People Share Personal Stories Of Going From Rock Bottom To Turning Everything Around.
Successful people on Reddit were asked: "What was your lowest point before success?" These are some of the most insightful answers.
2/24 Sitting in a jail cell while clenching a bag of Molly (MDMA) between my cheeks, all over a "marijuana burning in public view" charge. A similar incident occurred 6 months prior.
10 years later, I've graduated with honors in two degrees, completed a clinical externship at an Ivy League Medical Campus and am now planning a life with the most amazing woman (an advanced practice health practitioner with a likewise similar unsavory background).
3/24 I had to work two jobs, roughly 75-80 hours a week to make a third less money than what I'm earning now at one job. The two jobs were an entry level position in business, and a sales position in retail. I'm currently a creative project manager for a large company.
I suggest reading The Rules of Work, and They Don't Teach Corporate in College. Both are excellent books about how to get the most out of your career.
Two words of advice for young people starting out their careers: Stay hungry. This advice is mostly for those in business. Give yourself 18 months at your first career job. If you're not exponentially learning new career building job skills, find a new job by 2 years.
4/24 I nearly failed multiple key courses in college that I needed for my engineering degree. While the rest of my classmates either sailed through with minimal neuroses or dropped the major altogether, I was sobbing on the dormitory floor amidst a pile of textbooks (literally--this was my lowest precise moment) and fending off my parents' and friends' solicitous intimations that maybe I just wasn't cut out for it. Instead, I dropped and later re-took the classes I couldn't salvage, scraped my grades up to a C in the classes I could, and clung to the hope that real-life engineering wasn't going to be a series of multiple-choice tests.
5 years out of school and I'm working at the top engineering company in my field and sitting on enough stock to buy a house in California. Turns out creativity and tenacity in the face of failure will stand you in MUCH better stead in real life than getting lots of A's in school.
5/24 When I was 19, I was making just enough to pay rent but not actually feed myself. Ate out of dumpsters or would take food off of plates outside of restaurant patios as I walked by. Couldn't afford cigarettes, so I'd pick up half-smoked cigarettes and smoke those. I was also a raging alcoholic and a drug addict, because it turns out that people will totally get you [messed] up for free but they won't give you money to buy food.
It's been almost a decade but I'm in such a completely different place now; making decent money (over $75k/year) and have my own apartment with no roommates, so it's no-pants-city as soon as I walk through the door.
6/24 Had a 1v1 with a 66 of Gibson's whisky. I locked myself in the bathroom and kept drinking that whole damn thing by myself. It was a showdown. I knew I had a problem, so for some reason I wanted to finish that damn bottle and be done with it. I was talking on the phone with my sister and she was getting upset. It was then I realized how my alcoholic ways wasn't only affecting me, but my family too.
I quit drinking, moved back home, and applied for a communications program with a tough entry screening process. I worked my [butt] off for 6 months, stayed sober, and wouldn't you know it, I got accepted. It was two years ago I was in that bathroom, drinking that whisky straight. I'm halfway through my 2nd year of college. You can do anything if you set your mind to it. Don't know if you consider that success. I think I'm on the right track.
7/24 I was a heroine addict nearly dead 120 lbs and I'm 5 9. Today I own rather successful marketing's company as well as a few other things and let me tell you what you put in is what you get out. Live life and keep at it. I still have no friends locally just a lot of money. No it hasn't brought me happiness.
8/24 The year is 2008, and an optimistic young Articulated has just left university, with high hopes and dreams for the future. He has primed his CV (resum), and sent it round to all the employers that would get him the first rung on the ladder of his dream career. He got the grades, he had the work experience, he'd rehearsed his interview technique. He was READY! Then the Credit Crunch happened.
All the graduate employers shut their doors. There was no new hiring going on. No one got back to me. No graduate jobs. No chance. So I did the only thing I could do - moved back in with mum and put my CV in everywhere that I could. There was no response from any graduate employers, but I would do absolutely anything at this stage.
I picked up various industrial jobs, because they were the only jobs going. I packed meat into meat pies, fed plaster and water into a hopper to make modelling clay for 12 hours a day, stood in front of the oven in an industrial bakery in 300-degree heat with 3 layers of protective clothing. I packed books into boxes, and I sealed envelopes, and I washed dishes in a holiday park. I was a housekeeper at a hotel and I made rocker shafts on a lathe in a motorbike factory. The hours were long, and the pay was crap, but I was working, and taking a measure of pride in the fact that, despite the recession, I was a contributing member of society. I knew things were crap, but that they would improve. Then the industrial laundry happened.
