How much am I worth to you?

I was contacted today by an agency that is applying for translation jobs at the EU. In February this budding agency sent me a French translation exam that I passed with flying colours (wasn’t asked to take an English test) and today I was asked to supply them with additional documents about my professional experience as a translator and evidence of translation projects I worked on for the past well 20 or so years (even though I sent them my CV and all the effing certificates and diploma copies months ago) for a supposed part-time assignment that I would lend with them that pays not more than €6 per page of expert technical translation. To translate it for you it is the worth of about an hour and half of work (depending on the complexity of text) for a slice of pizza.
There was a time in past years that I was desperate enough to think that I would do it, that I would do any kind of job from fear that the government will sell or bankrupt the company I work for, even though I learned from the yellow pages that ironing job pays twice as much. Too bad that I have never learned to iron well.
Well, it may be the fact that in my adult life I was never paid so little for a translation job or that my fear of loosing my regular job has worn out, or most probably the reason is that I have realised that doing things one hates only puts one’s life and health at risk, and most of all my bad hand that made me absent for a week from my blog, but I finally said “No” to this person who is trying to make a profitable company using other’s intellectual labour. Don’t be surprised with so much elaborating, explaining and justifying on my part – this was the first time in my life that I said “no” to a job within my professional capacities.
The EC forecasts for Croatia are disastrous, but does this mean that I should ruin my health and what little has left of my peace of mind for a possibility of a part-time commitment to something that would not even pay for my monthly commuting?
There, it does not matter if you read it or not. Who cares will read it and maybe you will understand what is going on in my distracted mind at the moment.

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54 thoughts on “How much am I worth to you?

  1. The world is full of bastards who either get access to sources of employment or direct access, and then set about fleecing others in order to make unfair profits. If everyone took your stand and refused to go along with it, then everyone would be much better off: the ‘entrepreneurs’would soon find they had to offer sensible fees or go without anyone to send along.
    Hang in there, Paula …

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    • Spanish too, and Italian just to get by, but I will learn it better. I now have my language blog if you ever want to enroll in my course 😀 Thank you, Meg from the bottom of my heart.

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  2. Paula I am standing up and loudly cheering ” Good for you!!!” Life is far too short to endanger one’s health for work. We can always imagine the what ifs but often in the worrying we make ourselves sick. Bravo I say!!

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  3. Since we “met” for the first time – maybe I teased you a bit from time to time, when the chance was there – but have never doubted that you had the right ingredients behind your pretty facade – I’ve said it too – and will continue to do so – yes yes perfect, my favorite croatian girl has learned to say no – great – I don’t know so much about translation as business – but know quite a lot about leadership and on management – which has been a direct part of my life for quite a lot of years – know that there are many asxxxles on that level… :-/

    So “take care of yourself, believe in yourself and be true to yourself”… 🙂

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  4. That´s the best thing you can do, but it´s plain rude to make you do these tests and put in your effort to come up with a proposal like that! Well done, keep your mind sane and stay healthy!
    Best to you,
    Ron

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    • Hello Ron, I really appreciate your words here. Yes, it was rude of them to ask so my effort and engagement on my part. You know how difficult things at my work are, and I may end without my main job eventually, but I can’t afford to have a second job under these conditions. If I ruin my hand, it will be impossible for me to land any type of job, permanent or part-time. Your support means a lot 🙂

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  5. Paula, I’m absolutely with you on this. You mustn’t allow your great linguistic talents to be exploited by these mean and greedy people. Wishing you good luck with finding work which pays what you are worth. Take good care of your health, it’s very precious. *hugs*

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  6. I can totally understand you turning down this job – what an insult to your skills, professionalism and experience. I hope you get a great job with great pay in the very near future.

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    • This is very kind of you Suzanne. For now I am just hoping that I will not lose the job I have despite all the threats that the company will go bankrupt or closed down. Thank you so much, dear.

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  7. I totally agree with you here Paula. These people are really insulting you and good riddance of them! Your health and peace of mind is way more important than their measly ‘peanuts’. We always say here in South Africa : ‘You want to pay peanuts, then put up with monkeys.” You and your health is all that matters hon and yes, finances are bad and good jobs are just as scarce here where we live, but no amount of money can make up for all the stress that some jobs can give you. Good for you hon! You should start your own translating courses and let people pay you what you are worth. 😀 ♥ Hugs ♥

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  8. Bonjour Paula,
    Et puisqu’il s’agit de français profitons-en 🙂
    Je viens de lire ton article intéressant et courageux via la traduction google pas terrible 😀
    Je te souhaite d’arriver à tes objectifs. En ce moment ce n’est guère facile dans aucun pays. La “bataille” est rude. Je te souhaite d’y arriver avec force et courage. La devise aux Pays-Bas, je suis Néerlandaise aussi est : Je maintiendrai.
    En Belgique : L’union fait la force 🙂 Je suis Belge d’origine Néerlandaise, Bruxelloise et Française.
    En tout cas courage, succès, et chance pour ce début.
    Amitiés.

