No one wants to be woken up, but there are definitely some reasons for being woken up that are worse than your alarm clock.
We went to Ask Reddit to find out some of the worst reasons people have been woken up.
Redditor Toothpiicxxk asked:
"What's the worst reason you woke up?"
These truly are the worst.
We love our pets, but sometimes not so much.
"My cat was throwing up right next to me."
"She brought you breakfast how cute."
"I was just about to answer that my cat threw up right on me, specifically my hair, which I had just washed..."
Some horrible news hits you.
"Being woken up to be told someone you know died certainly qualifies."
"Or when you already know, but you wake up in that ignorant bliss that lasts for about a second and then it hits you. And this goes on for a long time."
"It's been about 15 years and I still will wake up on occasion thinking I have to tell my older brother something cool that I know he'd love to hear about. Or have a vivid a** dream about how it was all an mistake and he's still here. Happens less often then it used to but oof does it ever still hurt."
"Woke up at about 3am to a cop repeatedly ringing my bell. my mom had accidentally drowned in the tub. she was really weak from chemo."
"Woke up to a phone call telling me my incredible brother-in-law had been hit and killed by a drunk & high driver, his wife was also expected to pass as her neck had been broken, and their kids were both in surgery. My husband and I were in the will to get the kids, so we needed to fly to Chicago right away. As I sat there in shock, I hung up the phone, turned to see my sleeping husband snoring away, and knowing I would now have to wake him up to tell him the worst news he would ever hear."
2018 false missile alert.
"I live in Hawaii, that time we got the missile scare."
"Oof at least it wasn't real but I would have definitely panicked if that was me."
"Damn, I slept straight through it. My mom literally woke me up, told me; and I still went back to sleep."
"What were you supposed to do? Go outside and witness your annihilation?"
"I think it's the right thing to do to inform people even if there isn't necessarily anything that can be done about it."
"Some people would appreciate being able to conduct prayers, get one last hug with their loved ones, etc."
"Cockroach walking on my lips with no shame. I brutally murdered it as soon as I yeeted it halfway across the room."
"I had a weird dream about a cockroach somehow paralyzing a friend then walking towards me in that same room. Then I awoke to find this a**hole cockroach slowly creeping on my lips."
"When I threw it away, what startled me was it did not panic AT ALL. It even slowly headed towards me!"
"I also mouth washed and brushed my teeth and even disinfected my lips with alcohol. It was a surreal experience."
"I seriously loathe roaches and there's no other way to ensure its death than a brutal one."
Screams in the night.
"One time I got woken up by a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night. I live alone and it also woke up my dog who was freaked out the rest of the night. Searched everywhere including outside and didn't find anything."
"Well that was lucky. Imagine what would have happened if you had found it..."
"Hopefully a fox, coyote, cat, or cougar."
"Being clearly asleep, and then someone wakes you to ask, 'Are you asleep?'"
"Bruh my mom be like [this]."
"The only correct answer to this question is 'yes.'"
"I woke up to my mom calling me sobbing because she thought I had died, I was 10 hours away and my blood sugar was severely low and wasn't answering any calls, that was horrifying."
"We've learned what does and doesn't work for waking me up in a medical emergency."
"Blood sugar can be a b*tch, found my mum having a really bad hypo while sleeping when I was a toddler and for years and years after would wake her up to check she was okay without realizing I was doing it for that reason. Glad you're okay!"
Something so relatable.
"My alarm rung. It's a daily struggle."
We've all been there.
If you're not a morning person, waking up in the morning can already be a challenge, but no one wants to get woken up to horrible news or an emergency.
In fact, we should be waking up naturally with our own personal sleeping patterns.
We all know that's easier said than done.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
People have a habit of excusing crap behavior - honestly because it's often easier in the short term. Long term = flaming dumpster fire.
The excuses people use to dismiss behavior range from mundane and meaningless to the sort of leaps normally reserved for kangaroos and Olympians. It's sometimes amazing that these excuses work - but they do.
Some of them work so well that they're just sort of "accepted." That, obviously, kind of sucks and is something we should avoid - so let's talk about 'em.
Can't swerve around what you don't see, ya know?
Reddit user TMTtasmachine asked:
... and away we go.
" 'That's just how they are.' "
"One of the biggest enablers for tantrum throwing, bullying, etc. is that they get treated with kid gloves to avoid dealing with them." - alexrt87
"Oh my God you hit the nail on the head. Whenever someone says 'that's just the way they are' I say:"
" 'Yes, that's the point! Glad you noticed too! Now is it okey-doke for them to be jerks they have special jerk privileges? Or maybe they are just people and should treat everyone else as such?' " - notatrumpchump
"It depends on how it's said."