This place services the local NHS Trusts and Nursing Homes. So as you can imagine, the type of laundry we have to deal with is in a fairly nasty state. Piss, [poop], blood, vomit, all of it needed to be washed.
My first job at the laundry was on sorting. This involved standing in front of a conveyor belt full of the foulest bedsheets and medical gowns, and throwing them into the correct basket so they can be washed at the correct setting (one basket for whites, one for coloured washes etc). Also bear in mind that this was summer, and some of this laundry had been sitting in the back of a lorry for upwards of 24 hours by the time we got to it. I had to ASK to get gloves. They got me the crap plastic disposable ones that don't protect your hands from anything. I should note at this point, that some stuff came back in such a bad state, that it was wrapped in a red carrier bag with the words "INCINERATE ONLY" stamped on it. Nasty stuff, but I have a strong stomach, so I persevered.
Then there was the production line, where you would take the clean sheets/pillowcases etc, and put them into the folding machine, so they could be ironed and packed. It was at least clean, but the boredom factor was almost too much. It was soul-destroying. I felt stupider with every shift I finished, as my brain just atrophied from underuse. But that job wasn't even the worst. That honour belongs to the Maintenance Engineer job I got at that hellhole.
Picture, if you will, an industrial-sized tumble dryer. One where the drum is just big enough for a human to scrunch himself up and clamber inside. Yep, I had to get inside these sweltering hot dryers, for 12 hours a day.
Why, you ask? Well, remember those red bags that I told you about? The ones with laundry so foul it's only fit purpose is to be burnt to ash? Not all of them get burned. Some of them make it through. Some of them weld themselves to the inside of the tumble dryer. And someone needs to go in with a hammer and chisel and get that [stuff] off.
THAT, was the absolute nadir of my working life. I spent SIX. MONTHS. at that [place], doing all kinds of [crap] jobs. Some of them bad, some of the merely poor. But NOTHING compares to the feeling when you're trapped in the drum of a tumble dryer, with nothing but a hammer and chisel, a torch, and dozens of adult nappies, ultra-soiled sheets and god-knows-what-else in little liquid-filled pockets of doom. That was the first time I ever questioned myself. I remember sitting outside, having a cigarette thinking to myself "Is this it? All the struggle, all the academia. All the late nights and study jams. All those 3am crunch sessions in the library. The 20 grand I spent getting a degree...for this? Is this really all I'm worth?"
I nearly called it quits. I nearly didn't make it out the other side. But luckily I kept my head down and kept applying for jobs. In the end I got lucky and got an interview for an admin assistant job at a Careers Advice centre. The agent told me there were over 300 applicants for that one job.
In the interview, the lady asked me why I had done so many random and horrible-sounding jobs. I told her that my friends who did not take the [crap] jobs are now unemployable, because they have been sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, while I have been learning new skills and building character this whole time. I was hired on the spot - 40 other people didn't even get an interview, they told me later.
From that job, I moved to an insurance company where I started making the teas, and I worked my way up to an SME role (Subject Matter Expert for those who don't speak corporate) in the space of two years. The words "perseverance" and "grit" get mentioned a lot in my performance reviews. If it's crunch time, they knew that I could stomach the extra hours without a grumble. If there was a problem, they knew that my wide range of experience meant I had a knack for thinking on my feet and adapting to new workloads. Currently, I am still doing SME work, but I am doing it as a self-employed contractor. Last month I paid myself 3000 after tax.
Moral of the story: TAKE THE JOB. If you are unemployed, any job is better than no job. I would never have got that admin assistant job if I had not busted my [butt] making a name for myself at the employment agency in their industrial jobs. Chiselling out the inside of an industrial tumble dryer got me a high paying job in insurance.
9/24 Was making $60k a year, ran in to trouble with shady contractor stealing $40k from me and running off. Was 2 months from bankruptcy and had $97k in debt.
Worked it out, no debt, own my own company now, married to a doctor. My life could have been much, much different.
10/24 Success is always going to be determined by others to some respect; we all have an inherent temptation to determine our own success by comparing the success of others.
