A matter of perspective

I think I might have been a bit harsh lately when talking about work. (In case you’re wondering, the blog posts in question are now private).

My boss is really quite nice. He actually employed me when most people wouldn’t have given me a chance and he gave me a pay rise, even though I’m only an intern. If I was him I would want to get something out of it too.

Jan says it’s all a matter of perspective, or possibly perception. The boss sees me looking unmotivated, having to ask him for work instead of taking the initiative and finding something for myself… maybe he sees things I could be doing that I just wouldn’t think of. Things that are second nature for other people just don’t occur to me – so I don’t do them, and people who are “normal” think I’m just lazy or shelfish or just don’t care. I on the other hand see me working hard, doing my best and being as motivated as I know how. It’s all a question of attitude I guess. And so-called “soft skills”, which I unfortunately don’t possess. I’m not a good communicator, I take a long time to get used to new situations, I fail to see opportunities to help. It’s the social ineptness thing again. But bosses don’t want socially inept people. They want people who can communicate well, who work as a team, help each other out, are organised and don’t forget things. They also want hard skills I guess, in my case that would be someone who’s good at translating.
At least I got that bit right.

I think I’ll go and do some research on how to become a people person. Who knows, maybe it will come in useful someday.
(That reminds me… Jan told me off last night for doing a Google search for how to impress the boss. Apparantly I’m “missing the point”).

Must try harder

I don’t really talk about work much in my blog. Partly because, well, it’s work and who wants to hear about that? Sure, I enjoy it but “today I translated 3 texts” doesn’t really make good blogging material.
The other reason I don’t talk about work is because I don’t want someone from there accidently tracking down my blog. None of them are English but all of them know enough to be able to figure out who I am within milliseconds. So the less I say the better. Not that I would say anything bad, but I might accidently mention something I shouldn’t, so I choose not to say anything at all.
Today I shall be talking about work though…

There are a number of things that completely baffle me. Every day things. Things that come naturally to other people. Small talk, striking up conversations with people you’ve never met before, knowing the right thing to say in certain situations. It’s all beyond me. I’m saracastic, I don’t think before I speak, I get shy around new people, I don’t have a clue what to say half the time, even to people I know, and when I do manage to have a conversation I annoy people by constantly interrupting without even realising I’m doing it. I tend to come across as either, rude, mean or anti-social, which kind of limits my ability to make friends a bit. Look up “socially inept” in the dictionary and you’ll probably see a picture of me.

Now my crapness seems to be spilling over into my work as well. I do manage not to be sarcastic or speak out of turn while I’m there. Knowing what to say is a lot easier in a professional context. But things are not as good as they should be, and I’m sure it comes down to the same source.

Today I only had one translation to do. I was finished by about 11:30 then I had no more work, so I asked the boss for some more. So he gave me the job of printing out and folding advertising letters.
Later he came and called me into his office. I was taking too long over the letters, he said. It should have been done by now. Also I didn’t look very happy about doing it. Then he said he’s noticed that I seem to watch him when he comes into the room (which I hadn’t even noticed myself doing. *Sigh* I guess it’s the same as with the interrupting). I don’t seem to be involved enough in the work I’m doing. I don’t give the impression of being motivated or seem like I’m enjoying myself particularly. But I am motivated and I do enjoy my job. That isn’t the impression I give though, apparantly. Then he went on to say that, while it’s good that I ask for something to do when I run out of work rather than just doing nothing, it’s not good enough. I should be looking around for something to do then offering to do it rather than expecting him to tell me what to do. I believe they call it taking initiative. Yeah, well I would do that, except clearly that’s enough thing I’m missing. Because if I could see something for me to do I wouldn’t need to ask. But I do need to ask. So obviously I’m missing the “figuring out what I could do apart from my own work” gene as well.

So dear readers, if anyobody’s actually managed to make it this, far I need your help. How do I convince the boss that I am motivated and do want to do my job well? If I’m ever going to be given a proper job I need to make the best possible impression now!
On the bright side, they are pleased with my actual translations. It’s just everything else I need to work on. Sometimes I think the best thing for me would be packing boxes in a factory or something. Just someone giving me some clear instructions and me following them. I might be bored senseless but at least I wouldn’t be able to mess anything up.
(Sorry this post is so long andconfusing. It seems I’m having some trouble expressing myself at the moment)


I’ve just been looking through some random stats on my blog. It seems my most used tag is “boyfriend” with a total of 43 times. Second is work with 22 uses and in third place comes books, 21 uses. I’m pretty sure that says something about me. I don’t know what but I’m pretty sure it’s misleading. How have I managed to mention work more often than books? Must do something about that.

