How Fixing Printers Challenged My Mental Health

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I moved out of the house and lived independently across the country as soon as I got an internship at one of the biggest marketing companies in California. My parents tried to coax me to work in New York instead, which was closer to home, but I reminded them that such opportunities might only knock once. Besides, I did not want to continue being a burden to them when I was already at a ripe age to start work. Their obligations with me already ended when I got my Marketing degree last fall.

Although I said I would be okay in LA, that was still not 100% true. I got the smallest apartment that I could find in the city since interns did not earn as much as regular employees. At night, I would work as a part-time bartender in a bar to have money for food and other bills. I did not bother to buy a car, which was the original plan – instead, I bought a bicycle and pedaled to and from work every day.

Despite those hardships, though, I stayed in LA and showed my bosses in the marketing company why they should give me a stable position. I finished my tasks faster than everyone; I studied the guidelines and followed the rules better than anyone. My hard work paid off when I was offered a junior marketer role two months before my internship ended. Then, another year later, the spot for a senior marketer opened, and I got the position, too. When I called my parents back home, they were ecstatic about it and said they had always known that I would realize my dreams.

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Moving To Parents’ Home Temporarily

After three years of working in California, the marketing company I worked for closed a deal with a multi-million-dollar tech company to promote their newest gadgets. Though the latter hired a different advertising company to shoot the commercials in New York, they wanted a representative from ours to go there and come up with marketing ideas for the campaign. And since my boss knew that that was my home, he naturally asked me to pack my bags and stay there for a month.

I told my parents via FaceTime that I would visit them because of work, and they were genuinely happy. However, when I said that I would stay at a hotel, my father waved his hand dismissively and said, “Nonsense – you have a home here. I will prepare it now.” Well, if your father talks like that, you cannot do much but agree, so I move to their house temporarily.

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I would say my decision was great because I got to eat Mom’s food again, but I did not miss the fact that my parents knew less about technology than a first-grader. When I needed to print some documents immediately, Dad pointed me to his office and said a printer was there, but he did not know if it was working.

The Battle With A Printer

As I entered the home office, I caught sight of the black, rectangular object on top of Dad’s filing cabinet immediately. I found out soon after that it was an Epson L120 – an old printer model. I told my father that I would buy a new one for him first thing in the morning, but he said it would be a waste of money. Instead, I should try to fix it, so that’s what I did.

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I hooked the printer to my laptop and realized that it was still working, but no letters appeared on the paper. A little research showed me that it could be because there was no more ink in the cartridges, or the ink dried in the nozzles and needed to be flushed out. I checked the cartridges and filled them up to the ideal level, and tried printing again, but to no avail. Hence, the issue was most likely the tubes.

I stared at the printer for a solid hour because I did not know how to dismantle it. When I read “flush out,” I instinctively assumed that I would need to take the tubes out and run them under the water. Worse, I might have to take them to a printer specialist. But as I browsed through the printer application on my laptop, I saw an option to clean the print head. When I clicked the button for that, the printer began to make sounds. I almost lost my mind while thinking about it, but apparently, it could clean itself!

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What I Gathered From The Experience

I understood that not every tech problem required the expertise of specialists. Like with my father’s printer, it could clean its tubes and print head without needing to take it apart. If I just read what’s on the computer instead of starting at the printer helplessly, I could have fixed the printer and printed my documents sooner.

The next day, I showed my father how to do the same thing so that he could continue using his Epson L120 for years to come.