A Lesson On Job Commitment

A young lady went to the mall

and shopped until her budget allowed;

dresses, shoes, bags from almost each and every stall.

Of course, how could she forget

to pass by the food court- ah, she ate her heart out!

But the grilled squid, crab rice, soup and gulaman

waged a war in her tummy, bullying the leche flan.

 

So she ran to the restroom, pushing everyone away.

(Let’s leave out the details of what had transpired.

But oh boy, she made a mess! that we can safely say.)

Red-faced and ashamed she looked for assistance

because the toilet flush broke.

A uniformed lady approached her with a smile. She was hard to ignore.

She was coiffed, made-up and she was fragrant.

Oh and with a big pump in her manicured hands!

The young woman reached out for the pump

but the uniformed one kindly declined, shaking her head.

“I’ll clear the toilet, madame. Thank you”, she said.

The young woman wished to die

because back there was something very unladylike.

She insisted to clean the mayhem herself

but the other won’t budge,

she just kept smiling and asserting it’s her job.

 

The young lady shamefully walked away.

But not because of her biological disarray.

For she thought about her job in a renovated palace,

in the city center, near the office of the mayor.

She thought about the airconditioned work station,

the fancy lunches, the interesting debates… that was her day to day.

Yet she complained and was discontent.

After meeting the uniformed woman, who literally

cleans up people’s sh*t for a living, daily,

with a smile on her face and not one sign of lament

she was filled with guilt. Dumbfounded, she did finally see:

how life whacked her to reality.

Colorfulifesite responds: Why should I love my job?

The short answer:

Because if you do, your job will find a way to love you back.

The long(er) answer:

This would help you get through the day/s when you have to work for free. Getting up each morning to face an abhorred task is already a struggle. How much worse would it be if you had to leave bed, do the job and then realize you won’t get payment of any kind?

When I say “love”, it could of course range from the way you love the summer breeze to the devotion you have towards your grandmother. As far as jobs go, anything in between should be healthy for you. The only condition is that you have to love it enough so you won’t feel awful when you are required to finish a task outside your working hours and  without receiving any compensation.

And when I say “job”, I refer to the work itself. Anything outside of it such as colleagues, perks, learning experience, etc is not included. You really have to have a certain level of appreciation on what you are carrying out, as well as the chain of effects it has on your business or enterprise.

Finally, when I say “free” I meant a service rendered without charge. Receiving a well-meant “Thank you” doesn’t count.

My experience (which you are free to skip!):

The first time I worked without pay was (gasp!) here in France, while honoring one of the three contracts I signed (Meaning: no extra money nor extra leave was given to recover the hours of work surpassing what’s legally established).

The job was a part-time one where I signed a 3-day per week agreement. Many of my friends joked (?) that what it really meant was I would GET PAID for 3 days a week. Oh, such wise, prophetic words!

True enough, I started reading, replying and writing emails on the days I wasn’t supposed to; I scheduled Skype sessions outside my working hours and I would always make holidays coincide with my non-working days so I wouldn’t miss anything (the working days were specified in the contract, but I was requested to exercise flexibility).

Fairly speaking, I didn’t mind and I still don’t. At that time, I was truly attached to the project’s mission and I could honestly say that the job loved me back: I gained new skills, expanded my horizons and met impressive professionals along the way. Besides, I believed I was making an investment- in the sense that if I showed my bosses how diligent I am, maybe they’d extend my contract. Technically I was working for free, yet in reality I was learning, having fun, and I was convinced I “had to do it” thinking that my future would be somehow guaranteed. (My contract was not renewed. So, “Ha ha!” for me…)

The latest job where I worked for free was for a TV production company. They hired me as a translator from Tagalog to French for some interviews and other videos they shot. Due to my gullibility and irresponsibility, the company got away with paying me only 16 out of the 20 total hours I worked. I told the production staff though that, “…for the remaining 4 hours which you will not pay, I gladly give it to you as a gift. As for me, I shall consider it an act of charity towards your company. Good luck!”

The topic I had to work on was close to my heart; but not close enough for me to love the task. I accepted though, because I wanted to practice French and, I admit, I did it out of vanity. My name is supposed to appear on the credits! (I’m guessing if the job had been to write something- which I absolutely adore- I might have gotten less annoyed)

(Anyway, I found out that the company was only planning to pay me 12 hours. Thus, after having my vanity fed and my pride hurt, I thought, “Look, didn’t you want to practice French? Go after them!” Ooooooohhh! I loved asserting in French… I actually enjoyed writing those demanding emails, talking frankly to the production guy and the reporter to make them see my point shove in their faces how improper their behavior was.)

So the lesson I found/rediscovered here was: Whatever you do, put your heart into the task and if there’s no love at first sight at hand, then LEARN to cultivate fondness towards it.

Because not all summer days are sunny

A wasted youth,

a damaged heart

my time in trash

with the dreams I flushed

floating

in a septic tank

 

Some lines are overused

like the promises,

like the varnished truths.

There’s a loaf of bread

forgotten

growing molds.

 

The happy faces in pictures

will not leave the celluloid.

They refuse reality’s glare,

they shy away from your stare.

Content

to hide in a kilobyte.

 

Crippled.

