My daily routine is usually the same, wake up, go to work, do a lot of meetings, chat, email, code, sleep and repeat. Which means that I don’t have new things to talk about. However, since I decided to blog regularly, here’s a blast story from the past :-)

I grew up in Syria and it’s a cultural thing that we work from a very early age. I got my first job when I was 11 years old. During the summer I worked as a stonesetter, my salary was 200 Syrian Liras per week, back in the day that would be 4 US Dollars.

I loved that craft, looking deeply into the pins and understanding where the gems and diamonds would go, how to close the pins properly so it would sit there for years.

However, I also had a love for computers, I got interested when I was introduced to Unix, I wanted to use Aircrack-ng to hack the neighbor’s WiFi Access-Point so I get free internet access. Inet access was not only expensive, but you had to wait 6 to 12 months to get one. I got Slitaz Linux up and running, it included Aircrack-ng in it and cracked the network, I still remember the password, it was 11111222223 with WEP algorithm. Hrach, if you are reading this, I’m sorry that I never told you about it, but thanks to you I got into computers :-)

When I was 14 I had to deliver gold to a partner workshop, on the way, right at the beginning of Sulaymaniyah Street I noticed a large computer shop. Very beautiful, a lot of computers, laptops, hell, there was a gaming PC with 3 screens (That was the first time I saw a desktop with 3 screens!). After I delivered the gold, on my way back, I entered the shop, I got introduced to the owner. Turns out they were an official representative of companies like Dell, HP, Asus, etc.

I talked with the owner about some of my projects, that I was installing Linux machines in school and that I was trying to make a map with all access points in Aleppo with their passwords.

After 20-30 minutes of chit-chat, he offered me a job. I was supposed to 1) Format computers (as we used to say), that is installing a fresh OS and setting up software 2) Help the other employee to deploy networks at schools 3) Help customers buy new computers when they arrive.

I worked there for 3 months, I was getting paid 250 Syrian Liras per week, that is 5 USD back in the day, plus some bonuses every time I would sell a device or fix networking issues at the schools.

One day customers arrived (a man with his wife), they were having problems with a laptop that they owned, I fixed the issue on the spot and asked nothing in return. They asked if I could come and fix a similar issue on their desktop at home, I told them I would but I cannot right now as the owner is not here. I wanted to give them a business card to call us later but we were out of those, so I gave them my cellphone number.

An hour or so later the owner came back, I told him about what happened and went back to my room to fix an HP laptop that had a melted keyboard and I started blaming AMD for that :-)

The couple called, I told my boss, he told me “Okay, go to their place and fix it, don’t charge them anything”. So that’s what I did.

I came back to the office an hour later, the owner was sitting in front of his desk and told me to sit in front of him. Then he said, “Are you trying to steal my clients?”.

I got confused, I had no idea what is he talking about, “Sorry, what do you mean? I didn’t understand what are you implying”. He answered, “You gave them your cellphone number, so they start calling you and pay you instead of us. You’re fired”.

I didn’t know what to respond, I didn’t have those intentions, I was just doing my job.

I took my backpack and I left. I was crying the entire time, walking back home, listening to Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds' OST.

To make things worse, when I arrived at home my mother told me “Why are you so much into computers? It’s not that it even pays well, you know you have to study and graduate Pre-Secondary Education this year”, little did she know, that as of right now, I will not be paid at all while “doing computers”.

Years have passed and I moved to Armenia during the Syrian war. While working as a waiter for a year, I found an “Armenian Linux” and the company responsible for it, Turns out they were a huge software development company. I wrote a patch for the “splash screen”, I gave them the patch, on a USB drive.

The CEO of the company said “What are you doing next Monday?”, “I have to go to university” I replied, as I was an undergrad learning English and Communications. “Well, after the university you’re coming here, you’re hired”.

Oops, flashbacks, what am I supposed to do now?

I looked left and right, there were all these desktops running Linux, the engineers on the top floor were working on robotics, so I said “Deal!”.

I learned that day, that no matter how bad of an experience you get, the next time will probably be different. Unless it’s Windows, that thing always fails.

That’s all folks.