"People are the way that they are, and you shouldn't be surprised when they continue to be that way."
"This, obviously, doesn't excuse it - but people also shouldn't be surprised when a bad person continues to make bad decisions. Neither should we waste space in our minds being bothered by it." - unlawfulfoxy
Harassment Isn't Humorseason 2 lol GIF by ShamelessGiphy
" 'It's just a joke, bro.' Harassing people isn't humor." - loading__99
"A guy who says/does offensive things and decides whether he was joking based on the reaction of people around him." - Eatsleeptren
"Dude, legit had someone come up to me and start shouting in my face, calling me Madison, pretending I was cheating on him. Literally the most crowded location outside a theater, everyone staring at us, looking at me like I was some horrible cheater while I was out with my then fiancé."
"I started hyperventilating, my fiancé nearly decked the dude, and then someone shouts 'CUT' like this is some big 'YOU'RE ON CANDID CAMERA' moment and everything's supposed to be okay."
"I burst into tears."
"It was the most humiliating moment of my life, and thank god my then fiancé, now husband is not the type to overreact or jump to conclusions, or be abusive. Imagine how bad that could have been for someone with an angry or abusive partner."
"Prank videos are a plague on the internet and there is a REASON so many of them are fake, or involve actors." - Darkovika
Stay Sober, Then!Drunk Drinking Beer GIFGiphy
" 'I was drunk / high / etc.' "
"Then don't drink?! Stay sober if you can't NOT be an a**hole!" - BasedBenjamin
"Alternately, I hear a lot of 'I'm a happy drunk!' "
"Yeah, according to your drunk a$s. That doesn't mean you're not an ahole. Not remembering is not an excuse either." - PepeBabinski
"I was also loud, obnoxious, and I wouldn't remember sh*t the next day."
"Quitting drinking has been one of my best choices of my life." - TTungsteNN
"Help"new girl coach GIFGiphy
" 'I'm just trying to help you' " - Miserable-Air1234
"Every time I've heard this, they're manipulating me while helping only themselves." - mykittenfarts
"My Mom to a T. Everything she does is better than anyone else's and she always gets pissed that people don't praise her for 'helping.' "
"She's now a certified (by herself) psychic and I have come to the conclusion that she's not a covert narcissist but an obvious one. I really wish I was joking." - Silent_Discussion657
Parenting ProblemsLeave Me Alone Run GIF by TLC EuropeGiphy
"Any variation of 'I'm a Mother/parent.' "
"Had some lady cut me in line at a coffee shop and she hit me with 'I'm a single Mom of 3!' as her excuse."
"Ok? And? I was still here first." - maid-for-hire
"I'm a single mom and I f*cking haaaate when other single moms/parents pull that sh*t to get special treatment."
"Last week, I was having a rough morning, my kid was being difficult, and I was running late. I was rude to a cashier over a minor inconvenience."
"Not only did I apologize for my shitty behavior, I wrote corporate to let them know how professional and patient she was while I acted like a f*cking toddler."
"Was being a parent part of the reason I was frustrated? Absolutely. Was it an excuse for that behavior? HELL no."
"I acted like a b*tch, and I called myself out, and I apologized. I still feel bad about that - I rarely let things get to me to the point I snap at others." - ClusterfckyShtshow
"Wow. I'm a Mom as well and tired but it doesn't give anyone a right to use it as some sort of ploy to get away with stuff."
"Like, mice become Moms about 12 times a year. You're not special 🤣" - SpoonLoops
Believing Your BossThe Office Monday GIF by 20th Century Fox Home EntertainmentGiphy
"I had a boss say some really racist sh*t around me one day and the next day, out of nowhere, he says:"
" 'Don't believe half the things that come out of my mouth!' "
"It was not really an excuse, more like trying to cover for himself after the fact, but still stuck with me." - sirlongbottom441
"Report them to HR. Seriously." - kokichi--ouma
"Looking past the racist stuff for a bit, that's not a very encouraging thing to hear from a boss…" - WonderfulBlackberry9
Bad Day AgainBad Day Reaction GIF by Schitt's CreekGiphy
" 'I'm having a bad day/week' "
"Okay, so you decide everybody that you interact with deserves the same fate? Get out of here, dude." - myordinaryexistence
"We all got stress, don't take it out on me. I get some people have stress bad enough for it to be passable every once and a while (family member passing, etc) but general, stress should not lead to you being a jerk to me." - willsimpforfree
"Damn, I'm definitely guilty of this. Usually I remember to apologize after but at this point I've learned to just avoid the situation in the first place by minimizing my interaction with people if I'm in a shitty mood." - nozzzrul
"Reminds me of when that White boy went on a murder rampage and killed a bunch of Asian women & that a-hole sheriff gave a press conference telling the media that the 'poor boy had a bad day.' "
"My idea of a bad day involves going home after a rough day at work and just staying in the house."
