Day 252 – 258
First thing’s first, the Sunday of this week was the Man-shape’s birthday! I know it is late on the blog (it was on the 9th) but I can assure you, I definitely said it to him directly on the day:
“Happy birthday honey! I wish you a coming year that is everything you hope for and more. You deserve the good times now. I love you very much. x”
Week three into my new working life, new career and I can safely say working for myself has its pros & cons. The pro’s are mostly what I expected. I am working less hours. I am doing something I enjoy, I worked hard a long time to get here. I have a little bit of control about what I do (just now that includes doing almost every job offered to me when I am not already booked).
The cons I was expecting were, delays in payment, interpreting subjects I didn’t enjoy and potential boredom during practical work when I am basically put into “standby” mode. The delay in payment has been a problem. As I write this, nearly 3 weeks later, I still haven’t received payment for a single job I have done since my first meeting on 09Aug… It is rapidly becoming a massive problem. My job seekers allowance benefit has stopped. I have had to ask for help from other sources. It sucks. It is a strange feeling, I’m working away but I still feel like I can’t really do anything or let my hair down even a little because the money hasn’t come yet. More on this in a later post.
Interpreting subjects I don’t enjoy hasn’t really been a problem. I have quite a high boredom threshold too which is lucky. In some of the practical subjects I can read on my phone or just watch what is going on around me and let my mind drift. They haven’t been cons at all.
There have been two cons I just didn’t see coming. The first is the nose dive my confidence has taken initially. One of my students decided to push me, test me a little, start correcting my signing. I was already struggling a little working with this student. He does the sign language equivalent of a mumble and often jumps topics with no warning (he has other issues in addition to his deafness). The first couple of weeks I was getting the general idea of what he was saying most of the time but if I had to actually do a translation back I’d have been lucky to get 30%. A few weeks on, getting to know him better I’d estimate I’m up to about 70% comprehension of him. That isn’t good enough, I am VERY sure of that. But I can say, hand on heart, we were never taught how to deal with this kind of signing either at university or any other course I have done. My mission by the end of his first year is to get to >95% of what he says. That is going to take trust on both sides, work from me and a big injection of confidence.
The confidence knock that not getting what that student was saying spilled over into other jobs, other students. I have been second guessing myself, not engaging in conversations with the Deaf students unless I had to. Slowly I am pushing myself out of that mindset, but it has been harder than I expected. If I don’t, it’ll never get better.
The second of the cons I didn’t predict was how lonely this job can get sometimes. I am seeing more human beings and interacting with them most days now than in the weeks I was unemployed. In the college I spend most of my time (2.5 days per week) I am viewed as part of the Learner Services team. They greet my when I arrive, and we have chit chat when we can. They are a lovely bunch. The other colleges I work in I am not part of a team at all. I go in, do my job and leave. As great as that first learner services team are, my breaks happen when the student has his break, their breaks are when the students are in classes (because they need to be available for the students). Most days my break times and lunch times I am on my own, having something to eat, messaging someone, writing or exploring my surroundings.
I’m an only child. I am used to and enjoy my own company. It took me a few days (over 3 weeks) to figure out what was missing, why I didn’t feel right.
During the time I was unemployed and before, when I interacted with people it was for every day random chit chat. We talked about what was going on in our lives, things we’d seen in the news or on tv, random and varied stuff. Now I am either being the middle man in someone else’s conversation (ie. doing my job of being an interpreter) or I am talking to someone about the people or topic I have just been doing interpreting for. I was busier and still not receiving money so I wasn’t seeing friends or family as often. I was starved of everyday conversations. I felt lonely. I feel sorry for my mum and the Man-shape, they got the full force of me, desperately wanting to talk, regardless of if the timing was right for chit chat or not. I was a bit clingy and needy and, at first, I didn’t even realise I was doing it.
Once I identified that feeling for what it was I have started to calm down a bit (well, as much as I ever will, I’m not exactly shy and retiring normally). I am trying my best to get in touch with friends and make plans even if they aren’t happening right away. I need pennies to be able to do more. So friends and family, get ready for random phone calls, texts emails and more visits to be arranged. I do much better when I can play with other people a little more.
ps. I’m still an only child so alone time is important to me too. Balance is key. (but I reserve the right to retreat into my cave for a few hours here and there!)