Down.

I lose this round.

Hidden-nomics (3)

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Proverbs 31:10-31

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

This is a doubly-hidden one! First because the material (passage) was derived from the Bible, the most widely read book as per the Guinness World Records webpage; but whose content is more acknowledged for its spiritual (and sometimes historical) ideas and not so much for the socio-economic issues it might present.

Second, because the concept of Family Economics has only started to develop (along with mainstream economics) in the 1960’s. In my experience, this branch has always been included in development economics analysis (population control, decisions for migration, Dependency Law, urban and rural development etc…) but I haven’t come across any material speaking solely of the subject. Hence, it occurred to me that this could be a thought-provoking way to discuss it.

Author’s Note: I especially love the selected passage because I felt as if it places woman as a man’s “equal”* in terms of providing, protecting and maintaing a household.

Given the nature of the selected material- where the subject is a wife to a husband- this post will not include single-parent households in the discussion.

The terms “family” and “household” are used indistinctively to maintain simplicity.

The Wife of Noble Character in Family Economics

According to the University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute, “The family is the first and foremost influence on an individual’s success. Family choices about how much to invest in a child’s well-being and education are critical to building a strong, skilled workforce that drives a healthy economy.

The authors of the aforementioned Bible passage must have known this to be a fact. And their message was probably conceived to help guarantee that increase in their population will not only to satisfy their requirement for numbers, but also their need of high-quality citizens. For this aim, they encouraged the building of a strong nation starting from the choice of a virtuous life partner with whom to establish the basic unit of the society- the family.

Below are few of the economics-based perspectives used to examine this part of the Book of Proverbs.

Marriages as firms

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In Gary Becker’s “A theory of marriage”, he assumes that marriage occurs only if the future husband and wife could derive an increase in utility or satisfaction because of this new partnership. One way to achieve this (and this is really a simplification) is by considering that men and women hire each other’s work for household production. Becker attributes this to the strict complementarity of their resources (time) wherein no production will be attained if one of the couple’s contribution is nul (0).

The Bible’s ideal wife seems to possess enough common sense and strength in character to be a desirable complement in implementing the “household-building” project. She is described to be one who is capable of work both in and outside the boundaries of the household. Fairly enough, verses 28-31 summon the husband and the children to praise her for all her works.

Although recognition is a wonderful acknowledgement of one’s efforts, practicality still dominates reality. It must be mentioned therefore, that the production of women who are dedicated to homemaking is still not recognized as a contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Now, due to this gap in the valuation of production, feminists argue that where a woman takes on the role of a housewife, she is exploited just as a worker is exploited by a capitalist (in this case, the husband).

The concept of exploitation arises when one party takes advantage of the other; but i) when both are properly rewarded for their production, and ii) both possess a shared authority to decide about resource allocation, no exploitation takes place. In the case of the family, husband and wife will be likewise benefitting from a fair collaboration and the pooling of talents and other scarce resources. So the way I see things is that the perceived exploitation may come from the fact that a housewife is not yet systematically compensated for her long hours of work and dedicated service. This is because as of the moment, her contribution to the family has not been given a monetary value as opposed to the husband’s salary** (thus making it seem that housewives “don’t do as much” for the family when compared with a working husband’s monthly payroll).

Think about how some people pay for services such as babysitting, house-cleaning, pet-walking, gardening, food catering, etc… The service providers are simply specializing in tasks that housewives have to do everyday, and in theory they are in no way exploited because they get a just compensation for the job they render (as prices are set by the markets of babysitting, pet-walking, catering and so on). This logic could be thoroughly applied to the sum of a homemakers’ completed tasks, dismissing a priori the concept of exploitation***.

Division of Labor in the Family

Practically from verses 12-27, the division of labor between husband and wife could be considered quite progressive. The verse has clearly expanded the roles a married woman (and an ideal one, too!) can play in a society: food gatherer, business woman and even an investor! She is also depicted as someone who can perform physical labor and work requiring creativity and imagination.

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How wonderful for women to be considered as an equally able provider and decision-maker in the family as a man! The reality, however displays details that make the difference. Consider a family and career woman who works hard everyday to earn a living and to boost her ambitions: After her working day ends, how often is she expected to do a bigger part of the household chores? “Mostly” would be a good guess (although it must be admitted that this trend is currently changing). It could be because of tradition; or maybe if she has a lower salary, it has been deemed “fair” for her to be in charge of the “affairs of her household”. No matter what the reason, it does seem that a family woman- with or without a paid employment- never stops working. Perhaps after knowing this now, the idea about women’s exploitation (as in, being taken advantage of) in our society is not so dubious anymore.

