18 October 2005

(I'm trying to decide how much detail is OK to include in a public blog. I'm guessing not a lot, at least for now...)
so, last Friday was my last day at the big company I used to work for. I think the decision to leave was one of the hardest ones I ever made, and yet I also think it was one of the better decisions. I wasn't too happy, and they were noticing, so they weren't too happy; nobody was happy! which isn't to say that it was all a big sobfest. au contraire. (Morticia, you spoke French!)
I worked with a lot of great people, and as the week unravelled I realized how much I was going to miss them. I also liked the job I did, but, truth be told, I didn't love it. yes, there were other issues involved, but as Jerome Kerns reminded us all, you have to ac-cen-tu-ate the positive, e-lim-i-nate the negative!
so I consulted my tea leaves and this is what they said: Canadian emigration is about to become a waiting game (we're thinking the move will be in late 2006 or early 2007) so staying at a full-time position doesn't necessarily make sense. when you work full-time, they kinda like you to plan for the future, and when you don't have a future to plan for...
in addition, I figured it was time to do something I knew I was better at. something more creative, yet challenging. most people don't consider translation to be that something, but I've been working as a translator on and off since 1990 and I have to say it is something I have never gotten bored with. always something new. looking back at my most recent freelance jobs, I translated into English promotional materials for a tire company and an AV manufacturer, game scripts, transcribed a series of spirituals and then translated them into Japanese and then edited a series of environmental impact reports that had been translated by someone else. just switching your mindset to work in the different vocabulary milieux (while looking up the proper plural for that word--thank you Google) is a creative challenge...
so now, I'm doing it as a contractor. as a freeter, I suppose.
what's that, you ask? well, the Japanese word for contractor is arubaito, which is based on the German word for worker: arbeiter. but it's not a fun word. and it implies a lengthy contract. mine is just six months (with an option to extend it for another six, if all goes well). so the Japanese have another word for someone who's halfway between contracting and total all-out freelance (the ultimate destiny): freeter (spelled more like friita in Japanese, but you get the drift).
and yesterday was day one of the new freeter life.
and who knew? it comes with a bike!
seriously, I decided to bike to my new place of contract employment. Hiro helped refit my old Giant with a new seat, and he refilled the tires for me, and yesterday morning, off I went. there's a bike path between our condo complex and the new office. probably less than two miles. takes about twenty minutes each way. little hills at the start and end, so I arrive both at work and home (especially home, 'cause I carry the bike back upstairs to the condo) with a sheen of perspiration ('cause only horses sweat!), but it felt good. Hiro was so nervous 'cause I hadn't ridden outdoors in a long time, and I don't yet have those thingies for your pants cuffs, so he envisioned me falling after snagging my pants in the gears. didn't happen. :)
and the new job is a nice change. so far, here's how I think it's going to work: I arrive at work, they send me an assignment, I do it. after many years away from it, I am using Trados again, and it comes with project management capabilities, so jobs are assigned and checked in through the software. and I forgot how nice it is to have suggestions as you translate. the AI looks at the database and says, oh, this sentence is like one you (or someone else) already translated. here's what you did before. nice. color-coded too, so you can tell when the original is a perfect match with another sentence, or when it is what they call a fuzzy match.
there are currently two other contractors working in the same office with me (in a space that probably once housed some exec...) and more are going to come on board soon they say. crunch time is coming, which means possible overtime. which is, as Martha would say, a very *good* thing.
what do I translate? well, I can't tell you that. it's very technical, but I have to say it's fun so far.
the new company is much smaller than where I used to work, but there's a nice-looking cafeteria down the hall (with a Starbucks--praise heaven!), and some very nice people working there besides me. one of them knew me from my Japan days. how serendipitous!
and, Hiro is going to be so happy, there's a company store where even us lowly contractors can shop! can you say Christmas?
I decided to blog this for a while because it'll be some time before things settle down enough to let me get back to photography and art, and I also figured people might want to know more about my new life. I do. :)
check back in tomorrow. the posting will be shorter, but hopefully with good things to report.

Best of luck in your new job Brian! We'll miss you here, that's for sure.
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