We all make mistakes, either in our personal lives or at our jobs. Most times, it’s minor like forgetting to pick up the kids from soccer practice or giving a customer the wrong order. In a couple of days, it would soon be forgotten. However, that’s not always the case for some. These people share the biggest mess-up they’ve done that cost them BIG time. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
A Crashing Patient
“I am a respiratory therapist. Last year, I had a crashing patient (30 years old) that begged me to help her breathe and told me she had three kids at home. I put her on BiPAP (non-invasive ventilation) mode when the physician ordered CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure therapy) inappropriately; the difference is an extra level of pressure she most definitely needed.
Shortly later, we ended up needing to intubate her and put her on a ventilator. She was in bad shape, and inserting the breathing tube took an hour because she had weird anatomy (normally takes five minutes).
My boss who was a huge bully hated me and found out what I had done simply because I was honest and said I was trying to save her life. I was fired from my job of nine years, lost my pension, had medical insurance that cost almost nothing, and paid for five months until I found a new job. The staff there got a 17 percent raise after I left too. They also made sure I couldn’t get unemployment but I ultimately appealed with the state and won.
I’m making about seven hours per hour less now and paying hundreds more in health insurance. I saved someone’s life, but it was an expensive consequence. I lost a lot.”
He Had 20k at 16 Years Old, But Then Lost It All
“I started working at 12 and started an Edward Jones account to grow the money. I only worked eight to nine hours a week, so it wasn’t a ton of money, but the account grew to about 20k by the time I was 16. Also, when you’re a kid you have your parent be a ‘custodian of the account’ meaning at the end of the day, you have to go through them to access the money.
Anyway, when I was 16, my dad said he couldn’t pay the rent and we were going to be homeless. I asked him how much he needed and he said a little under a grand. So, not wanting to be homeless, he and I came to an agreement that I would loan him 1k from the account. Another key detail is, when the custodian wants to remove funds from the account, they still need to get the signature of the account holder (me).
After school, my dad brought this huge packet from Edward Jones and said, ‘Hey! you need to sign this. Thanks again, son! You’re helping out the family big time.’
Here’s where I messed up big time. Trusting my own dad, I didn’t read through the paperwork, I just signed it and went to my room. Two years later, my dad ran off abruptly to Texas with his girlfriend, leaving me stranded. It was okay though, I moved back in with mom and I started college. I visited my Edward Jones agent to strategize how to pull money from the account for school but to still have it show growth. He pulled up my account and the majority of the account was gone.
Confused, I asked, ‘What happened?’
He said, ‘Yeah, about two years ago, it looks like your dad pulled X amount out of the account.’
My dad took almost everything under the guise he was only taking 1k. If I would have read that paperwork, I would have seen that, but I trusted him and didn’t read it. Big mistake, but a lesson I’m glad I learned young. Never sign anything without reading everything first, and always open and read all your mail.
I never spoke to him again and he died last Spring. It wasn’t about the money I lost, it was about the principle of stealing from your own child and leaving him in the dust. It does bum me out we never reconciled, because we did have a lot of good times together too. But the fact is, it was on him to apologize and make things right, not me, and he never really tried to do so.”
His Boss Realized Something Didn’t Seem Right, But It Was Too Late – The Damage Was Already Done
“I got promoted to being a warehouse manager many years ago. Didn’t receive any training really because the person I was replacing was promoted to another position and they were trying to learn how to do that job while they were supposed to be teaching me how to do my new job.
At some point, we started to run low on a few key products that were more in demand, so I asked the guy who was supposed to be training me how much I should have in stock, then based my order on that. Well, they didn’t tell me there was an eight to nine week lead time on this, so now everything that was on order was essentially already spoken for and I’d had to place another order to maintain my stock for the warehouse. This happened multiple times and I never knew what the sales guys were selling/promising other customers as well as just taking items from my stock instead of waiting for their dedicated orders. It got messy. There weren’t really any systems in place.
Well, it got to the point where all of these backorders had started coming in, and we were heading into a slow point in the season. My boss eventually started asking why all these items weren’t put away in stock and why didn’t I have any room. This all led to him looking more closely at what was ordered and what was still in order. Turns out, I had ordered about 1.4 million dollars over what I should have. Basically, I cost a company 1.4 million dollars over-ordering stock because I wasn’t trained in how to do my job properly.
I didn’t get fired but got ‘demoted’ out of the warehouse. I was put back to installations. They never did let me live that down though.”
Of Course, Student Loan Debt
“I didn’t want to law school in the first place and should have dropped out in my first semester. I failed the bar twice, by less than five points each time. The second time was even less but I can’t remember, I think it was just under two points. And my state doesn’t allow appeals.
I am over 200k in debt and now stuck in a nonprofit job that has completely burned me out. I’ve been here over five years and gotten two promotions but the job is soul-sucking. Started having panic attacks after going back to the office in July. My boss just quit; I am sensing because of burnout and the culture of our organization. Now I’m being moved under someone who is extremely disorganized.
My department went back to remote work and I did get scouted for an interview for a position that would have a significant pay increase but they don’t qualify for my loan forgiveness program so I can’t take the job. I’m around four years away from loan forgiveness but even that’s a shot in the dark.