Decision-making in the family

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The noble-charactered wife is described by the Bible as someone willing and able to allocate resources without mentioning the need of her husband’s permission (which is different from opinion). She is supposed to apply her own criteria to ensure not only that the members of the household are well-provided for, but also to guarantee peace and harmony in the shared space (she provides… portions for her female servants), safety (her lamp does not go out at night), health (When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.) and it goes without saying that she is in charge of the general state of the home (She watches over the affairs of her household).
Again, according to Gary Becker, what the Bible considers a noble wife is the “altruistic” member of the family. That is, someone who takes into account the welfare of the other members of the household, thus benefitting the entire unit. Empirical studies have apparently proven that not all households have at least one altruistic member, but the University of the United Nations shares a theoretical conclusion that shows the opposite:
“Income in the hands of women has effects on household expenditure that differ from those of income in the hands of men (Thomas 1990, 1992; Hoddinot and Haddad 1991; Engle 1993). Income in the hands of women is associated with a larger increase in the share of the household budget devoted to human capital. The inputs and outcomes measuring human capital in various studies have included household services, health and education, leisure and recreation, as well as more quantitative and biological measurements of child height, weight for height, immunizations, survival, and nutrient intake. In theory at least, this finding implies that increases in employment opportunities for women will have a greater positive effect on child welfare (Folbre 1992) than similar increases for men.”

Other interesting findings from the University of United Nations:

  • Actual earning power or economic profitability to the family of women in the current generation influences the allocation of food, health, and educational resources to female children (the next generation).
  • Poor women household heads with low incomes will make great personal sacrifices to achieve favourable child outcomes (Bruce and Lloyd 1992). These studies, however, have been done in societies where such women are highly dependent on their children for future support.

Gender Issues

From an empirical point of view, there exists a great amount of pressure for wives to fit the society’s idea of “Super Woman” or “Super Wife” or “Super Mother”. How often have we judged a fellow woman when she does things differently in her house, with her children, in her relationship with her husband…?

This is not to say that the Bible passage encourages this animosity, but it did mention the additional responsibilities of wives which are: to make sure that she keeps herself good-looking (she is clothed in fine linen and purple), interesting (She speaks with wisdom; does not eat the bread of idleness) and it is implied that she has half of the responsibility for upholding the family honor (Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land).

This is all and well because the passage is supposedly talks about what an ideal wife is, but it would be wonderful for everyone to understand that such an ideal wife is exactly that- an idea.

This is to say then, that the real, live, breathing wives or women who are future wives are a work in progress. They need encouraging, they will fail some days but will triumph on more and they certainly do their best to fulfill their duties…  just like the real, live, breathing husbands or men who will be husbands in the future.

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 -the end-

*From what I’ve observed, most people shy away from reading the Bible because of some prejudiced concepts against women.

**When I suggested this in class one day, a Marxist classmate (may he rest in peace) asked me with a little bit of indignance: what kind of society would I like my children to grow up in, where a mother’s “love” is to be measured monetarily. He also asked whether I would be willing to turn something supposedly “humane” and priceless into another service or merchandise that could be exchanged at a given fee. Now older and myself a mother and housewife, I get the inkling that assigning a monetary value to a housewife’s production could be a way to start equating a woman’s salary to that of a man’s. After all (and this is not to agree with the neoliberals, but one has to know how to play this game) if a woman’s choice to leave the labor market and focus on caring for her family is one factor that widens the gender pay gap, why not continue giving measurable value to what she would do in her house? This way, there would be no vaccuum within her professional history because she would still be considered “productive”. And those years of being a homemaker would actually be considered as added experience in her curriculum.

***This presents a hole in the modern study of economics and I believe it is worth a deeper analysis. Women (and in some cases, men) who shift from being a paid professional to a homemaker do not necessarily become rusty and obsolete when it comes to all their skills. By channeling their efforts towards accomplishing a different kind of objective, they develop other abilities and could also be strengthening those that they already possess. For instance, an accountant-turned-housewife after years out of practice could turn outmoded in the latest software used in her field, but surely she has gained better organization and time management skills.

Sources:

  1. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+31%3A10-31&version=ESV
  2. https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%205:22-33
  3. http://www2.um.edu.uy/acid/family_economics/family%20economics%20and%20macro%20behaviour.pdf
  4. http://www.nber.org/papers/w9232.pdf
  5. http://www.nber.org/chapters/c2970.pdf
  6. http://archive.unu.edu/unupress/unupbooks/uu13se/uu13se04.htm
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_economics
  8. https://bfi.uchicago.edu/initiative/economics-family

Quel dommage !

Un grand merci à mon amie Super A d’avoir édité et reédité le texte. Por si no ha quedado claro, MUCHAS GRACIAS SUPER A!

Nous habitons dans une société où la plupart de nos besoins peuvent être satisfaits en échange d’une compensation. Cela veut dire que nous payons bien pour les services qui nous sont rendus, bien pour les produits et marchandises qu’il nous faut. C’est avec ce principe que le système capitaliste fonctionne : nous respectons ce qui est appelé le “prix” de quelque chose que nous voulons acquérir et nous procédons au règlement de la facture.

D’un côté, l’acheteur donne le montant précis à celui qui propose ses articles échangeables. De l’autre côté, le vendeur garantit la qualité de l’objet pour lequel l’acheteur a payé. C’est grâce à la confiance mutuelle (supposée) que nos intérêts sont protégés. En général, c’est cette même confiance qui nous permet  d’être contents et d’aspirer à un environnement sans conflit.

La semaine du 13 juin, j’ai accepté une proposition de travailler en tant que traductrice Filipino.

