A lifetime ago I had a job for a short period of time in a local computer repair shop. Whatever you've just imagined about this job is probably wrong. This computer repair shop existed in a sliver of a storefront wedged between two failing businesses. The staff consisted of a lady who owned the place, who spoke with a very thick Spanish accent. I don't know her country or origin, but what I do know is that English was not her first language.

A bit more context: This was in a town that touted it's bounds in diversity, also self segregated its various communities into the different areas of the town. That in and of itself is an interesting topic that I might write about in the future. Going against the grain that is the status quo of this community, the shop was set up in an area of town that was for being designated as a Hispanic area.

Just to clarify, the concept of "Hispanic Area", "Black Area", "White Area", etc. in this town went back several decades to the Civil Rights movement era. The town was a boiling pot for racial inclusion as well as racial conflict. Needless to say, it was quite an interesting area to grow up in. My point in saying this is, I did not come up with the terms for these areas.

So here I was, maybe 18 years old. My only real job prior to this was working in a restaurant as a "bus boy" as they are called (the person who clears  and sets the tabels for the guests). While I enjoyed the little bits of money coming in, I also felt like I was draining a part of me away. The part that wanted to be passionate about the work that I do. That being said, I decided to look for jobs elsewhere, in hopes to find somethign that jived with my passions a bit more.

The outcome of this quest was a job at Best Buy, which gave me the experience needed to later work for a technology company. But that's not what this entry is about.

This entry is about a man who's name I don't remember. Let's call him Javier, as that's what my memory recalls his name was, but again this was a lifetime ago and my memory is a bit hazy on the details.

This man was the power house workhorse of the computer repair shop. A customer would come in, and explain their issues to the woman who owned the store. That lady would then transalte the problem to Javier, and he would either say "yeah we can do it" or "nope, we can't do that". Javier was this companies secret weapons. This man did not speak a lick of english, and there were times when it was just myself and Javier in the shop. We would use google translate to communicate with eachother. While this meant that the depth of our relationship was somewhat limited, I feel like we got along pretty well within the limited scope that we could.

In the event that the customer brought in a repair that they could work on in shop, which was the majority of the time, Javier would take the computer to the back of the shop and begin working. How could you work on repairing technology when the vast majority of documentation is written in a language you do not undertand?

It's simple really. Youtube. One of the methods that Javier used to determine whether or not the computer could be fixed was, typing the model number of the device in youtube. If there was a video showing how to dissassemble and reassemble the device, he would give the green light. Without reliably knowing how to understand or speak English, he would put a video on, mute the audio, pop in some earphones, and get to work.

Laptop after laptop, phone after phone, desktop after desktop, printer after printer, this guy was just pumping out repaired devices. Each and every step along the way, he would reference the video, watch what is demonstrated, perform that step. Rinse, and repeat.

Some time ago this experience re-entered my mind. Sometimes it feels like you've bitten off more than you can chew in life. Sometimes imposter syndrome hits hard and you wonder if you're even qualified to do whatever it is you do.

But just remind yourself that those thoughts do no service to you. Javier surely felt like an imposter at times, living in a country whos language he did not understand, struggling to find understanding of a system through visual demonstration, etc. But he kept going. I have no idea where he is today, but I hope this man has found himself a place where he can lean into and embrace this incredible skill in a way that leads him to great successes.

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