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How on Earth do you become a Chimney Sweep? #2

Aktualisiert: 23. Aug. 2023

Somehow, I still managed to get into a secondary school focusing on "programming." Since I spent all day playing computer games anyway, I might as well learn how to program them. It would be fun, and from what I had heard, programmers were paid well. The problem was that programming involved very complex material. The subject required thinking" outside the box" and demonstrating initiative and independence – qualities that had been systematically trained out of me over the past four years.

As I entered my teenage years, girls, parties, and hanging out became more interesting to me than the computer games I had previously been so engrossed in. I rarely showed up at school, if at all, and my final report card gave me a "failing" grade in every subject. After repeating the school year and failing again, my mother intervened and got me an apprenticeship as a chimney sweep.

So there I was, 16 years old and without a high school diploma, about to start my trial week as a chimney sweep. I vividly remember my first day: it was five forty-five A.M. on a hot summer day in June. The entrance gate of my new company loomed before me in Vienna's 8th district. It was precisely what I had always wanted to avoid. I didn't want to be a tradesman. I didn't want to have to get up early, be constantly exposed to wind and weather, do physically demanding work, and come home dirty from head to toe at the end of the day. But the trial period went well – the job seemed fine, and at the end of the week, I was invited to the boss's office. We engaged in some small talk and discussed my experiences at work so far. Eventually, he looked deep into my eyes and asked me in a calm but firm voice, "So? Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?" I stood there and couldn't help but smile. At the time, I didn't know why, but somehow, I couldn't resist. I said, "Yes, I think so" – and with that, a new chapter in my life began.

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