Une de mes connaissances m’a renvoyé un courriel d’une société de production audiovisuelle parisienne qui cherchait un “traducteur de Tagalog pour accompagner notre réalisatrice lors de son dérushage* les 13 et 14 juin, avec éventuellement un ou deux jours de plus”.

J’ai pensé que cette expérience serait intéressante pour moi. Principalement, j’avais envie de tester et de pratiquer ma capacité de parler français. Je pensais aussi à développer mes compétences et à faire une petite contribution au monde de la culture. De plus, c’était une façon de rester “en contact” avec mon pays d’origine.

Je n’ai même pas demandé tout de suite combien et comment je serais payée. Je faisais confiance aux qualités qui sont souvent attachées aux Français – le professionnalisme et le respecte scrupuleux des formes (selon le dictionnaire en ligne de Larousse : le formalisme). Bien sûr que la compensation est importante. Mais je ne suis pas une traductrice professionnelle, donc je me suis dit que tant qu’il me reste un petit peu d’argent après les charges et les autres dépenses (les billets de transport, le repas et le paiement de babysitter), cela vaudrait le coup.

Après avoir bien réfléchi, j’ai décidé que j’étais intéressée. Pourtant, je garde mon enfant de 8 mois et j’ai dû demander certaines conditions par rapport aux heures que j’allais travailler. Puisque la société était d’accord avec mes conditions, j’ai pris l’engagement.

Le premier jour de travail, au moment où je suis arrivée au bureau, j’aurais dû me dire que quelque chose n’allait pas bien.

Je veux dire :

  1. La personne avec qui j’ai parlé ne se trouvait pas au bureau. Il n’a même pas laissé un message à ses collègues et personne dans l’équipe de production n’était au courant qu’une traductrice viendrait ce jour-là. On remarque déjà un manque de formalisme.
  2. La réalisatrice est arrivée 20 minutes en retard sans laisser un mot aux assistantes/secrétaires. J’ai attendu sans savoir à quelle heure on allait commencer. J’ai été déconcertée par cette faiblesse de professionnalisme lors du premier jour de travail.
  3. J’ai commencé à travailler sans avoir rien signé. Je reconnais que la lucidité chez moi n’abondait pas non plus.
  4. J’ai dû attendre jusqu’à l’après-midi pour que quelqu’un puisse m’expliquer comment je serais payée. Comment ai-je pu supporter telle carence de formalisme et de professionnalisme sans rien dire ? Comment ai-je été si bête ?

Il est important que j’explique ma conversation avec le collègue de mon contact (Monsieur P) par rapport à la compensation : tout d’abord, la société ne paie pas un salaire mais il paie pour un concept de droits d’auteur**. Puis, le montant serait 100€ par jour, pour 8 heures de travail. À ce moment-là, j’ai clarifié que je ne travaillerais que 5 heures par jour. Il m’a dit qu’ils allaient me payer 100€ à partir de la 5ème heure travaillée et, sinon, 50€ (la moitié). J’ai fait un calcul rapide et j’ai décidé que cela irait. Un total de 380€ à peu près serait raisonnable.

Pour me rassurer, j’ai exprimé mes doutes : j’ai dit que j’avais l’impression qu’ils allaient faire un prorata (ou la partie proportionnelle) des heures que j’allais déclarer effectivement. Mais, monsieur a insisté qu’ils allaient calculer à partir de l’heure 5 pour payer les 100€.

Alors, même sans aucun document qui prouvait ce qu’il venait de dire, j’étais d’accord. J’ai pensé toujours au professionnalisme et au formalisme vantés par les gens d’ici (cela fait plus de 2 ans que j’habite à Paris, et pour cette raison je me considère crédible quand je dis ce genre de choses). Je me suis mise dans la salle de dérushages et j’ai commencé à traduire avec la réalisatrice.

Le temps passé dans la salle a été vraiment fructueux.

J’ai appris certains détails sur le journalisme qui semblaient banaux mais qui sont vitaux pour pouvoir faire un bon reportage. J’ai aimé cela. Surtout, le sujet du reportage était proche à mes souvenirs de l’enfance. Donc cela va de soi : je me suis amusée. En outre, je me suis sentie utile et productive.

Malheureusement, je n’étais pas capable de traduire tous les vidéos à ce moment-là. Il y a eu des problèmes techniques et j’ai eu des difficultés au moment de comprendre ce que les sujets voulaient dire (j’ai donc parlé avec la réalisatrice : les sujets ne parlaient pas dans leur langue maternelle et donc, elles utilisaient souvent des termes équivalents à “machin”, “truc”, “chose”, “bidule”, etc…).  Mais nous avons  trouvé une solution : ils m’ont envoyé les vidéos et j’ai continué les traductions chez moi.

Donc, j’ai travaillé. Il faut dire que quand je donne ma parole, je rends. J’ai dédié beaucoup de temps à finir les traductions et cela m’a pris un total de 20 heures travaillées, réparties sur 3 jours.

La réalisatrice ne m’a donné aucun feedback mais je suis convaincue d’avoir fait un bon travail : j’ai mis les time codes tous les 30-40 secondes environ, j’ai marqué les time codes pour la version originale et pour la version traduite, j’ai révisé mon travail et j’ai réécouté certaines parties des vidéos pour être sûre d’avoir bien compris. Surtout, j’ai envoyé les livrables ponctuellement… J’en étais fière.

