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.

Interview time again

In roughly four hours I have another job interview. Starting to feel a little nervous now, although not as nervous as I was before the last one. Maybe it’s because I’ve had more practice now, or maybe it’s pecause I’ve already translated a text for the company, which obviously can’t have been done too badly otherwise they wouldn’t want me to come in and meet them… right?

The cottage pie I cooked last night seemed to go down well. Even the vegetarian one wasn’t bad. I’ve never made anything with soya mince before so I was very impressed with myself. It didn’t taste much like cottage pie but it tasted ok. The meat one on the other hand did taste like cottage pie, which is good. For the first time ever in the history of our floor cooking meals for each other there was nothing left over. It seems I judged the amounts perfectly. Yay me! The only thing I didn’t judge perfectly was the timing… I said we would eat at 8pm, the vegetarian cottage pie was ready at 8:45pm, followed by the first meat one at 5 past 9. Ooops! Not my fault though, I couldn’t have started any earlier – I didn’t finish work til six!

Right, I’m off to see if the shower’s free yet (so annoying having to share 2 showers between 16 people!)
Wish me luck for the job interview!

Strawberries and cream, poured not whipped

I pre-empted (great word that) Jan last night. I called him at quarter to 8. Someone had just told me that he and his girlfriend are coming to the meal tonight and I had to tell Jan to get extra ingredients before I forgot about it. This meant I was actually able to get to bed fairly early. It didn’t do me any good though… once I was in there I couldn’t sleep. So it was still after 11 o’clock when I finally drifted off. I am feeling slightly less tired this morning though (well at least my eyes don’t hurt) so maybe it wasn’t a total waste of time.

Tonight is the night that I cook for my floor. I’m making cottage pie for 11 people, including one vegetarian. (The vegetarian is getting a pie made with soya mince). I’ve planned ingredients for 10 people (the 11th just told me they want to come) so I hope there’s enough to go round! I’m making salad as well and there are strawberries for afterwards so everyone should be able to eat their fill… I hope.
Speaking of strawberries, my boyfriend told me last night that I’m weird. I asked him whether the Germans eat strawberries and cream, and he said they did. So I said “But whipped cream, right?” The reply: “Yes, of course, what do you do?” He was shocked when I told him we just pour the cream on. That’s strange, apparantly, and can’t possibly taste nice. I told him he’s not allowed to knock it til he’s tried it, but I’m a little worried about what the others are going to say now.

I have a job interview tomorrow. Can’t believe that’s the first time I’ve mentioned it all week! I think I’m less nervous about this one than I was about the one in Gernsbach, not sure why though. Maybe because I’ve had more practice.
Only 3 and a half more weeks til the end of my internship. The need for employment is becoming greater by the day…

Cleaning showers and not forgetting my German

I’ve been meaning to blog about my interview for the last two days, but somehow never managed to get round to it. On Thursday evening we had our “Etagenputz” (translation: floor clean), so I spent 2 hours scrubbing showers and trying to get cobwebs down from the ceiling. Then Jan turned up and dinner had to be cooked. And yesterday I had work then went shopping on the way back. Once I got home there was shopping to be put away and laundry to be done (I finally got an appointment). Jan came round just in time to help me hang up the washing then we had dinner and spent the rest of the evening reading (we like to read aloud to each other). We finally finished the book we’ve been reading together for ages today – Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men. The first of the Tiffany Aching books, and the first of his children’s books that I’ve read. It was very good, as Pratchett’s books usually are. But I’m getting off topic now. I meant to talk about job interviews.

I think it went ok. At least I managed to answer all the questions and didn’t forget my German (although I did make one or two stupid mistakes, which I noticed the second they were out of my mouth. Der Stadt instead of die Stadt… oh dear!) First we had the proper interview part, then they put me in a little office and asked me to do two practice translations for them. The texts weren’t tooo difficult. Afterwards I briefly spoke to the two interviewers again then left, arriving back at the train station just in time to catch an S-Bahn back to Karlsruhe. They said they’re stil at the beginning of the interviewing process and will be making a decision in about 3 weeks time. Then yesterday I got a phone call from the company in Ettlingen who I did a practice translation/proofread for last week. They want me to come in for an interview next Thursday at 2pm. It seems Thursday is the day for interviews. Things seem to be moving forward so hopefully I will have a job soon…

Next week I have to cook a meal for my floor. I’ve decided to do cottage pie – let them try something English. For the non-meat eaters I want to do a vegetarian version, so today I went into the Asia shop and managed to find dried soya mince. Now I just have to figure out what I’m meant to do with the stuff. Anyone have any idea how to go about cooking dried soya mince? If so, please leave a comment below…

