You can’t have everything…

I have this theory. It goes a bit like this:

My life can be divided up into various parts… work, home, friends/social life, relationship… maybe a few more that I can’t think of right now (possibly family, although they’re too far away to have an effect right now). My theory is that if things are going well in a few of these areas something has to go wrong in another area. The universe just can’t let everything in my life be good at once.  So if work is going great and I have friends calling me every night something is bound to go wrong in the relationship area of my life. Or I’ll find out that I have to move out of my flat for some reason.

Right now the boyfriend and I are doing really well. We’re spending time together, talking about Things, barely arguing and we had a lovely week’s holiday in Rome. The relationship area of my life is good. I am also in love with my flat… still. It’s beautiful, I have space to move and, most importantly, it’s mine. That’s the home section covered then. That’s two whole areas of goodness! Clearly something had to go wrong somewhere otherwise the cosmic balance of the universe would have been upset… or something.
And so I find myself having to deal with 24/7 job hunting and the complications of the German unemployment system. Oh, and I also have no social life whatsoever. That one though I’m not really bothered about. Which begs the question… which is worse, not having a social life or not caring about not having a social life? Answers on a postcard please…

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How far is too far?

Yesterday I was asked to do a practice translation for one of the companies I applied for a job at. It was a hard translation, but I think I did ok. Then, after I’d sent it off, I decided to find out where exactly this company is up to now all I’ve had is the vague knowledge that it’s “near Stuttgart” and Stuttgart is “only about an hour away so I suppose this other place can’t be that far.”

So… a two hour* commute to work. That would be manageable, right?

* Actually, the train journey is anywhere between 1 hour 35 minutes and 2 hours 9 minutes depending on which speed train is running and how many times you have to change… worst case scenario being 3 times!! At least the company appears to be close to the train station there – only 15 minutes walk according to Google maps.

Back to reality with a bump

After 6 lovely days of wandering round Rome, having other people pay for stuff for me and not thinking about job hunting, the employment agency or my lack of income at all returning to the real world has been a bit of  a shock. Yesterday I kind of eased my way into it, spending most of the day catching up on people’s blogs,  sorting out photographs of Rome to put on Facebook and blogging about Roman sights. I did check the employment agency website for new vacancies (of which there weren’t any… well, there was one for a German-Russian translator but that’s no good to me really). But today it was back to job hunting in earnest. Back to checking out every vacancies website I’ve ever heard of. Back to Googling every combination of the words “translator” “native speaker” “jobs” “employment” and “Karlsruhe” I could possibly think of. And back to wondering how on Earth people cope with being stuck in the house all day long with nothing to do and no money.

The good news is I had a phone call this morning from a woman inviting me to an interview next Thursday. The interview is with a personnel recruitment service, so not actually for the job itself as such… I suppose an interview with the company that’s actually offering the position will come at some later stage, but it’s a start. Even if I don’t actually know for sure what exactly the job even is – all the advert told me is that I will be coming into contact with customers (gulp!) and need to speak English, enjoy languages and know how to use a PC. Oh, and I should bring with me “unlimited willingness to learn”. Umm, ok then…

I’d like a million Euros please

I’ve just applied for a job. Nothing exciting about that, it’s the 4th job I’ve applied for in the past 8 days. But… this one asked me to provide my desired salary. How am I supoposed to know what to ask for? I mean, too little and I’ll be selling myself short. But then again, too much and my application will be binned before they even bother to open the attachments. Do you get asked this kind of question in all countries or is it just a German thing?

Never mind. It is done now, I have sent it and I can only hope what I asked for was reasonable. Oh, and that they don’t invite for me an interview between 17th-22nd June…

How to hunt for translation jobs in Germany

Looking for a job as a translator in Germany? Don’t want to actually have to leave the house to do so (or you’re not actually in Germany and can’t go wandering round the town you’re in looking for people to talk to)? Then read on and all shall be revealed…

I’m going to assume you’ve already checked out the usual sources (employment agency website, monster, jobsrapido etc.). If you haven’t done that bit get on it now then come back. We shall wait.