À vrai dire, tout s’était bien passé jusqu’au moment du paiement.

J’ai reçu un virement dans mon compte bancaire de la société de production, mais le montant n’était pas celui que j’avais prévu. En fait, c’était presque la moitié de ce que j’avais calculé !

Immédiatement, j’ai contacté Monsieur P. Je lui ai posé la question et en effet, il m’a confirmé qu’il a fait un calcul du paiement proportionnel aux heures que j’ai déclarées. J’ai expliqué que son collègue m’avait affirmé qu’ils allaient faire justement le contraire. J’ai insisté sur ce point car, honnêtement, je n’aurais pas accepté le travail proposé si j’allais dépenser plus que ce que j’allais gagner. Nous avons fini la conversation, étant d’accord de la reprendre 2 jours plus tard après avoir clarifié avec son directeur comment il fallait calculer le paiement.

Monsieur P m’a demandé aussi de justifier pour quoi j’avais mis 3 jours pour faire une traduction de vidéos dont la durée n’est que 30 minutes. À mon avis cette demande d’explication est pertinente, surtout s’il s’agit de savoir comment régler une prestation de service. À ce titre, j’ai expliqué que comme je ne suis pas une traductrice professionnelle, j’ai dû transcrire toutes les conversations avant de pouvoir les traduire.

Néanmoins, il a dit quelque chose qui m’a tellement étonné : il lui a semblé que 3 jours pour traduire une conversation de 30 minutes était excessif. Alors, j’ai répondu disant, i) Il est possible que la réalisatrice puisse avoir oublié qu’elle m’avait demandé de traduire un autre fichier (vidéo) dont la durée était plus d’une heure, et ii) Qu’en fait “je garde mon enfant de 8 mois et cela ne me vaut pas la peine de faire quelques minutes de plus en échange d’un petit peu plus de rémunération.”

Finalement, il a dit que la société de production me paierait une journée de plus pour la semaine du 13 juin. Pour les autres traductions, je serais rémunérée pour 2 jours de travail. Il restait encore une demi-journée de travail à régler. Il m’avait expliqué pourquoi ils n’allaient pas me le payer. En toute vérité, je ne me souviens plus de ce qu’il m’a dit,  il y avait beaucoup de bruit en background (mais j’ai cru  avoir entendu quelque chose du type “Comme ça on est tous contents”). Peut-être j’étais déjà fatiguée et je me suis rendue compte que je commençais à perdre mon temps …

La réalisatrice a répondu aussi la question et elle m’a écrit, “… 13h pour traduire 30 minutes ça n est juste pas le taux horaire. Normalement 30 minutes c est une demijournée maximum. Donc je suis sure qu’il y a des circonstances personnelles mais on n avait absolument pas anticipé que ça vous prendrai autant de temps de traduire juste 30 minutes!

Le budget sur ce film est extrêmement limité; notre camerawoman a été payée 15 jours pour 22 de travail donc vraiment je pense qu’ils ont fait le maximum de ce qu’ils pouvaient.” (Est-ce mon problème?)

Je leur ai remercié et j’ai dit que je leur offrais les 4 heures travaillées comme si j’avais fait une activité de bienfaisance.

Fin de l’histoire concernant mes employeurs.

Je suis consciente que la responsabilité finale de garantir mes intérêts reste sur moi.

Je ne tiens pas quelqu’un d’autre coupable de cette mauvaise expérience. J’aurais dû clarifier tout ce qui était lié à la rémunération avant d’avoir commencé à travailler. Je me suis trompée d’avoir fait trop de confiance. Eh bien ! lesson learned. Mais, c’est dommage.

C’est dommage parce que maintenant je me sens découragée de reprendre une proposition de traduction avec cette société de production.  En plus, j’ai la responsabilité de donner un préavis à tous ceux qui pensent à faire ce type de travail. Si vous êtes intéressés, laissez-moi un message et je vous donnerais plus de détails.

C’est dommage car le bon sens dicte de respecter le prix accordé pour une prestation de service bien rendue (j’ai parlé plusieurs fois avec eux et ils n’ont jamais été mécontents de mon travail). En fait, c’est exactement ce que je fais avec la babysitter de mon enfant. Je veux dire : puisque je suis contente de son travail, je lui paie respectant le prix que nous avons accordé dès le premier jour.

C’est dommage parce que j’ai pensé qu’une petite entreprise gérée par des jeunes professionnels récompenserait intègrement le travail acharné.

Surtout c’est dommage car je n’ai pas trop observé la pratique ni du professionnalisme, ni du formalisme. Et donc, j’ai pris conscience que ces qualités ne sont pas du tout liées à la nationalité sinon à la personne elle-même.

Fin de mon histoire.

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Il me semble qu’au moins, dans le générique du reportage ils pourraient mettre mon nom et prénom avec de grosses lettres et, même en rouge. Comme ça :

Responsables de Traduction

Elena Gnou del Bosque

Kho Jones

KARESSA RAMOS AGUINOT

 

 

Ver imagen original

Image courtesy of: http://inciclopedia.wikia.com

* Le dérushage est la première étape du montage d’un programme audiovisuel ; cela consiste à sélectionner les séquences à utiliser lors du montage, appelés rushes et à les transférer sur la plate-forme de montage (Wikipédia).

