I received my first paycheck 26 years ago



When applying for a job, I'm tempted to write 26 years of experience in the tech field. The reality is I started even earlier, but 26 years ago is when I got my first paycheck.

I first encountered computers in 1992 when I was 5 years old. I became fascinated by them and would lurk in my father's office after school, waiting for him to finish his work so I could have a turn. I can't imagine how or why my father trusted a small child with such an expensive machine, but I am forever grateful.

Several times, I bricked the computer. The only solution was to reinstall Windows 3.11 from scratch. My father's files were carefully backed up on floppy disks. Every time I destroyed the computer, I learned something new. I learned about installing software, the importance of .ini files, making backups, MS Word and Excel, the hard drive, the optical drive, and everything in between.

A few years later, as computers were becoming even more popular, my father's office decided to install their own. They skipped hiring a technician and instead called on the one person they knew who could handle it—me.

It wasn't an official summons. I was playing outside with my friends, covered in dust and wearing flip-flops. "Hey kid, come here."

That was it. I installed the computers in every office, receiving no pay but plenty of thanks. My father was proud. He knew something they didn't: just because you have a computer doesn't mean you know how to use it.

It didn't take long for the Embassy to call my parents looking for me. On one of those calls, my mother joked about getting me a suit and tie so I could go to work, saying she would use my first paycheck to buy it. It wasn't a joke, of course—they had to pay me for my service. And that's how I got my first paycheck.

That was 26 years ago. If anything, I'm grateful. I'm grateful to my father, who put so much faith in me, and to my mother, who was the invisible hand negotiating on my behalf. Now, I have to turn around and put this faith in my children.