Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Brussels Party

Hakata, the big sister of Petra picked me up for our ride to Brussels. I was very impressed by all Petra had been preparing. She had chosen to have everything in the slightly salted version, even the delicious black forest treat. Being former colleagues I asked how work at the EP was these days. I was astonished at what I heard: work is seemingly less interesting, less fun also. The rules seem more mathematic and the hours are counted everyone is sitting it his/her booth for the day. Just a few people dare to speak out. Petra is smart and strong willed, but it was obvious that work was no longer fun. I did love my job, but left a few years early because I saw the sands shifting and work getting less interesting. Petra weathers the storms, does what needs to be done. I recognized also a few younger colleagues. It was a gathering of young professionals and once I was part of that crowd. Yet with what I heard I know my decision was right when I took early retirement. Now when  one doesn't have to interpret in a meeting, one still has to sit in the booth. It seems one has to spend a certain amount of hours in the booth even when not working. I also realize that for some of my younger colleagues life has become hard, maybe boring. I must say I enjoyed my job and when there were foreign missions, I always volunteered. Now there is only the monthly session in Strasbourg. It made me feel sad that my younger, smart colleagues won't have the same for me fulfilling experience in their job. Of course the younger colleagues take it all in their stride. It was good to hear the babble in different languages. I tried to find people for my daughters conference,  but sadly her conference coincides with the plenary session in Strasbourg. I am seriously wondering whether I can still cope with pressure of simultaneous interpreting working from and into two languages that I know well but my English is more solid than my French... The problem for the young interpreters that would be working at DDT conference is that they would be working into two languages which might not be their strongest languages. Well, it was an interesting group of people and actually a nice day.
Thank you Petra, thank you Hakata.

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