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)