I want to take a break from work for a while but we can’t afford it.”
Car Maintenance Is Very Important
“I bought a house five years ago, and after the 20 percent down payment, I still had enough dosh to get a new roof, A/C, etc. So I decided to use 3.2k to get my car up to snuff and last me five more years (until I could justify going for a New/-ish replacement). The tires seemed ok, so I decided to wait until next month for new ones.
Two weeks later, I spun it on an on-ramp littered with state-spattered brush trimmings, crashed into a barrier, crushed the side, and shattered the entirety of the lower part of the engine with a support pylon. It cost 500 dollars to get it towed to a lot, then back to my house. I had no transportation, so I dropped just over 1,200 dollars into Uber and Lyft over the next month, getting to and from work, and trying to find a decent, used car. Eventually, I found a great deal on a well-maintained, manual trans pickup truck for 3k, then put another 1,200 dollars into it to make it really sound for the long run.
The totaled car sat in my driveway until I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I finally accepted 180 dollars to get it hauled away. So, all because I procrastinated on spending 500 dollars to get new sneakers on my car, I ended up with almost 9k less in my pocket.
First World Problems, I know, but I don’t quibble about getting new tires, now.”
A Day Trip To Greece Gone Wrong
“I was taking holiday by myself in Bodrum, Turkey and decided to do a day trip to Kos, Greece, which was a short ferry ride away. My goal for the day was to rent a moped and scoot around the island checking out ruins, eating in cafes, etc.
So I got off the ferry on Kos and there was a moped rental spot right there amidst all the tourist things. They took me to the actual rental shop where I would get the vehicle. I started filling out paperwork and I gave them my American driver’s license. They told me it was not the right kind of license to rent a moped but told me I could get a four-wheel ATV. Now maybe my license wasn’t the right type, I don’t really know, but what I did know was that I knew how to drive a moped with no problem. But, I didn’t know how to drive an ATV.
Yes, I am an American who never learned to drive a manual transmission. Nonetheless, I ended up getting an ATV, partly because I wanted to follow through on my plans and partly because of the assurances from the rental agency that it would be easy. I did a little test drive around the area, got the hang of it, and went off on my way.
I headed first to some ruins. I can’t remember what they were, but it was a massive complex. They were beautiful. I have a cool picture of all this moss and algae growing on a part of them that had a lot of water exposure. Then I headed off in another direction toward some other ruins. These ruins were up a mountain. There were brown road signs with an icon of a church that I was following. I was driving up the winding road to get there, stopping occasionally to take in spectacular views of the Aegean. Soon the paved road turned to dirt as I approached the summit. No problem, though. I was on an ATV. Signs of life were now few and far between, except for a sheep farm along the top, although there were no humans up there. Just sheep penned up. Since I was at the top I could see down to the sea at many angles. I also could not see a church anywhere for the life of me.
So I decided it was time to go back down the mountain, but wanting to take another route, I thought I would go down the other side of the mountain. There was a road, but it was earthen. And the mountainside was much steeper than the one I came upon. I was uncomfortable, so I was riding the brakes being very careful. Gravity was doing a lot of the work. And then, during my descent, I noticed a small ditch ahead of me. In a moment of clairvoyance, I divined that it wouldn’t go well, and I jumped off the ATV and rolled to the side. Sure enough, the vehicle rode into the ditch and flipped over. I would have been very injured if I didn’t hop off. Being alone, I was terrified.
At first, my adrenaline and I were focused on flipping the ATV upright. It was a heavy vehicle and a struggle. I actually can’t remember if I succeeded. I had a cell phone with me, but my service was poor due to my remote location. I called the police, but it was literally all Greek to me, and it was a strained conversation. I also couldn’t tell them where I was—I was a foreigner there on a day trip. All I knew, I was on top of a mountain near a bunch of sheep. It was no use.
Now I was also starting to freak out because I was on an island in Greece during my holiday in Turkey.
The next morning I needed to get on a flight to Istanbul and then from there back home. It was afternoon, and there were only so many ferries back to Bodrum. I had no idea how much time passed, but finally, I saw a little blue SUV driving down along a road at the bottom of the mountainside I was on. Since I was literally wearing a (mostly) white shirt, I took it off and started waving it, hoping the driver would see me. They did, and they turned to come up the road I was on. Phew!
There were two people in the car. Both Greek, only one with spotty English. Nonetheless, my situation was apparent so they started to help. The ATV was upright and fuel had spilled. It was dented and scratched everywhere. One of the guys got on the phone with the rental company and I could hear that the conversation was loud and angry. The poor guys were putting up with a lot from me.
They were tinkering with the engine and controls. Eventually, it started running, so we did a test drive. It only went in reverse. Despite everything that could be done with the tools at hand, it just wouldn’t go forward. So finally they got out a line and hooked the ATV to the back of their vehicle to tow it, with me sitting on it to steer, etc.
Eventually, we got back to the summit, drove past the sheep farm, and then started going down back to the paved road. It was there that some people from the rental company met us with a trailer. We loaded the ATV onto the trailer, and I got in the backseat of their car for a very quiet and awkward ride back to the office.