** En fait, au lieu d’un bulletin de paie je recevrais une note de droits d’auteur pour la présenter avec la déclaration de revenus l’année prochaine.

 

 

Things I’d Tell My Career Coach (if I had one)

One of my greater weaknesses is that I don’t know how to express my professional achievements. In some way, my cultural background might have had a little influence on this defect.

As I was growing up, me and my peers were discouraged to mention any praise towards ourselves and we were careful not to sound too boastful about our qualities; lest we wanted to be branded as airheaded kids. The expression in Tagalog literally translates as “Don’t carry your own bench” (“Huwag kang mabuhat ng sarili mong bangko”).

Apparently this saying is derived from Proverbs 27:2 which means “let not your own mouth praise you”. This passage was supposed to teach humility but I guess the elders of our yesteryears weren’t keen on differentiating between self-praise and self-esteem, both of which I believe are healthy practices, given that they are done in moderation.

If I listened to that kind of advice, then who will carry my own bench if not me? isn’t that why it is referred to as “my own”? Therefore, the responsibility clearly falls upon me. The bench of course, is a metaphor of one’s qualities and good traits and to carry it means to lift it higher from everyone else’s perspective so it could be seen and maybe even appreciated.

In my opinion, as long as truths are being told, there should be no harm in letting people know what a good-quality bench you own. Who knows? upon seeing it, others could be inspired to improve themselves and achieve the same things…

Old habits are hard to break but I believe that technique and practice could overcome any kind of quirk. I’m coming up with an actual list of achievements with which to further attract recruiters.

Another thing I’ve been bothered about is the dichotomy of Competence and Warmth. I mention this in relation to the job interviews I’ve recently had  (and did not pass- tee hee!) and which of the two aspects I tend to project more.

Ever since I read this article from the INSEAD Knowledge page, it has been months since it got me to thinking about my own “communicator profile”. Although I don’t believe in the strict definition of people’s personalities, the content of that post has helped me better understand my own self.

What has been an eye-opener is that during an experiment, the research team found out that listeners- or those on the receiving end of a communication- with a feeling of high power lean towards messages emphasizing competence and skills. While “low-power” audiences prefer those which projected warmth and established connection.

Looking back, the interviews I’ve had were for jobs which demanded high level of competence and efficiency. The interviewers were, consequently people who perceive themselves powerful. However, in all of them I gravitated towards projecting more warmth than competence.

As in the case of self-esteem, this could also be a product of the different “happy” and “warm” cultures I grew up in… which is a very safe and comfortable reaction, if you ask me. But realistically, there comes a point where the individual makes the choice of acting a certain way or another.

In my situation, it was my conscious decision to show competence and warmth at the same time. But being a naturally warm person, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up projecting more of the latter than the former.

The reason for all this is that I’ve learned to value good companionship over competence through the years. This is not to say I don’t value competence. Simply put, I find that competence is already measureable by various technical assessments. If the recruitment team wanted to test my knowledge on a subject matter, they would find ways to subtly or openly do so. The results would then speak for themselves.

On the contrary, good characteristic traits, one’s quality as a team player or an open attitude for learning…? 30 minutes is not enough to display all those! Such a feat would require a good grasp of some tough interpersonal skills. Personality tests can only reveal so much…

Before any misunderstanding takes place, let me clarify by saying that I do not consider myself able to demonstrate all those qualities in my past interviews. What I’m trying to say is right now, I’m working towards achieving it. Hence, another reason for the higher warmth-competence projection ratio. Given that the technical part of the jobs I apply for is already familiar to me, I have decided to allot more time and resources in bettering another set of abilities that could also enrich me as a person in the meantime.

I must be doing something wrong, though. Because I never got a call back from the interviewers.

Finally I would like to let you know that ever since Brexit, I’ve been itching to write to this Senior Researcher from one of my job interviews to tell her, “I told you so”. She asked me about my opinion on the EU and if I believed it would stand the various crises it is facing right now. I told her I didn’t think so.

Yes, I admit that I lacked eloquence at the moment but I would so terribly like to ask about her opinion on the EU now. Her nationality of course is a tell-tale sign that she’s pro-EU. She wasn’t convinced of my response as to why I wasn’t optimistic about it, yet when I returned the question her answer was even more vague. I was thinking: perhaps in the light of the recent events she could find better words to defend her stance.

Would you advise me against it, or should I follow my heart? (or instinct, or thirst for knowledge, or that part of me that wants to tell her “neener neener neener”)

 

Featured Young Talent: Carmen Zaragoza

One of my greatest sources of pride is the kind of friends I have acquired through the years. At first, I believed I nurtured relationships with kind, intelligent, driven and dynamic persons because of what influence they could have on me. Now, as a mother, I realize that even better than having great friends around me is that my son will be surrounded by marvelous people who will guide him and encourage him to constantly strive for excellence.

Successful people under the age of 30 start to be appreciated through Forbes lists, featured interviews and awards. There is, however, a larger number of young professionals who are too busy to enlist themselves to even be considered for these types of recognition. These are individuals who are just as committed, as ambitious and as industrious as those who are publicly acknowledged. For this reason, I considered shining a spotlight on one of them whom I had the great honor to meet, learn from and think with.

