On Being a Disappointment for Pursuing What You Love

Nabil Alouani
6 min readAug 24, 2021
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

We hadn’t met in two years and I knew he wanted to talk. On the fourth day of my stay, he invited me into his study and I promised myself to keep calm. “It’s been four years since you graduated from college,” he said. “What exactly have you achieved?”

I’d rehearsed a hundred variations of this very conversation but he still caught me off guard. I fell silent, unspoken words playing in the back of my mind like a half-broken jukebox in an empty bar.

I’m no longer an engineer, dad. I write online now. It’s been a year and six days since I quit, but the whole thing started a while before that.

I’d found this crypto-trading platform and overnight, I’d made the easiest $50 of my life. As the days rolled by, $50 became $200 and $200 became $2,000 and I thought this was it. Financial Freedom, dad. Ever heard these magic words? They meant I could finally shake off my corporate shackles, and shake them off I did.

But of course, that’s when all hell broke loose.

Soon after I invested 90% of my savings, the payments stopped. A few sleepless nights and countless hours of digging later, I discovered the platform belonged to a Bitcoin mafia. “We are an organization,” they said and then they offered to hire me. Super lucrative job, dad, but also super illegal.

“We like you and we’d really hate to see another bad thing happen to you,” they added. “Do you understand, Nabil?”

I sure understand a threat when I hear one.


The temptation to keep fighting back haunted me but so did fear. I didn’t want to add “safety” and “sanity” to my loss record, being broke and jobless was bad enough. So I called it a day and moved on, one tear at a time.

My wounds are still fresh, but I’m already grateful to those fuckers. They got me to take a serious shot at writing. Sure, it’s hard and I still suck like a vacuum cleaner, but I enjoy the struggle. Besides, I started to make more than pennies.

Look dad, I even saved enough to fly across the Mediterranean sea and visit you. I don’t know if you can call that an achievement, but for me it’s the beginni—

Nabil Alouani

True masters are eternal students || 100% human-generated content || Engineer || Software & Data || Weekly Emails: https://nabilalouani.substack.com