I need to do a translation for uni. It was actually supposed to be handed in on Monday. Oops. Not even a month into the year and I’m behind already. Luckily it’s only a practice piece so I won’t lose any marks for handing it in late or anything. It would probably be a good idea to get on and do it though.

How is it Wednesday already? I’m sure it was only just Friday. I always thought putting the clocks back was meant to give us another hour. Instead I seem to have lost about 72.

Time going fast does have its advantages though. It’s pay day on Friday. And I get extra money starting this month. I’ve already had my wage slip and seen how much I’ll be earning from now. I’m going to be rich. Rich I tell you! (Actually I’m still going to be poor, but rich compared to what I was before. And at least I’ll be able to afford a few decent Christmas presents this year).

And oh my gosh, I’ve just realised my internship is half over already. Three more months to go. And after that? We’ll see… it depends whether the boss decides to give me a proper job.

OK, enough procrastinating. Time to get on with the translation.

Now it really is Friday…

I’ve been very busy today. This is a good thing – I hate being at work and having nothing to do. And I really like translating. So being busy is good. Even when i spent part of the afternoon translating a text about cervical cancer it was good, in a depressing kind of way. It was a text about a new test though, so not too bad. A hopeful kind of depressing rather than a “the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a train” kind of depressing.

So that was my Friday. It’s the weekend now I guess. Friday evening is the weekend right?
I’m going over to the boyfriend’s place later, as soon as he decides to finish work for the day. Could be a while actually…
I hope his flatmate isn’t there. It’s so much better when we have the flat to ourselves. Actually if I had my way the flatmate would never be there, but y’know. That’s just me.

OK, so you’ve probably figured out by now that I really have nothing to write about today. I seem to have completely run out of inspiration. So I think I should go away now before I cause all my readers to fall asleep…

… what do you mean “too late”?

Reading for pain and pleasure

I’ve just been looking at UWE’s online area. The summer holidays are over now and my Masters course is starting again. Time to get back to the old grindstone… cos working full time clearly just isn’t enough for me…
So I was looking at the course material for Text Linguistics where I discovered that the nice man running the course has kindly pointed out that the books he wants us to use are available at the UWE library. Umm, has he not realised that this is an online course. The participants are scattered throughout the world… exactly how useful does he imagine a library in Bristol is going to be? So it looks like I’m going to have to buy some lovely expensive books that I have no intention of ever using again once this module is over. Oh, and he wants the first practical exercise in on 10th October. As in this Friday. Remind me why I wanted to go back to uni?

Ooh, speaking of books – I bought myself a present today. I didn’t mean to, but I spotted it while I was in Thalia having a browse at what kids books they’ve got (I need to start buying Christmas presents now if I’m going to afford them all!) And I’ve wanted it for ages as well. Are you all intrigued now? SHould I tell you what I bought?
It’s Thankyou for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern. Yes, I am aware that her books are pretty much Chick Lit, but who cares. I love them. And they’re not half as brainless as some of the stuff that’s out there. Anyway, wooo something new to read. And for only 6 euros as well – bloody cheap for an English book in Germany!

Right, I’m off to do something useful now…. errm, after I’ve caught up on everyone’s blogs that is…

I rock!

So this afternoon I was making a cup of tea when the bosses wife called me into the conference room. Eeeep! I was convinced I was going to get told off. Not that I’ve done anything wrong… that I’m aware of anyway, but when superiors want to talk to me I always assume I’m going to get in trouble. It’s a natural human reaction. Or maybe just a natural me reaction. The boyfriend does tell me I’m a pessimist after all…
Anyway, in case you hadn’t already guessed from all this waffle I didn’t get told off. In fact, just the opposite happened. I was told they’re really happy with me work, sooo from next month I’ll be getting paid more. No change of contract yet – I’ll still be an intern. But more money. Wooo, I totally rock!

Now I have to go. I’ve just carried all my shopping home from Aldi and my poor little arms feel too weak to type…

Copy, paste, delete

What is it with old people? My tram was full of them today. Literally full. I had to stand up all the way home. It seems like every single old person between Ittersbach (where the tram starts) and my work place had decided that just after 5pm was the perfect time to take a tram. And they do it every single evening. What is that all about? They have all day to take trams, why do they insist on taking them when other people are trying to get home from work? Grrr.