Interview time…

I’m currently trying to force myself to eat breakfast while my stomach goes “nooo, don’t want food. I’m too busy twisting myself into nervous knots to eat!” I have to eat though. I know what will happen if I don’t  – I’ll get to my interview and my stomach will suddenly decide that it is hungry after all, then I’ll have to sit through the whole thing with it rumbling. Loudly. Not really the first impression that I want to make! So I’m trying to force myself to eat some toast with jam on. Once that’s gone I’m going to try and force myself to eat a yoghurt. I won’t have time for lunch – I need to leave the house at 12:00, buy credit for my phone, buy a ticket for the journey to Gernsbach, take a tram to the train station. The train to Gernsbach leaves at 12:43 and I arrive at 1:29pm. By the time I’ve got my bearings and walked down to the place it will pretty much be time for the interview, so no time for eating. I suppose I could take some food on the train. Hmm, actually that’s a possibility. I shall think about that. But in the meantime… must… eat… breakfast.

Fortunately the weather has decided to be kind to me today. The current temperature is a quite pleasant 21.7°C. This is good. I just hope it stays that way – I’m paranoid about making sweat marks on my nice blue blouse!

(Hopefully not) baking on the S-Bahn

The weather forecast promised (or perhaps a better word would be “threatened”) highs of 35°C for today. That’s 95°F for all you fahrenheit fans. I checked the online weather reports at 4:30pm and was informed that the temperature at that moment was 36°C/96°F. That’s one degree higher! So the weather forecasters lied! Not that one degree bothers me that much. Anything over about 26°C comes under the heading of “too hot”. Above 30° and it becomes “far too hot”. I’m just glad the weather decided to get the worst bit over with today when I don’t have to travel Gernsbach just when the sun is at its hottest. I’m scared enough of this interview without having to worry about dying of heat stroke before I even get there!

I’ve been looking on the Karlsruhe transport website trying to figure out how to get there. The perfect method would be to take the S-Bahn from Marktplatz. I would just have to walk to the tram stop, board the train and sit down to await Gernsbach. Of course I wouldn’t be me if things worked out that way…
The S-41, the train I would get on at Marktplatz, gets into Gernsbach every hour at 59 minutes past. 12:59, 1:59… my interview is at 2pm. The only way I could get from the train station to the interview in one minute is if someone invents teleportation by tomorrow… not going to happen I feel. I could, of course, get the one that arrives in Gernsbach at 12.59, but what am I going to do in Gernsbach, on my own, for an hour? It’s really not that big a town. So my other option is to take the S-31, which would get me there at 1:30pm. The S-31 goes from Karlsruhe main train station. That means I have to get a tram to the train station first. Not really difficult, but gives me more opportuny to panic. What if I miss the tram from Europaplatz and the S-31 has already left? I’d be late for my interview! Doooooooom!

OK, maybe I’m being slightly over sensitive. What can I say, I’m a worrier. And interviews scare me. A lot! In between worrying about how to get to Gernsbach I’ve been worrying about what I’m going to wear, whether a blue blouse is appropriate, whether it matters that I don’t have a proper suit, what I’m going to say when I get there, whether I’ll be able to answer their question, how badly my German is going to let me down… there are so many things that could go wrong! I’ll be glad when it’s this time tomorrow and the whole ordeal is over with!

Halfway

Today is the last day of June. In two hours (three if you’re on the UK) the year will be half over. It’s crazy! I can’t believe a whole six months have passed. Surely someone most have stolen a few weeks from me while I wasn’t paying attention!!

In my shock at realising the year is half over already I started thinking about what I’ve actually done this year.  What I came up with was not a lot. I did start the new year in Paris, which was cool and meant I fulfilled one of my ambitions (the ambition being to go to Paris, not necessarily for New Year although that was a nice tough). I also got my highest mark ever for an assignment (yay me!) and some other pretty good marks, meaning I’ve passed the first year of my Master’s. And that’s about it really. Obviously I have done other things in the last half year, but nothing really worth mentioning. It’s all so difficult when you haven’t got any money! So I’ve decided once I have a job I’ll start making plans again. I want to move out of this student residence and into my own flat. I want to learn Spanish. I want to travel more (I have been to Worms and Gernsbach this year, but I want to go to somewhere a little further afield). I also want to do plenty of less exciting stuff… I need new clothes, I very desperately need new shoes and I’d like to buy some of the books on my ever expanding list.  But before I do any of that I need to find a job. Tomorrow is the first day of the last month of my internship and I still have nothing lined up to do afterwards. It’s all getting scarily close now. Job interview on Thursday though. Please keep your fingers crossed for me, even if you are one of the random people that found my blog by asking Google for a “ginger haired toddler cartoon”.