Monday, September 28, 2009

My career and education options

After five years at university, I finally finished my degree last June. I’ve spent the summer bumming around, on holiday, enjoying myself and trying to figure out what to do with myself now. I’m very grateful for the fact that I live at home and don’t have to pay any bills and that my university education was free (Europe and America should pay attention to that detail); otherwise I would be in serious financial straits by now.

As it is, I am penniless with too much free time on my hands and I need to do something about it. My options are as follows:

1 – Masters degree: I can enrol in a Masters program at my old university. I have to take an entrance exam on the 13th of October and then it will depend on whether or not I am accepted.

2 – English teacher: I received a job offer at the beginning of the summer to work at a friend’s English Institute teaching foreign speakers. I don’t think that teaching is what I’m interested in, but, you never know, may be it could be a good thing. The experience would be valuable at any rate, and I would have to be trained up by them.

3 – Managing Translator: I’m not sure how to label this job, hence the not-very-obvious-or-descriptive title. Basically, I received a job offer from a friend who runs a translation company to organise and manage Arabic/French/English translations from here. I would have to hire a few translators and proofreaders, send them work and oversee it getting back to the clients. She would take care of the money side of things as well as advertising and be there to talk me through the whole thing. I think this is the most exciting and challenging offer I have – but the responsibility for someone (me) who has practically no experience in the business is insane. I know that she would support me and that she knows what she’s doing, but I’ve done so little translation work that I don’t feel like I know what I’m dealing with in the area. I need more experience in the industry at the basic translation level before I can progress to the business side of things.

4 – Translator: I’m thinking of sending my CV off to some publishing houses, especially the Islamic publishing houses and seeing if there are any translation jobs available that I could do from home, via internet (there’s no reason why not).

5 – Writing: Yeah, I’m thinking of writing as a career. I can’t believe that I’ve reached this decision as I have always been more of a science/maths person than a languages person and I made up my mind a long time ago that I don’t like writing. That said, I don’t dislike it and sometimes I actually do enjoy it. I’m not like my mum who actually finds writing relaxing, but it is something that I could do regularly. The only thing is I would have to practice more, develop my writing skills and try to become disciplined with it. And with my track record: that’s not very likely. But it is possible. This blog will be the true test of that.

I’ve decided to try almost everything. I am going to:
- take the Masters entrance exam,
- take the teaching job if it’s still available,
- ask my friend who offered me the whole managing translation job if she’ll hire me to do French-English translations and proofreading to gain some experience,
- Email my CV to some of the publishing houses and see what feedback I get.
- Try to maintain my blog regularly for the few months. If I manage that, and feel that my writing is somewhat improved, I may begin looking for some paid work online.

I’d also like to get my driving licence this year (that’s subject to getting a job) and maybe enrolling in some classes at the local Centre de Formation (technical college). I am thinking of doing one or all of the following: dressmaking, patisserie classes and – if they offer them – cooking classes, especially in French or Italian cuisine. I don’t like Algerian cuisine, so I would not be interested in anything like that. In addition, I may take up French in the New Year, who knows.

All summer I felt crippled by having so many options, not know which to take and being afraid of making the wrong choices, but now that I have been able to think about things and really consider them, I feel quite excited by my prospects. And dare I say optimistic too?

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