Two years ago, I was living in a [terrible] apartment in the ghetto because I was in love with a foreign man that lied to me for the two years prior to that about having a wife. I tried to work things out. For a long time, I was prone to [bad] relationships for a number of reasons, and I definitely was suffering from some bodily health and mental health issues. It ended with him abandoning me to go to another country (I was supposed to wait for him) to simultaneously witness the birth of his son and leave his wife (remember kids---had a lot of issues). I [messed] around with an ex while working as a waitress despite the fact I had a college degree (graduated right at the height of the recession). Everyone thought I was a [jerk], and most of them didn't know the whole story.
So, my lowest point was realizing I was abandoned, that good intentions meant nothing, and I was living in a ghetto, practically starving in the dead of winter because I had a really [skewed] idea of love, romance, and an seemingly insurmountable sense of pride. And I had a best friend--we had been [sex] buddies in college and always kept in touch--and I convinced him to visit me. I moved in with him four months later a state away.
My success now? A two-year relationship with my best friend and a wonderful man, a solid job that I've received two promotions in, the prospect of our own house, and I'm considering opening a restaurant of my own. I still wait tables, but make almost 30k more now and work for wonderful people that offer us benefits.
11/24 Lowest moment was sleeping in a park when freezing outside and getting pregnant in my teens. Discovering that changed me completely. I got away from the low life's I was hanging out with, found a house, enrolled in study and now got a job that can lead to a career. Not great money but I'm supporting my child without anyone's help, paying the bills and feeding us. I drive a pretty good and reliable car, am not late in my payments and kiddo wants for nothing. To me, that's success.
12/24 When youre a little kid, all you want to do is be taken care of. Lunches packed, stroller rides, bandaids. As you grow older, you want to be free, yet the teenage idea of independence is something you want until the bill comes. Funny enough, when you reach a certain age you want to pay your bills. The satisfaction of supporting yourself completely is something most of us strive for, even the ones who had the longest Christmas list.
I hadnt 100% reached my goal of achieving financial independence, but I was getting there. I was paying my rent, paying my bills, and had finally secured medical insurance before my impending 26th birthday. I was coming off one of the best weeks of my life: Maid of Honor in one of my best friends wedding, my parents were in town, I had bought my first car the whole thing seems almost cliche. When my parents said goodbye that Sunday they told me how proud of me they were and I drove back to my house with a heart that felt just about full.
Monday afternoon I was laid off. I loved my job and I did a good job, hell I had even been an unpaid intern for 3 months prior to landing my jobbut In the entry-level real world, youre often only as good as the next person (with more experience). That moment was one of the darkest moments of my life. As soon as the elevator doors closed I lowered my chin from my attempt at holding it high and began walking towards my suddenly very expensive looking brand new car. What the *&@% am I going to do?
When you are 25, most of the time, you dont need to be taken care of. That moment, all I wanted was my parents. The day before I had looked upon the Portland skyline lovingly; that afternoon some of my first words into the phone were about giving up and heading back to California. The voice on the other end said Abby, we are so proud of you. I dont think my Dad will ever know just how deep the exhale was after I heard that.
I was preparing to go backwards, to ask for help, pick myself up. My family and friends were nothing short of legendary helping me wade out from under the bad news. People seemed to come out of the woodwork with thoughtful messages, lunch dates, hiking trips, dog-sitting jobs, friends-of-friends who were hiring, pizzas magically appearing in my freezer, tickets to shows, white-water rafting trips..seriously. In my lowest of lows, I was still going to bed happy.
Despite all of the love and support one can receive from their family and friends, in the end, the only person who decides whether or not youre happy is yourself. I am still waking up upset. My body still flutters awake at 7am despite the now absent alarm. Reality sets in like a slow moving fog. Two other people were laid off at my old office the same day as I was, except one of those people had two children and a wife at home. I remind myself of how it could be worse, a lot worse. This isnt the first [crappy] situation Ive faced and it damn sure wont be the last, but for me, this one is different.
At 25, we either take care of ourselves, or we dont. More and more in our generation, those of us who cant become those who dont. Help from our parents is often available, whether it be a place to live or a check to cash. At my age, all I want to ask from my parents is a hug and whether or not they want steak or lobster (my treat). That dream was a long way from reality even with my first real job, but it has never seemed further away.