"Apparently, I should change my ethnicity from Asian to White and go on a murder rampage, see if my @ss gets a sympathetic sheriff to say on my behalf that I had 'a bad day.' " - kingkazul400
It's Not An ExcuseSeason 2 Reaction GIF by FriendsGiphy
"This won't go down well, but using depression as an excuse. As someone who suffers from it, it's still not ok to treat others like sh*t" - Rainbowwallstickers
"Could not agree enough. My partner has a 'friend' who treats everyone like sh*t all the time, has no consideration for others and openly mocks people in public."
"She gets so much grace from those around her under the guise of her 'mental health.' It's so infuriating watching an adult woman never have to take responsibility for her actions." - 34boor
"I get there are some things you can't control, but you are still responsible for keeping that sh*t in check and if you're aware of your mental illness, you should be aware of how you approach people and situations."
"I'll admit I used to be guilty of using my mental illness to be an @ss, but now I'm trying to better myself" - VeeSquibbles
Florida Gonna FloridaLooney Tunes Florida GIFGiphy
"People are letting Florida off the hook way too damn much. And I live in Florida."
"Just because it's hilarious doesn't mean it isn't still completely f*cked up." - AlphaWhiskeyOscar
"The phrase 'Florida Man' is almost always followed some heinous way a Floridian is being an a$$hole." - PepeBabinski
"I'm also originally from Florida, and that state has serious problems. We need to pay attention to it." - [Reddit]
Moment of honesty ... as a Floridian ... yeaaaah, I'm gonna have to agree with that last one.
We live in a time where we are critically re-examining how we pay workers. After a two-year-long pandemic where some low-income and "unskilled" jobs were deemed "essential," we now must put our money where our mouth is.
For too long in the world have incredibly important jobs been overlooked or else outright maligned. Teachers in the USA make some of the least money, career-wise, and have some of the hardest jobs. Dancers pay to put their bodies through hell with no guarantee of paid work after training.
So how do we fix this problem? By naming it, of course.
Redditor u/NightReader5 asked:
"What professions are severely underpaid?"
Here were some of those answers.
Our Elderly Deserve Better
"I worked as a CNA in a nursing home and I loved it. It's such hard work for such little pay and that's why I had to leave."
"Not only that but I was a rare person in that I LOVED caring for the residents. Nothing was beneath me such as changing a dirty diaper or spoon feeding."
"Everything helped their quality of life. Sucks they can't keep people that genuinely enjoy it cause I couldn't make over $10 an hour."-Dancer9d9
"Came here to say this: Emergency Medical Technicians. I will never not be just a bit salty about this."
"My husband is one of those people who does this job because it's his passion and he loves helping people."
"It would be nice if he earned more than the kid who just got hired at McDonald's this morning."-ThePotterheadHobbit
High School Bathrooms....
"The janitors at my high school. I walked in the men's bathroom there once and there was a mega-giant steaming pile of crap and diarrhea right in the middle of the floor."-satanic-sex-god
"Anyhow. Are you sure that was a high school? We're talking grades 9-12 here, right?"-VoicedVelarNasal
"Unfortunately yes. Other highlights of my oh so great high school men's bathroom that contains teenagers from 14 to as old as 20 are:"
"A dude bringing a sledgehammer to school and smashing a sink, the toilets being blown up, the toilets being frequently clogged with trash..."
"Smashed beer bottle glass covering the floor, and a centimeter of pee flooding the bathroom whenever you walk in. I hate it here."-satanic-sex-god
You know immediately YOU might not want to do this job--so why is someone else getting paid next to nothing to do it?
The More You Help Others The Less You Get Paid
"Statistically speaking, any job that provides significant social benefit to others, the less you will get paid, something that David Graeber discusses in essays and his work, Bullsh*t Jobs."
"This is so sad. I'm currently in a job that pays very well, I just dont find any meaning or fulfillment with it. I want so badly to do something where I'd be helping others- something with purpose- but I honestly dont think I can afford it."-mko0njo9
"Social workers. Dealing with negligent, abusive parents while trying to help the children while in an underfunded, low-paid system is a travesty."-ZRX1200R
"Can also confirm. I like working with my family's but I don't get paid enough to deal with their crap or most of the bureaucracy."-Altowhovian93
Minimum Wage To Go Against FIRE
"Entry level wildland firefighters. They start them at $15 an hour."-NuclearEyedSquirrel
"I live in a small town in Ohio and I think the lowest starting wage I've seen was 11."
