Ours can be a very lonely profession. Especially if we live on our own or are tied to the home as parents or carers. And jobs that ping into our inbox at unexpected times can make us change our plans and batten down the hatches until we meet the deadline. Because we need the money, don’t want to disappoint the client or cannot find anyone else to take the work on for us. And perhaps also because we’ve become workaholics.
As wordsmiths, translators need to use language and terminology as correctly as they possibly can. And that’s why I believe we shouldn’t perpetuate the common misconception that it’s good to be “a little bit OCD”. Because it’s totally wrong to assume that being a super-organised person who pays attention to every detail and likes everything to be just so means you’re a bit OCD.
Sometimes life throws you a curveball and the unthinkable happens: a family member is struck with a long-term illness and you suddenly have to take on the role of carer. Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally draining and as time-consuming as looking after a baby, but often with none of the happy milestones marking a transition from one phase to another. Not only does caring take huge bites out of your available work time, it often does not put you in the frame of mind to focus when you finally do manage to sit down at your desk.
Giving up work entirely is not always a financially viable option for the family. In my case, I’ve had no choice but to cut down on my hours and learn to work smarter. Although my earnings have dropped by about 20% in the past two years I’ve been a carer, I reckon the time I spend translating, on admin and other work-related matters is 50% less. I now very rarely work in the evenings or at weekends and I certainly don’t always work a full day either during the week. My aim is to get back to the same level of earnings without increasing the number of my working hours. In this post I’d like to share a few of the ways I’ve managed to ensure that the unthinkable didn’t turn into a financial disaster for my family.
As I draw this series to a close and reflect on 2016, my overriding need and desire remain managing my time better so I can fit everything in: work, family and me-time. I’ve been struggling because family issues have swallowed up huge chunks of my time and look as if they will continue to require my attention for some months to come. Going forward, I’ll have to try to focus harder on what matters and get my priorities right by being more organised and ruthless because I haven’t always achieved everything I set out to do. On that note, I found this short TED Talk by Laura Vanderkam incredibly inspiring.
This is just a short post to wish all my readers a very
Happy New Year!
And to take a quick look back at the gold, silver and bronze posts on my blog in 2016.
I started this post on Christmas Eve after yet another busy month on both the work and home fronts left me with very little spare time to think about writing for the blog. I always find in hard in December to keep up with everything because of the added stress of buying Christmas presents. And Christmas Eve was no exception as I made a frantic dash for the shops only to discover that one of the gifts I wanted to get my husband from M&S was already cellophaned up with a lower price tag for the Boxing Day sales.
But I mustn’t get ahead of myself. This is a post about November. The month that saw Trump elected to the White House. After Brexit didn’t go the way I hoped, I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked. Although I know many think the same way I do, it is still hugely upsetting to see another side win that makes me fearful for the future, because the ramifications of the Brexit and Trump victories will undoubtedly be felt worldwide.
It’s nearly December now and here I am just getting around to writing about last month. Following weeks of working on one project after another, and being lucky enough for clients to agree to wait in the queue, I’m finally enjoying a bit of breathing space. Hopefully it won’t signal a famine period for me as I am only free because I couldn’t make the deadline for one largish project and didn’t fancy anything else I was offered.
I’m posting this rather late because October has been another busy month for me work- and family-wise. It’s also been quite hectic on the blog with the start of the revision survey results (do check them out if you haven’t already. I’ve included as many comments as I can to show the range of opinions on the topic) and more MA review posts (on Cardiff and Westminster).
In August I rediscovered what an exceptionally beautiful part of the world the Lake District is (we were blessed with sunshine throughout our stay, however). Now that Brexit has probably scuppered my plans of moving back to the Continent to retire near the lakes in northern Italy to be close to family, I might just end up in the Lake District instead.
Early July I had the immense good fortune to translate a short piece about Grace Jones who gave us one of my all-time favourite songs: ‘Slave to the Rhythm’. Immersing myself in her music again after far too long an absence (I think it’s essential to listen to the music of the artists I translate about to help the creative juices flow in the right direction) was not only uplifting after all the political bad news (Brexit), but also reminded me about her strong personality and how she broke the moulds.