I dont want to start over, I dont want to need help, but more than both of those things, I dont want to sink into a place where I will have to be asking for the rest of my life. This is a breaking point, one of those poignant examples in life where one can either take the red pill or the blue. You must choose wisely. If Harry Potter himself offers you the cloak of invisibility you mustnt take it. Ive been reading every positive mantra, every hang in there quote known to man, and I still have to say that this period in you life can be extremely trying (in fact reading all of that may just make it worse). None the less, it means Im alive.
This is not the time when I figure it all out, its the time when I keep going. Right now, forward is enough. Backwards mind means a backwards path. Move on. When I was little, my Mom put a bandaid on to help me heal. When you get older, you realize its not sensible to stick a bandaid on your heart. Despite everything else, I am still able to walk on my own two feet. Now all that is left to do is readjust my chin to the upright position.
13/24 Watching my alcoholic, coke-snorting mom stab my alcoholic, coke-shooting dad in the back with a thirteen inch kitchen knife when I was seven years old (he survived long enough to crack her head open with a hammer on a different occasion, earning a four-year ticket to prison) and the [crap] that followed in the intervening years. I got my first job at sixteen, saved up enough to leave when I turned seventeen less than a year later. It's pretty much been easy-mode ever since.
14/24 Lowest point: working the graveyard shift at a gas station for minimum wage (4.25$/hr back in1994). Company does not offer any discount on anything sold at the "quickymart". No restrictions on what is in the trash of course. Find myself one morning at 5 eating expired burgers - [crappy] to begin with even when still legal to sell - in the dumpster behind said gas station, hiding from customers. Decide right there and then that I needed to switch my life around. Best motivation ever
15/24 13 years ago I was sitting alone in an armory in the basement of a U.S. Army barracks, [drunk] on Jim Beam and putting about 4 lbs. of pressure on a 5 lb. trigger of a loaded, chambered and cocked Beretta M9 that was residing in my mouth. CLP tastes very, very bad, btw. I was being formally investigated for the loss of some very sensitive equipment that I had nothing whatsoever to do with, but it was looking like they were going to railroad me anyway, and that would mean a felony, Leavenworth, dishonourable discharge and little prospect for a future afterwards. And also, my fiance was trying very hard to sleep with another man, and not being particularly sly about it.
I was pretty much ready to declare life a failed experiment. Why am still here? I don't know. For whatever reason I didn't do it, and with the help a a wise old supply Sgt. I managed to prove my innocence. I got the hell out of the Army at the end of my 3 years.
Since then I have learned that the Army wasn't universally [terrible], and that luck plays a huge role in your experience of it (I later served a stint in the National Guard full of good leadership, great comrades, and had a very good time of it.) I eventually realized that you just have to roll with the bad, discarding it when you can, and be fiercely loyal to the good that comes your way.
13 years later I'm making more money than I need as a cop in my home town, married to an awesome hippy chick that rocks my world. My job can have its rough times, but ultimately beats the hell out of being stuck in an office and is a pretty varied and exciting way to put food on the table and pay the electric bill. I avoid drama and the people who foster it, and genuinely enjoy life nine days out of ten.
16/24 I've had two extremely low points. In 2004, my big brother, who had been ill for a couple of years with bipolar disorder, killed himself. I felt so low, I had seen him just a week prior and promised to call him every day, but I went on vacation and ended up just drinking and getting high with my friend, thinking that I'd be in touch with my bro soon enough. That turned out not to be the case.
I was in university at the time and was nearly thrown out after failing a lot of classes. I ended up graduating three years later after having written a petition to the dean and getting one of my professors to write me a letter of recommendation to accompany it.
Then in 2011 I was still smoking lots of pot, drinking, and now I was doing some coke as well. I felt like I was on top of the world, because I was making $130k/year working from home as a software developer. But I kept getting kicked out of bars, I had no real friends, my apartment was a mess, I never shaved, I got about 2-3 haircuts a year, I was having trouble with my boss at work... The real thing though, that I was unable to admit to myself, is that I didn't like who I was. I hated myself. I made up for it with cockiness and arrogance.
Then in September of that year I became psychotic. I thought people were taking videos of me masturbating and posting them on the internet. I thought that everyone in the city I lived in knew it, and that everyone was in on the joke. I thought there was spyware controlling the camera on my computer and that there were bugs and cameras in my apartment. I have an email from myself to myself from that period. It reads:
Subject: Whoever is watching
Please stop and tell me how you are doing this. Thanks.
