Posts Tagged 'work'

The Smitten Entrepreneur

Picture by pumpkincat210 under a Creative Commons License.

By which I mean to say: I am now self-employed. Sole proprietor of my business. Embracing the American spirit of small business ownership and all that. Pioneering. Frontier mentality. *cough* Sorry ūüėõ

Sure, it doesn’t fully solve the immediate lack of forty hours of revenue generating activities per week, but it makes me flexible, allowing me to jump on Craigslist gigs, work with my old employer and do it all within the letter of the law. Also: tax deductions. Useful in case I end up making money. Which I already did, a little, with the freelance work I talked about in earlier posts, but I needed a way to justify those funds to Uncle Sam’s tax folks. So here we are…

I built myself a website, had business cards printed and obtained a ‘home occupation permit’ (to allow me working from home) and a business license. Uhuh! I’m the real deal. Even snagged a signature from a big, burly fireman to certify that there are smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher. I’ve been networking with folks and am hoping to reel in some more assignments soon.

But Smitten Immigrant, what is it you actually do? 

Right.. I should probably mention that. The job title I invented for myself is ‘language professional’. Which means I offer services as an editor, proofreader, translator (between my native language and English) and (copy) writer. Stuff like doing linguistic quality assurance for software translations, translating user interface text, but also more traditional red pen circling of errant commas, missing capitals and ambiguous phrasing. ¬†Possibly telling you to tone down the enthusiastic superlative language of your marketing pitch because in the ‘Old Country’ ¬†your exuberance just gives cause for cynicism.

Hey, hey can we see? Show us!

Err.. no. Well. Not on here. I have considered connecting this blog to my website, since it is a large collection of my personal language wrangling that people may like to see, but I have decided against it. This is my personal blog, where I do not want to proofread what I write. I don’t want to think about the commercial viability of my posts, nor wonder about whether things may be too personal for possible clients to read.

I’m not under the illusion that a dedicated sleuther would be unable to find both my website and this blog and connect the dots. It’s not a matter of deep importance that the two never be connected. But I don’t want to make this little corner of the web a marketing instrument, which is what would almost inevitably happen if I added it to my portfolio. I’m not interested in the ‘brand’ ¬†Smitten Immigrant. I don’t plan to become a marketing guru or even a professional blogger on a personal title (although I am not averse to writing blog posts for payment).

The big thing that looking at a wide variety of language jobs has taught me, is that I want to write your text for you, or my text for me, but not the other way around. I don’t know if that makes sense to people whose field of work is not closely related to the realms of marketing and or social media, but it makes sense to me. I’m a language professional, not an internet personality. I love my work because a good writer (and even more so a good editor and most so a good translator) is invisible. It’s not me you should want, it’s the words I stick together.

Imagine you would ask me to write something. A job application for instance, which needs a good mix of personal showcasing and high quality writing. As your hired wordsmith, I need to write you. Because they need to hire you (not me). And so I need to ‘be’ you, adding nothing but the linguistic quality that makes those HR people sigh with relief because that letter is such an effortless read.

Are you averse to accepting work form people who have found this blog?

Not at all. If you see me play with words ¬†(which is really what I do here, at The Smitten Immigrant) and you like it, superfluous commas and all, then feel free to hit me up and ask me for my professional details. I’ll happily share. I just don’t want to encourage the process the other way around.

Developments and travel pictures

Guards at a gate

We’ve paid our last NVC-bill, the one for the IV-package.¬†We’ve sent in the last of the paperwork for the IV-package.¬†All we can do now, is wait. Once the NVC checks all our stuff, finds it complete and sends it to the consulate, we can start moving again.

Beloved has had his last day at work, so he’s home too now. I am happy to no longer be responsible for the largest part of house keeping and am curious what it will be like to spend so much time together for the next ¬†month or two.

Next week I’ll join a class on dog behaviorism and body language at the shelter I volunteer at. More quality time with lovable pooches!

We took a trip to Rome with my family and it was great. My feet are still sore. Pictures accompanying this post are from said trip and were all made by my relatives. Please don’t steal them.

I’m negotiating a freelance writing project, which I hope pans out.

I’ve heard rumors about my resume traveling the US and going interesting places (like Stanford *squee*).

Next week we’ll organize an Open House to attract someone to buy our house from us. Fingers crossed on that one.

Inside the Colosseum

Saint Angelo’s castle

The Trevi Fountains

Tasty foods

There is an end in sight

and I can’t wait!

Book 2 is in final stage of proofreading, Book 3’s first proof will come in later this week. Book 4 is sent out to the graphics people next week. In my free time I’m editing a Master’s thesis in corporate governance policy and law.