Next, get thee to Google and type in the word “Übersetzer” (translator) followed by the name of the town you want to work in. The first thing that appears is a list of Google maps results. Click on the bit where it offers you more Google maps results. Now right click on the first translation agency and open it in a new tab (if you don’t do this you’ll have to keep clicking the back button later and it will all get very annoying). This takes you to yet another Google maps page, this time for the individual translation agency. There should also be a website address on this page. Click there. It should open in a new tab (or possibly a new window if you’re using Internet Explorer. I don’t know, for I am not). You may now close the Google maps page for that agency.

Check the website for a link that says something like “jobs”, “careers” or “employment”. This is where you will find the jobs they currently have available. 90% of them will tell you they’re “always on the look out for new freelancers” – fine if you want to be a freelancer, not so good if you want an actual job. If the page actually lists opportunities at the company bookmark it for later reference. And if you can’t find a careers link try clicking on “contact” instead – sometimes it’s hidden there. If you don’t find anything the page can be closed. Likewise if they only want freelancers.

Repeat the above for the next translation agency on the list. And the next one. And the one after that. Try to pay some attention to where the map is taking you though – remember, the lower down the list you get the further away from the original town the agency will be.

When you find yourself clicking on the name of what you think is going to be a translation agency (after all, you did type “translator” into the searchy bit) but which actually turns out to be a private investigators, then realise it’s almost midnight and you’ve been searching for 2 hours it’s probably time to call it a day.

Now you can revisit all the pages you bookmarked and start sending out your CV.

And that, my friends, is what I did with myself last night. Apart from the bit where I send out my CV… for that I have to wait until Jan checks it and sends it back to me.
At least nobody can say I’m not trying to find a job!

Running around town trying to figure out who can help

I went to the IHK today – the Industrie- und Handelskammer. That would be the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to my non-German speaking readers. Why did I go there? Because my boss thought they could give me better information on going freelance than the employment agency. So I took myself off there only to be told the IHK isn’t responsible for people who want to work as freelancers… they can only help me if I want to set up a business (and if I want to do that I have to pay fees and taxes and deal with a thousand times more paperwork). Instead the woman there advised me to go the the translator’s association. So I headed off towards home – the Baden-Württemberg branch of the translator’s association just happens to be pretty much round the corner from where I live. Unfortunately it was already closed. But tomorrow I shall take myself there before 2pm and see if I can find anyone to help me.

And right now I’m off to the boyfriend’s place. He still has my CV on his computer from last time I was job hunting, so I’m off to update it, make it look pretty and stick it on a USB stick for transferral to my own computer. I’ve already seen one job that I can apply for (translating for a software company) so I’ll be getting on that first thing tomorrow…

I would also like to say a massive THANK YOU to all my bloggy friends who left such lovely, lovely comments on my last post. I will definitely keep you updated… along with the rest of the internets. Who knows, maybe the information will be useful for someone else in the future. I’m probably not the first foreigner in Germany who’s ever found themself in this situation and I sincerely doubt I shall be the last… especially if this recession continues.

Rubbish toys and interviews

Yesterday Jan bought me one of those new Kinder Joy things because he knows I like them and I’m trying to collect all the Loony Toons figures. The Kinder Joy was lovely, they taste so much better than the traditional Kinder Surprise Eggs. The toy on the other hand… Well, there have always been crap Kinder toys. In fact, if you think about it most of them are crap, unless you’re four years old. But even as a four year old I would have found this one crap. It was some weird purple… thing. I think it was meant to be a bear. A bear wearing swimming trunks and holding a duck shaped rubber ring. Then there were stickers to put on it. There are often stickers to put on these toys. But these particular stickers were most disappointing. They were plain white! The outline was drawn on of course, in black, but other than that they were white. And on the instructions it told you to colour them in yourself. How rubbish is that? I was not impressed at all.

The interview went well in case anyone’s wondering. I’ve been offered a 6 month internship to start with, then if all goes well I can have a proper job at the end of it. The internship will pay more than I’m on now, so even with travel costs I’ll be better off. I now have until Wednesday to decide whether to take it. Right now I’m just excited that they’ve offered me something, but before making the big decision I want to discuss it with my boyfriend and possibly also with his parents seing as they’re coming tomorrow. My parents have already been informed and both have said go for it. I have time though… no need to make any life changing decisions right now.