Carmen Zaragoza is a 29-year old professional in the microfinance sector. She is a silent but strong source of ideas, hard work and fierce determination.

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She left her native Puerto Rico because of her aspiration to earn a Master’s Degree in Spain. After considering that she finished her major in her home country, worked in Argentina and did an internship in Brazil, it was time for a change of continent. So, armed with her hard-earned savings and thirst for learning, she boarded a flight to Madrid in 2010.

The main reason she chose the capital city was because the degree that interested her offered a program that suited what she was looking for (Máster en Microfinanzas para el Desarrollo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid). Contrary to what people may first think, she doesn’t have any relatives in Spain and her support system consists of her long-time partner, Iván (with whom she came to Madrid and with whom she’s living since then), and in the distance, she counts on her family specially her mother and her aunt.

You may notice that we’re in the year 2016- that is to say, 6 years since Carmen arrived and started her Master’s Degree. She stayed. She stayed because of the opportunities available and the quality of life. She says, “Madrid is safe, I can walk at night, and public transportation is reliable…”

So many things have happened since she graduated. One of them is the fact that she’s on her way to obtaining Spanish citizenship. But for me, the most significant moment during the past years was the day I interviewed her for an internship position at the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA). Then and there, she displayed wit and showed her resolve to work in the microfinance sector. Had I not seen her résumé, I would have thought she was just one of those “fresh graduates” who’s scouting for a first job. Little did I know she already had a lot of knowledge and insight on microcredits- and from work experience, too!

Carmen has been generous enough to share some of her experiences and thoughts with Colorfulifesite, so perhaps it’ll be better if I give her the floor in this post.

On her studies and chosen profession…

K: What made you study your major?

C: My father’s family is full of accountants so it has become some sort of a “family” thing and I’ve always known I would study Accounting.

But I wasn’t happy about accounting, so I started to study another major, in Economics, because it gave me perspective and a broader view and understanding of what was happening in my country. But of course, I couldn’t leave it unfinished so I completed both majors, and I don’t regret it.

K: What made you want to work in microfinance? What was your first experience in the field?

C: My mom is a lawyer and a finance professor. She also has done research papers and works with micro-entrepreneurship and cooperatives in the field of economic development. That’s how I was introduced to microfinance. (I took Yunus’ book from her library.) Through her I learned that microfinance is a “leg” of a different way of economy, the social economy.

I started to search for jobs related to economic development; I even took the Yellow Pages and searched for a job in that field. In my last year of University I was hired as a loan officer in a Corporation in PR that gives credit to small businesses.

K: And what exactly do you do now? Can you briefly walk us through your current project?

C: Now I am the project leader of Distribution Channels at the Commercial Development and Innovation Department of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation.

The project is focused on how to bring the products and services of the Foundation’s entities to clients in an efficient, sustainable and innovative way; with the objective to reduce transactional costs for both the entities and the vulnerable entrepreneurs*. This is where mobile banking would come in, for example.

K: Sounds fun!

C: Hehehe! It is really interesting!

K: Can you describe your day-to-day routine at the office? What kind of tasks keep you busy?

C: I can divide my day perfectly between morning and afternoon. In the morning, I take my time to organize my tasks and duties, to do research and analysis, brainstorm, to prepare meetings, and exchange information and plans with other areas.

I dedicate time to learn about each country’s best practices and figuring out how we could adapt it to other countries (the FMBBVA is present in Latin America).

I also do a lot of market research, I perform a lot of economic and viability analysis and we give feedback as requested by our colleagues (in the Americas). We try to find innovative ways of doing things that can contribute to achieve our Mission. A lot has already been invented; it’s just a matter of picking what’s best for your need and adapting it for your own use.

In the afternoon, I go to a lot of meetings and videoconferences so it’s good that we can concentrate most of them after lunch.

On her ambitions: the ones fulfilled, as well as those still in the making…

K: The way I see it, you are now in a place where not many people your age would even imagine exploring (After all, you hold a double major, you’re a Magna Cum Laude with a stable job as Project Leader and you’re almost a European citizen…). Let’s refer to it as a “peak”. But, do you feel you’ve reached a peak or two at this moment of your life? If so, what other peaks have you to conquer?

C: This was a tough question for me. I really found it hard to answer. I think I’ve done some things in my life but I still have a lot to do. I’m just building the ground to continue conquering peaks. It’s the process that makes this adventure interesting…

K: I’ve had the pleasure of knowing you for 6 years, and I don’t recall hearing you say “I would like to be ‘boss’ in 10 years’ time”, or anything similar.

C: I mean, I can work for that but it’s not my ultimate objective. If that happens, it’s because I believe I can use that position to contribute to something, to make a change.

I manage to “just go with the flow”. If I plan too much, things don’t usually happen. We just can’t control everything. It’s different in PR, where I know that if I planned, I could be in a certain position given my age and experience.

Things are more difficult here in Spain (in that sense). I don’t know why. Well, as in Latin America there’s a lot of macho attitude. (In the past) I struggled a lot, “fighting” against the system so now I just decided to do my best and be as perfect as I can, knowing that “getting” to a certain position doesn’t entirely depend on me.