Beloved did the GRE and has his scores back. He scored in or above the 90th percentile for two of the three parts.

Mood in the household with regards to these latest developments:

Photo courtesy of PhyreworX – CC License.

As a reward for finishing the GRE and as a means to help take my mind off work, Beloved and I have picked up Fallout: New Vegas, a fun game for the Xbox. Playing a single person rpg has developed into team sport in this house. He is the pretty experienced gamer with quick fingers and a feel for game development. I like playing as the non-controller-wielding sidekick with the memory for narrative who ties random conversations with people back to half-finished missions earlier in the game as well as the person who keeps an eye on the environment to pick up on tiny items we need to collect, hidden doors that pop up and the colour difference on the ‘radar’ that indicates if the entity approaching is neutral or hostile.

Extra bonus is that I feel we get a little post-apocalyptic preview of the area we will be visiting by the end of this year.

Man, I look forward to that trip.

What is work?

Our little family has regular discussions starting with this question. If you had asked me, before living with the Beloved, I would have said “that which you do that you get paid for”. Had you prodded me a little, I would have added such things as housekeeping, child rearing and volunteering, but not much else.

Much to my earlier frustration, Beloved frequently told me he had to do work. After which he sat behind a computer screen and read news, looked at university websites, compared products he might be willing to buy and did other, less tangible, things that made me wonder when (the hell) he would open the company e-mail account and start doing this work that he told me about. This was not conductive to a mutual understanding of priorities. He felt I didn’t take his activities seriously and I felt he classified almost everything as work just to be able to prioritize it over fun-times-with-me.

In the spirit of peaceful cohabitation it became vital that we figured out what work actually means in this household. Beloved’s definition is, as you may have guessed, much wider than mine. If he’d see me here, blogging, he’d tell me I was working. Which makes sense, in a way. I’m honing writing skills, which make up a large and valuable part of my employable skills, experimenting with online community-building (although very little) and establishing my own voice as an author. Am I looking at plane tickets for a trip we’ve planned? Working. Reading up on an interesting course I may take when we arrive in the US? Working! Learning something about the basics of investing? So much working!

The closest I’ve been able to get to Beloved’s definition of work is ‘productive activity to enhance something that is a priority in life’. ¬†When I applied that definition to my own daily schedule, it made a lot more sense to me that I felt that I was working pretty hard even if I could never put a finger on what I had been doing. Rewriting my resume? Work! Proofreading a letter of introduction for a friend? Work! Doing some research for a college fund for a little cousin? Work. Previously, I filed all these things as leisure, because they were things that I chose to do that did not directly relate to money in the bank or a cleaner house.

Defining all the arranging and planning and organizing in our lives as actual work is a good way to be nicer to ourselves, too. Spent two hours comparing hotels and another hour reading the fine print on car rental policies? That’s work, so you deserve a break. Much better than feeling the weird, guilty ¬†sensation of needing a break from something that’s supposed to be ‘free time’ anyway.

Beloved’s definition of work makes me more understanding of why other people have social lives that are so much more exciting than ours, why some people can plan four commitments a weekend and still feel they’re refreshed and rested on Monday. They didn’t need to write four professors, fill out seventeen pages worth of forms, wrangle an investment bank into complying with a request and have three international phone calls of an hour each. They didn’t need to spend another night discussing quality of education to cost of living, career opportunities and parent proximity, because they’re not making a decision like this and don’t have to do the work associated with it.

As a language geek I am amused and intrigued that by defining one word differently, such large parts of my view on life have started changing. I take myself and our plans more seriously and value the time I sink into preparations and plans. There is less need to beat myself up for wasting time and not being productive, because I can view so much more of the things I did as valuable, necessary work. It also makes it easier to enjoy free time devoted to looking at pictures of cats, because I realize I don’t have nearly as much of it as I thought I had.

What is work to you, and how has that definition influenced your life?

One less thing

..to worry about. I won’t have to spend any more time having to avoid explanations for working some unusual hours¬† to schedule around job interviews. No more glossing over why I needed to work from home or needed to switch some work days around. Not having to walk somewhere out of earshot of my colleagues when the recruiter calls. No longer crossing my fingers when I answer my current colleagues when they ask ‘when are you emigrating again?’. Not starting at a new company knowing I already have a deadline for when I have to leave. Not having to not-tell-all-the-truth when someone asks about my ambitions. Not having to think about what this may mean for my resume and my career.

It means I did not get the job I was interviewing for. Obviously, I would have loved it if I got the job, but now that I know I don’t get it (after four interviews, an assessment and a resume/ cover letter combo, so I’m consoling myself with having been at least a serious candidate), I am also a little relieved.

Still, Google, I think we would’ve gotten along very well, you and I.