When we got back there, I got berated by the owner/manager. I don’t blame her, really. She was very upset about it all, especially that the situation disturbed her afternoon siesta, or whatever it’s called in Greece. The mechanic started looking at it and determined it needed extensive repair. The manager and I reviewed the paperwork and realized I decided not to opt for the insurance.
Exhausted, I settled the bill with my credit card (I think it was around 800 euros) and didn’t want to do anything else till the ferry came. I sat waiting under the tree that Hippocrates (supposedly) taught under and then got onto the last ferry of the day with my head hanging low.”
The Town Almost Went Bankrupt Because Of Him
“I was an engineering work term student on a construction site, supposed to direct the contractor as they installed a water main. But I had no idea what I was doing and it was after five pm, so no one from my company was reachable to call with questions.
The contractor encountered bedrock in the proposed route for the line and planned this short detour with a couple of extra pipe segments and elbows. I had a copy of their unit price table and they gave me the quantities, so it looked like it would only be an extra 3k to 5k to detour the line. We debated this for about an hour and a half as I tried to reach my boss (or anyone really) but eventually, I gave them the go-ahead to do it.
What I missed was that the contractor had jacked up their price for thrust blocks (concrete supports poured on bends in the pipe) for this very purpose. They were planning to squeeze more money out of the job and this was their perfect excuse.
It ended up costing this small town 60k. They more than doubled the cost of the project, which was devastating for a town with less than 1,500 people. It started a legal battle that dragged on for years and the town eventually lost, which cost them even more money.
It’s five years later and they are still suffering from this. Even though I blame my boss for putting me in that situation, but I was the one who made the mistake that nearly bankrupted a town.”
“I Was Rushed Into Buying A Car”
“I was rushed into buying a car. I bought a salvaged vehicle that looked like it was in great shape. It drove fine, and it was exactly what I needed at the time. About a month in, some frame damage was discovered that made it hard to steer, and there were no freakin airbags.
I tried to turn around and sell it once I found out, but I couldn’t in good conscience sell an unsafe vehicle to anyone. So I paid 7k to install new airbags and have a few other things done. Once the car was safe, I felt like I could stick with it a little longer, but then the transmission started leaking.
I had grown attached to the car by this time, so I figured I’d at least get an estimate on fixing the leak, even if it meant dropping the transmission. The mechanic gave me a call moments after I dropped it off to tell me he was worried that if he dropped the transmission he wouldn’t be able to put my car back together because the repairs on the car were so bad the transmission was essentially holding the whole front end together! Sold it for scrap and basically lost 15k total on that terrible purchase.”
His Risky Investments Almost Jeoparized His Marriage
“I tried messing with stocks out of boredom in 2020. I ended up getting into options and getting myself in a hole. Instead of accepting my losses, I continued to make more risky investments, if you can even call them that. Ended up losing about 20k or so over the course of eight months. I was engaged when I started getting into this and got married about halfway through and did all of this without my now wife’s knowledge.
We decided to start looking into buying a house and I had to come clean prior to applying for loans so I didn’t cause some long-lasting damage to us financially. It was a rough conversation and we ended up moving in with my in-laws as we tried to recoup my losses and buy a house down the road. It was definitely a tough stretch of life.
I even contemplated suicide and thought my marriage would be over before it even started. Thankfully, my wife had enough forgiveness to let me make things right. I strongly advise anyone in a similar situation to cut your losses and have difficult conversations sooner rather than later. We learned that in therapy.”
“I Paid 13k For The Worst Job Ever”
“I regret not doing more research into hiring a roofing contractor. I paid 13k for the worst job ever. The flashing messed up, rotten sheathing was not replaced, nails blew clear through the shingles, reused shingles when they started running low, water ran behind my siding, and there was no flashing around my chimney. It was a total disaster. They didn’t even clean up, they just left the old roof and nails strewn across my backyard and lawn. I pushed and pushed and the next thing I know, he disappeared and I had water running in my house.
My insurance guy refused to help and I had to hire an honest roofer and redo the entire job for another 13k. The second guy cut me a break since he knew I was in a bad spot.
Last I heard, my first contractor was banned from doing work for a few insurance companies, but he changed his name and moved to another city and state often. He would take the money, hire random migrant crews but not give them enough for material (shingles, caulk, flashing), and demand the jobs all be done in one day.”
Her Cleaning Wasn’t Up To Standard For The ‘American Idol’ VIPS
“When I was housekeeping manager at a former hotel, we got a last-minute notice that ‘American Idol’ was coming to our town, and all the VIPs were staying at our property. This was at the tail end of a 10-hour shift and I was told I needed to prep and get ready 12 more rooms for VIPs. It had to be spotless, full of amenities, brand new linens, etc.
My night housekeeper had called out and none of the higher-ups helped or even tried. Everyone went home at five, so around the 15-hour mark, I got fed up, hurried through them, and left since I was exhausted.
The hotel manager walked through the rooms before arrival and told me they were horrible. I explained my situation and he told me I cost the hotel 350k due to me not caring about the VIPs.
They didn’t fire me but asked me to resign. I was so furious so I just walked out.”