I think I’m going to conquer peaks; one of those would be developing something of my own in PR, But for now, my purpose is to learn, to take lessons for myself, for my curriculum and enjoy every opportunity.

K: What’s your ultimate dream? And what are you currently doing to reach it?

C: Personally I want to travel and continue gaining as much experience as I can. Given the (dream) project that we want to develop, we need to have an open mind. Travelling will give me the tools to have a wider perspective on issues and not be too judgmental. To work in microfinance and towards social and financial inclusion, you really need to have an open mind.

To reach it, I make it a point to not forget that it’s my ultimate dream. Keeping it in mind helps you reach your goals, I think.

K: Is this life what you imagined for yourself 10 or 15 years ago?

C: Never. I never imagined this life. 14 years ago my dad died and a couple of years after his death, I found out that I share the same condition. I’m not going to die just yet (laughs nervously), but my life turned around completely at 15- with the problems that it caused personally and at home. That had a huge impact in my life. I started to have more perspective and knowing that your life was good and suddenly realize “what the hell?” (it) helped me become flexible and more adaptable to changes.

The happiness is in the experiences, I believe. This motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. To not create necessities, enabling me to adapt to life’s situations and take and enjoy every opportunity that life has to offer.

“Past Carmen” would be shocked if I (“Present Carmen”) went back in time and tell her all the things that I’ve done. (Hahaha!)

K: Will you go back to PR? Why?

C: Definitely yes, but I’m not sure when, because I would really like to develop something related to social economy and microfinance in partnership with my mother. In the long-term, I’m also thinking of developing something with my boyfriend. He’s a psychologist specialized in drug addiction so we’re thinking of combining our fields and perhaps build something geared towards rehabilitation and social and economic inclusion.

carmenivan

But that’s still quite far because to do so, we need to gain more experience. We can’t just go back and “try” or “experiment” to see if our ideas would work. We’d have to deal with real lives and real problems

On other thoughts to ponder…

K: Define success

C: For me, success could also be found in the process of achieving your goals. Sometimes you don’t achieve them but you have to take things that you learn along the way. I have the curriculum I possess because I took chances. I was flexible. I’ve always believed that in life, sooner or later things fall into place no matter how chaotic everything might seem.

But what’s really important to me is to take the journey and achieving your goals without taking advantage of anybody- not taking down anyone or pushing people down in the process. I believe in solidarity.

K: Do you consider yourself successful? Why or why not?

C: It depends on the day. Some days I feel good about myself, but other days not that much. The days I feel successful help me to have more confidence in myself, the days I don’t help me to see things I need to improve on and try to work on them.

K: That is the most intelligent answer I have ever heard to that question so far.

C: Really? Why?

K: Feelings are a spectrum and life is dynamic, I believe. A clear description makes us feel secure but feelings? It’s not a static concept, nor can you keep it inside a well-defined box. That just sounded unstable (Hahahaha!) I don’t know…

C: Yes, I know, it might sound psycho to some. But that’s also how I see it.

K: What defining moment made you say to yourself, “I am where I want to be!”?

C: The moment I started working as a loan officer for micro and small businesses, I realized I could combine economics with a more social view. For me it was good to know that I was helping people develop their businesses and that the loans I granted gave them access to financing, and that was directly impacting my country’s economy. It was great! It was then when I decided this is what I want to do.

K: Who is your mentor?

C: My mother, Carmen Correa. I’m very lucky to have her not just as a mother and best friend, but also as my colleague, as we both call each other.

carmenes

K: What most important lessons did your mentor teach you?

C: To have social awareness and integrity.

Social awareness for me is important because it helps you to always find a meaning of what you’re doing. We’re not thinking only of ourselves and that motivates you to be responsible, because what you do will have an effect on others.

As for integrity, I’d always blame my mom for making me “too honest”. But I’m not really the type of person who would befriend someone just to benefit from that relationship. Nor would I say “yes” to everything a superior would tell me just so I would be considered for a job promotion. It’s not my style. But I go to bed at night with a clear conscience and peace of mind.

K: Would you consider mentoring someone?

C: Yes, why not? If he or she finds me as a role model, that’s good. I laugh at my friends who tell me they follow my footsteps. But if there’s anything I can share with other people who think they can learn something from me, I won’t hesitate. If life would offer me a chance to mentor someone, I would consider it as a way of giving back…

In the Foundation, my first boss was a sort-of mentor to me. He would tirelessly answer each and every question I ask him. Sometimes he answers me with another question…

K: That’s because he wants you to think for yourself.

C: Yes! And I consider myself very fortunate for having had his guidance during my first years in the Foundation.

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K: What would be your mentee’s first lesson?

C: Among other things, I would tell him/her to be curious, to ask. You can learn from everyone, from a farmer, or a banker… be open to learn new things. Never assume you know everything.

-the end-

 

* Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of changes in the environment. Therefore, vulnerable entrepreneurs are the socially and economically “weak” individuals exposed to livelihood stress as a result of different impacts from climate change, economic slowdown or crisis and/or environmental and man-made emergency disasters.