This morning I finished the translation that I’ve been working on for the last few days. That meant there was no more proper work for me to do today, so I spent the afternoon copying the French text out of a trilingual document, pasting it into a new word document and deleting all the unnecessary hard returns. A hard return is what us normal people would call pressing the return key. This is different to a soft return, which is where you press the return key and the shift key at the same time. Fascinating stuff.
So that was my day. Much fun. Thank goodness it’s Friday tomorrow!

666. Demon spawn.

I’ve made it. I’m officially the spawn of Satan!
I went to Karstadt on the way home from work to buy some food, a) for tonioght’s tea and b) for lunch tomorrow. Arriving at the counter to pay, I discovered that my purchases came to a total of 6 euros and 66 cents. 6.66. Demon spawn. How cool am I?

So this morning the boss called me into his office. Cue total and utter panic and “oh my God, what have I done?” type thoughts. Turns out he just wanted to ask me how things are going since I’ve now been there a month. And he wanted to explain why Kristi, the new girl, has got a real job while I only got an internship. He didn’t want me sitting there wondering or resenting her for it. Not that I was wondering, I’d already figured out that it was probably because she’s already finished her studies. An assumption that the boss then confirmed. He then said that, although I probably have more actual translation experience than her, she has more general work experience. Fair enough.
He then started talking about my work. They are, for the most part, satisified he told me. Just one little issue. To do with something that I proofread yesterday. I finished it…. too fast. Now there’s a complaint I never thought I’d hear from a boss! So basically I need to take more care over things I’m editing. Read them twice if necessary. Make sure I find all the mistakes. It’s a fair point. Proofreading is something I find quite difficult, especially when I’m tired. The words all start blurring together and my eyes read words that are spelled wrong as what they’re really meant to be. The longer and boringer (is that word?) the texts are, the worse it is. Sooo pay more attention when proofreading. Otherwise it’s all good. Such a relief.

I got soaked on the way home and I’m now freezing. Time for a nice warm cup of tea methinks.

All change!

Today I was much less tired. I really think whether or not my boyfriend is here affects the quality of my sleep. Last night he stayed over and even though it was pretty late when we went to sleep I’ve managed not to spend all of today wishing I was curled up in bed.

I’m getting a new colleague on Monday. Kay, the translator who has been working part time for my employer, is being replaced by someone who is willing to work full time. (Basically she’s being fired, but in a nice way). I was only told about it today and the new person is starting after the weekend, so a bit of a whirlwind change that’s left my head spinning slightly. The new person seems nice though – she was there today to sign her contract. And the boss has assured me that none of this affects my job in the slightest. They need someone to be a full time project manager, but I was employed to translate and that’s exactly what they want me to carry on doing. He also said that up to now they’re completely satisfied with my work, which was nice. It’s always good to be appreciated 🙂

Oh, I finally managed to pick up my package today. It’s been sitting there since Monday, but until now I’ve never actually managed to make it home from work in time. It was from my old employer and, according to the letter that came with it, contained “a small token to remind you of your time as an intern at our company”. The “small token” was, of course, stuff advertising the company. A mug, a T-shirt, a mouse mat, a baseball cap, a cloth shopping bag, two keyrings and an umbrella. Small token?? I think they’ve sent me every single product the company has ever got its name emblazoned/embroidered/printed onto. It’s insane! I’ll probably use the mug and one of the keyrings and I might wear the T-shirt to bed, but do they honestly think I’m going to walk around the place wearing their baseball cap and holding their umbrella? Somehow I don’t think so!  At least not until they start paying me lots of money to act as their official sponsor…


Yesterday I was sent home early because it was my birthday. Today I was sent home early because the boss wanted to go home early. I think he was bored. It was an incredibly quiet day at the office. Between 8:30am and when I left the phone rang twice! At least I had a translation to keep me occupied.

I haven’t really got anything to write about at the moment. The day after a birthday is always a bit of an anticlimax really. You have a whole day of everyone paying attention to you and being nice then you’re supposed to just forget about it and go back to normal. I get to be the centre of attention again on Saturday though so I can’t really complain 😉

I’m currently busy trying to plan my birthday picnic, but it’s proving to be rather difficult. I asked people to let me know by today whether they could make it. So far I have 4 people who are definitely coming, one who probably is and two people have told me they definitely can’t make it. The four people who are coming are two couples, so that means I’ve technically only had 5 responses. And I sent a lot more than 5 emails. So one of two things is probably going to happen. 1) I’ll make food for the people I know are coming. Ten more people will turn up. I won’t have enough food for everyone. 2) I’ll make enough food for all the people that might be coming. Five people will show up. I’ll be living on left over picnic food for the next two weeks. I think I’ll go with scenario number two – at least that way I’ll have stuff to take along for my lunch next week 😉