On the 11th day of that month, I had been unable to sleep properly for days, I had been seeing a psychiatrist for something else (he thought I had OCD) and I told him what was going on and he tried to convince me it wasn't happening. But I still thought it was, and after taking one of the pills he gave me, seroquil, and smoking some more weed, I finally had had enough. I got a screwdriver and got up on a chair and was about to remove a light fixture on the ceiling to take the bugs out of it when I realized that I didn't know anything about electricity and that it might not be a safe idea.
So I called 911 and told them what was going on and asked them to send some cops to help me out. They took me to the hospital instead... For three weeks I stayed there.
Fast forward to today, two years later. I've just passed one year without any drugs other than cigarettes, coffee, and prescription medication. I am a small business owner and the people on the end of the last three contracts I've had (including one that is ongoing, to the tune of ~$100k a year) have no idea that I've had problems with mental health or with drugs and alcohol.
My psychiatrist jokes that they should hire me because I know and live their program so well. (I meditate 5+ times a week, I do cognitive behavioral therapy pretty much every night, and I recently started exercising.) I have friends. My relationship with my parents is much, much better. They will never have to live through another child committing suicide. And my cat really loves getting her litter box cleaned every morning. Plus, I'm just getting started...
17/24 In 2010, I was newly divorced, recovering from a second shoulder surgery, and my company approached me and said that I was not completing my work in a timely manner, so I can take a severance and "quit", or they will review me again 2 weeks after the offer expires and I will most likely be fired. (long story short, manager hated me and went over my VP's head to get me fired. VP fought back and was at least able to get me the severance.) From 2010 to 2011, I was out of work. I made 3 months of pay stretch until the beginning of December, and at that point, I was out of money. I got a lucky break though. Just 2 days before Christmas, I settled my worker's comp case (the reason for my surgeries to my shoulder, and most likely part of the reason to let me go), and got 10K. Unfortunately, being late on all my bills added a ton of fees, and in one shot, I paid 6k to get back to current. So 4K was all I had left, and in Feb., I had to stop paying everyone again.
It got right down to the wire for a while, even with money from my tax return, I was about "done". House was in foreclosure, and all I could do was pay water, gas, cable and power. Food was getting scarce. Things were getting [bad].
I had a friend that saw my plea on FB for anyone with a lead for a job to let me know. He asked for my resume in May. By the beginning of July, I hadn't heard anything, so I asked him about it. He was surprised I hadn't been contacted, and placed my resume in several managers' hands, and I got a call. Long story short, I landed a job...no, a career, that was paying 10K more than I was previously making. After that, I worked everything out with my bill collectors except Amex, (and I just settled with them a couple months ago) and now I am back on my feet in a big way.
And I know what it's like to be broke, but not destitute. I had a friend recently post that she was having an old pediasure for dinner, while her 2 kids were having cereal. I sent them a large pizza and a couple 2 liters of coke, and then took her to costco the next day and bought her close to $200 in groceries. She said she was very grateful but embarrassed. I explained I knew what what it's like to be that broke, and it is never easy to swallow your pride to accept help when you need it. Told her there is no shame in accepting help when you are out of options. She was out of work from a knee surgery. She doesn't make but a third what I do, and she has 2 kids to take care of, but being out of work means no money coming in. In almost any other time in my life, I would not have been able to buy someone groceries like I did for her without feeling a serious strain on my budget. For the first time, I could drop 200 and walk away without ever blinking. I have reached a milestone of financial success, and I got to pay it forward.
18/24 Living on 3.2 beer and homegrown weed while faking and cheating my way thru a technical PhD grad program. Passed my defense by scheduling it late on a Friday afternoon and serving the committee a strong pot of decaf French roast as part of the traditional "coffee and snacks". Three of the five were asleep for most of the defense so the questions at the end were general enough to answer with ease. Got a real job that was interesting enough to engage me for a few years and which prepared me to get me into an at-the-time top flight tech company. 22 years later I'm leading an R&D team at the same company, making enough to send 3 kids to US private colleges on cash flow and living the dream with house in the country.
19/24 I work in banking, am happily married, and have two post-secondary degrees. Two and a half years ago I was committed to a mental hospital after taking bad drugs and having a very public mental breakdown in what was then my dream job. I lost absolutely everything professionally and almost every friend I had, but not my wife. I thought of killing myself dozens of times per day to the point where it comforted me. I was flat broke and had no means of making money. I gained 30 pounds and stayed in bed all day, every day.
