New Job (Seriously)

Two and a half months in, and I think I should talk a little about my new job. Well not THAT new job, a real one that pays. Well I wish that statement was 100% true. I do have a job now, and it’s real, but it doesn’t really pay, yet.

So in order to stay at home and really put my family first on my list of priorities, I have to put work at a distant second. Which means that I must find time to do work when I’m not spending time with my son. The solution is to do freelance work at home, which supposedly comes with certain perks, about which I fantasised a few years back. Then I had to decide what is it that I could do as a freelancer. The answer is quite obvious since it only takes me 0.3 seconds to go down my very short list of skills. In case you haven’t guessed it, it’s my being bilingual. I’ve decided to take a deep dive into the field in which I’ve merely dabbled in the years past – translation. I’m a long way from where I want to be as a translator, but I figure I actually have a mild interest in languages and translation, so that could keep me going. I hope I’m not too old to switch tracks, but as the saying goes, better late than never.

Except I don’t get all the perks. For one thing, I have had to put my pants on a lot more often than I had imagined. I still need to get my ass out of the apartment to get groceries, to take my family out for food/shopping/play. The commute is short, but the hours are as horrible as they come (usually from 10pm~2am), though I do get like 3~4 days off a week, on account of my NOT HAVING ENOUGH CASES AT THE MOMENT. But I guess such is life as a freelancer.

And that’s ok, because I just got back from a two-week trip around Taiwan, and I got a taste of what life could be like. With a laptop in hand, I was able to work during the trip while still enjoying the trip. Having lived in the same room as a baby the past year and a half, my body has gotten used to not getting enough sleep. I am surprisingly functional running on 4~5 hours of sleep every night. Maybe it’s because I used to get 8~9 hours as a college student and 7.5 before my son was born, and all that excess sleep was saved up as credit? Anyways, I’m still apprehensive about the future, especially financially, but no amount of money can buy me a front row seat in my son’s childhood. Time will tell whether this job change is a good decision or not, but I will do everything in my power to make it the former.


14 thoughts on “New Job (Seriously)

  1. It’s true, you’ve always had an interest and affinity to both English and Chinese. It definitely seems like a good long term choice.

    What sort of things do you translate?

    And I’m guessing you might be stigmatized in the Taiwanese society because the norm is for 1 or both parents to work their ass off and hand the kid to the grandparents, but you’re seen as “not working hard enough”? But secretly many dads are jealous of you? 😃

    Anyway good luck with it all!

    • Right now I’m taking anything I can find (so far I’ve had press releases, marketing material, product packaging text spanning consumer electronics, gaming, and pottery), though I would like to specialize in technical documents and perhaps academic papers.. I think these are the areas where my skills and background can find a niche.

      You’re not the first person to mention being stigmatized, but I haven’t felt it really. Neither Apple and I can understand the rationale behind bringing a kid to this world only to have someone else raise him.. but I guess the financial reality makes that a necessity in some cases. I guess I’m lucky to have this opportunity to try it, for better or for worse.

      I’m not sure if people would be jealous of me. Most dads have career aspirations which I lack….

  2. Something you might want to look into, I wonder if there is an untapped market for translators in academic research. For example, the psychiatry/psychology field is very reliant on survey methods and many Chinese researchers are interested in translating and using American-developed surveys and methods, there might be a need for your skills. It’d be a line budget on their grant applications.

    • That’s a pretty good idea. Thanks Jack. So far I’ve been looking at translation cases in Taiwan, though there’s no reason I can’t look for cases in the US. I think in the States it’s probably easier to find someone in your social/work circle to do this sort of thing, though if you know anyone who needs a translator hook me up.

      I’m still figuring out how to get cases…

  3. I hope this works out for you, Gary! *I* always appreciated your translation skills! I’m sure you’ll be great, especially on technical discussions.

  4. Congrats! Sounds exciting. You’re pretty lucky to be able to quit and do freelance. Lemme know if you need any hookups or opportunities in the US. Try Craigslist or Indeed (but I dunno if you can access in taiwan).

    • I think everyone is able to quit and do freelance, but whether this lifestyle is sustainable is an entirely different question, and one I am trying to answer myself….

      I’d love to get some jobs out of the US, if anything the pay’s probably better. I’ll look up those two things you’ve mentioned. Thanks!

  5. Wow good luck! Haven’t visited here in a while so just found out you’ve started out on your own. Your life sounds a lot like my life the past year haha. It’s been me and my husband trying to start up and run our own company with our baby acting as our real boss @@ I actually have a lot of friends doing translation work in Taiwan (some do freelancing, while one actually has his own one-man translation company and I’ve done some work for him when he was overloaded). If I get any tips I’ll pass them on to you if you like. Definitely is tough trying to work and take care of a baby at the same time…….

    • Good to hear from you! Yes please do! I desperately need to expand my clientele. Basically it’s impossible to work at home while my son’s awake, so I usually work late into the night.. very tiring

      • Haha yeah same here… my daughter would do everything in her power to prevent me from being in front of my computer. The past few months I’ve gotten too busy to help out my friend who has his own translation company (I used to do maybe a couple thousand words for him each month, no time for more), so maybe I can let him know you might be available if he needs help. Would you have any pieces of translation you’ve done in the past (original + translation) that you could send me for me to pass on to my friend as reference? I can’t figure out how to PM/email you here haha… but you should be able to see my email address..? Dunno if you mind letting me know how much you usually charge per word, so as to have a better idea of whether hooking you up with my friend would be worth your time? Anyway we can discuss this via email🙂

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