"That's the low side and those places are having trouble hiring because there's so many places paying higher. McDonald's here starts at 13 or 14 an hour."-rjoh4459
One Kid, One Para
"Paraprofessionals. Yea, my town increased the pay rate for paraprofessionals to get more people to apply since they have a shortage but the pay increase was not that good IMO."
"For that job, I think you need to be compensated for the physical and mental demands of the job."
"It's a hard job and they should be paid for the work, the pay rate in my community for the job with 60 credits is $14.50 but I think it should be more than that."-YourQueen2Bee
The question then becomes, why won't the people who HAVE money do something to help the quality of these jobs, and make sure that these people get paid?
"Everything in veterinary medicine. Kennel technicians, Veterinary assistants, Veterinary technicians, Veterinary receptionists, and Veterinarians."-aIsiduous
"Veterinary interns/residents, too. I work 70-120hrs+ per week, am on call about half the days per month, have to pay for my own board exams and accreditation fees out of pocket, and all for ~$33,000 per year."-WyrdHarper
"It's bullsh*t. There's nothing on this planet I want to do more than be a veterinarian, but I simply cannot afford the debt. Hopefully one day we'll get the recognition deserved. Stick in there, I know you got this!"--aIsiduous
In The Classroom
"I work in a special school, I love it but I really don't think we get paid enough for all the times we get yelled at, punched, kicked, bit, spat on, cursed at, have our classrooms trashed, have things thrown at us..."
"And then we also have parents making demands and admin telling us their 'simple' solutions to all of it that we have to carry out while they have zero clue on what it's actually like to spend a day in the classroom."-Sajiri
A Morbid State Of Affairs
"Funeral directors/embalmers/funeral professionals. We didn't get days or holidays off to begin with. Now the pandemic has stretched us to working double overtime, which we are exempt from getting paid for under Florida statutes."
"And forget hazard pay for being exposed to COVID multiple times a day every day via the deceased, the deceased's family members, the general public attending funerals, and the hospital/nursing facilities we remove decedents from."-Lesscute
So why are we holding off on giving these people a raise? Their jobs involve dangerous, mentally and emotionally taxing situations, and yet, we treat them as if society could function without them. The truth is it couldn't.
And society had best learn that as soon as possible.
What causes a small town to die?
Honestly, there can be quite a few factors, but perhaps the biggest one is that small towns often lack the upward mobility opportunities that are more available in urban areas.
As a result, many towns around the United States for instance have lost tens of millions of people as their populations seek jobs and opportunities elsewhere.
And what remains of these places can be pretty sketchy.
People told us more after Redditor RadicalizedSnackWrap asked the online community,
"What's a super sketchy US city that we never hear about?"
"Daytona Beach, FL. Imagine a bunch of alcoholic high school kids who came for spring break in 1984, and never left, and never grew up."
Oh, I don't have to imagine it.
I've seen it!
I lived in a neighboring town for a while and bodies would always turn up in farmer's fields that the cartel in Yakima had dropped off there."
Sounds like Netflix needs to get its hands on Yakima, a new show to go against Ozark.
"I remember a story..."
"Guntersville, Alabama. If I were to ballpark it, over 80% of the population are meth addicts and traffickers.
I remember a story where a man walked into the Walmart, took all the supplies and equipment required to cook, and proceeded to cook meth in the bathroom."
"A run-down town..."
"Reading, PA. A run-down town that is mostly used as a central point to run drugs between New York and Philly."
I am writing this from right nearby actually, and I can smell it from here.
"Small town almost entirely..."
"Butte, Montana. Small town almost entirely comprised of violent meth heads."
"More of a town than a city..."
More of a town than a city, but it's such a weird place, bordering on Twilight Zone. You'll see a meth house right next to a youth theatre."
According to a friend I have who spent a lot of time in Arizona, this sounds about right.
"Used to have..."
"Gary, Indiana. Used to have a prosperous steel economy, but now it's just home to abandoned buildings, failing infrastructure, and lots and lots of crime. Just look up pictures."
"I always said..."
"Amityville. Yes, that Amityville.
I always said the "Amityville Horror" house is for amateurs. You want something scary, put on a nice watch or a gold chain and wander around downtown Amityville after dark."
I went there once.
I have not been back.
"It looks harmless..."
"Harrisburg PA. It looks harmless and maybe a little boring but holy hell that place is a giant puddle of corruption just waiting for someone to step in it. Not just state government, there's a bunch of layers you can use to crawl up the corruption ladder."
"Used to be..."
"Natchez, Mississippi. Use to be the headquarters for the KKK. Not much there besides crackheads, plantation homes, and European tourists. Don't own a nice place if you're black, you'll be stopped by the police and questioned."
It doesn't look any of these are changing anytime soon, and that's sad.
Have some small towns to tell us about? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.