Whatever is ailing you can be overcome. Be honest with yourself and embrace the sadness, but not more than those that have stuck by your side. Get help if you need it, anonymously if you must. As my father said to me during these times, this too shall pass. Keep your head up and believe that better times are ahead. They are.
20/24 I was a meth addict and bike messenger in San Francisco. Sleeping on friend's couches and about one step from homelessness. I was educated and trained as a mechanical engineer but one thing led to another and I was on my last ropes. I took a Hail Mary job as an engineer on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. They were so desperate for people that they looked past my recent work experience there. The thing about this place is that it is impossible to bring drugs in cause you transit through Singapore. So I cleaned up. I worked my way up to Public Works Director in charge of over 500 people. Now I am doing well back in the states, don't drink or do drugs, make over $150 a year, and most importantly, have a wife I cherish. Successful? I hope so.
21/24 I didn't start college immediately after high school, wanted to be young and reckless. Skipped state, ended up living with a guy that had a job at first and then quit while I worked two (retail/food service) to pay his car note. He pawned my things. Left him. Didn't have a place to sleep for a couple of nights. Lost my job. Type 1 diabetic with no income and no health insurance; ended up in the hospital for ketoacidosis a couple of times.
Found a place to stay, picked up a job, met my husband on WoW. Living comfortably, finishing my bachelor's with two interviews lined up for PA school in November. It's nice to be comfortable.
22/24 Left college because I was heavily depressed, getting [bad] grades, and school just wasn't happening at that time. Worked in a crappy retail job, renting out a room in a sketch neighborhood from a family that, despite being reasonably nice to me personally, were rather trashy. Ultimately, got my brain in balance, got my school re-entry paperwork in order, moved back in with my parents, and went to school. Finished college, got a job in 2 weeks by connections and a small stroke of luck. Never looked back.
Not the most "down in the dumps" story but after having experienced true depression I can honestly say that I'm really glad it's in the past and that I will never forget what that was like. If you are experience depression, get help.
23/24 When I was starting middle school (in Slovenia that is when you're 15 years old) I didn't have anything. My parents divorced, mom in big debts, I could spent only 2 $ on lunch per day (sometimes even less).
Then I started learning web & android development and working on personal projects. Soon people have noticed me; I got scholarship, started working with some of the most successful IT companies in region and published my first Android app.
Now it's my last year at middle school, I'm 18 years old. I'm buying myself a new car and searching for an apartment in the capital of the country. My goal is to build a house by the age of 30 and there is no reason I couldn't achieve it. Well I should start working on my English.
My advice: If there is no job, create one.
24/24 I graduated from a top 20 university in 2006, just as the job market was starting to crash. I was interviewing everywhere, but nothing came through. I eventually took a job with a Cydcor company (basically a pyramid scheme) where you worked 60+ hours a week doing door-to-door sales for straight commission. We were selling Bellsouth phone services in primarily under-privileged neighborhoods, so needless to say, the money wasn't great.
I had to pay rent and car insurance and gas, and was fortunate to have a roommate who was very forgiving of late rent, and who would buy 'extra' apples and such and ask me to finish them because she bought too many. I rarely had money for food at all. I survived almost entirely off of 5 packs of Ramen noodles for $1, although if I did 'well' one week, I might splurge and get a McDonald's single off the dollar menu (and then make it last for 2 meals, just in case). If I could find a Sunday study (that was the only day I didn't work) I would volunteer for psychology studies at my college, because they'd usually pay $5 - $10 for your time. An extra $5 went a long way back then.
I worked that job for 8 months, until the branch I was with folded, and then I worked commission sales at a car dealership for another 6 months or so. I actually did a little better there, but it was still ridiculously long hours for no guarantee of pay, and there were still days when I'd have to steal gas from the lower lot at work, because otherwise I wouldn't make it to work.
Fast forward 5 years, I landed one desk job ($23.5k starting), then another one, went back to school on financial aid, got a Masters degree and am now the Director of Communications for a major health care non-profit in DC. I own a home in a nice area, have a healthy investment portfolio, and I've never forgotten how easy it is to slip through the cracks of society and end up nearly destitute.
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Whoops. That snip was just a hair too far....
Your first bad haircut probably made you want to die a little when you looked in the mirror. Imagine how the person cutting your hair must have felt. Although, maybe they didn't care at all, as evidenced by the bs excuse they gave you when you finished in the barber chair.