    Hello Paula,
    And for French language enjoy it 🙂
    I just read your article interesting and courageous via google translation not terrible: D
    I wish you to reach your goals. Right now it is not easy in any country. The “battle” is tough. I wish you to get there with strength and courage. The currency in the Netherlands is: I will keep. My father was Dutch.
    Belgium: Unity makes strength 🙂 I am Belgian original Dutch, French and Brussels.
    Anyway courage success and luck for the beginning.
    Friendships.
    Geneviève

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    • C’est tres gentil Genevieve :). Alors, tu habites Belgique? Quand j’attends parler de Belgique cela me fait penser a Jacques Brel 🙂 Je te remercie de m’avoir lue et pour tes bons voeux 🙂 Amicalement, Paula

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      • J’ai habité jusqu’à mes 54 ans en Belgique soit en 2004. Je m’y suis mariée avec mon mari Bordelais et depuis lors j’habite dans cette belle ville qu’est Bordeaux. Et oui Jacques Brel mon chanteur préféré. Comment pourrait-ce être autrement ? 🙂

        I lived until I was 54 years in Belgium in 2004. I married my husband who was born in Bordeaux and since 2004 I live in this beautiful city of Bordeaux. And yes my favorite singer is Jacques Brel. How could it be otherwise? 🙂

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  9. Well done, I have much sympathy for your predicament. I have never managed to earn more than a basic salary. I have plenty of education and some expertise, but academics, especially women starting late don’t do well. And yes, measured by the hours actually worked, ironing would have paid better.

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  10. Bravo to you! While I understand a startup company trying to keep the costs in check, I applaud your choice to stand up for yourself and finally put yourself first. Where you deserve to be 😉

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  11. I started with this one, Paula, because I responded to your birthday message this morning ( 🙂 ) and don’t know if you will see it. And I wanted to know what’s going on! I’m with Cardinal, loud and clear, but if you’d like me to say it more nicely, Drake’s version is pretty good. Hugs, darlin’. Hope you’re making good progress.

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      • I simply meant that I hope you’re feeling better and less stressed, Paula, after your ‘week out’. Since you’ve joined a new challenge I’m imagining you’re using this as therapy and just getting on with life and enjoying it as best you can. I hope so.

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        • Thank you, one would expect that stress would lessen, but my work is piling up if I am not around and less stress is difficult to achieve with growing problems in my company and country. Now, I have a persistent problem I need to be aware of and careful about as I need my hand to earn my daily bread and sometimes it is just not possible for me to go on typing.

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          • I understand. Can you wear a support (as in arthritis) to minimise the discomfort, or is it purely a matter of rest? That last is difficult I grant you. Wish I had some answers, Paula.

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            • It would make it impossible for me to write, and I need to type cause of work. It is a lot of work to produce 15 pages of translation every day, and I must do everything I can not to lose my job.

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              • No easy answers! Does your husband have a secure job? I’m sure you keep an eye on the job market for opportunities. Is there a possibility that you could work abroad or is that not an option you would consider?
                I’m sorry for your troubles, Paula.

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  12. I could very well relate to how you feel now, as I am in a similar situation in life… Kind of, at the cross roads.

    Need to decide, whether to continue my boring work in the IT industry or to pursue something I really enjoy doing.

    There are jobs at hand which pays well but takes out all our time and drain us of all the energy… I could resist it for some a few months, but not sure how long….

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    • I see, Sreejith. I wish everybody could do the job they like. My reason for saying now was cause it pays less than anything I did so far (and I should not undersell myself) and cause my hand hurts too much to have two jobs – to work two shifts. It is good to hear that jobs are available for you. Here the prospects are very low, and that started my article and my whole frustration (the companies are downsizing and we are in $it up to our necks). With all that I wanted to do whatever for whatever money – that’s how desperate I was – but my health made me stop and rethink, so for me it is not the point that the job is boring or tedious it is the matter of cost effectiveness and the fact that I can’t work 15 and more hours per day for peanuts.

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  13. Good for you Paula. It is very hard I know, not to undersell oneself during trying times, but it erodes ones health and self esteem. I hope you find better options soon. Hugs from halfway across the world 🙂

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