Friday, 17 May 2013

What to do with your English degree? Part 2

Hi guys! As promised, I'm back with a few more career tips for graduates, who have an English degree. I hope you are still interested, and I haven't bored you the last time, so let's see!

4. Journalist

Image taken from Data Miner UK
We have again a case of 'close, but not quite the same'. If you had an interest or even participated in the making of the students' newspaper, and you thought it's challenging and fun to be a journalist, then here is your chance. It is true that in this area you also need a kind of natural talent, but I believe that this is easier than writing a book. If you want to become a journalist you not only need excellent writing skills, but you should also have great communication skills in order to be able to gather background information. Another important factor that you should consider is how much do news affect you. There are cases when journalists have to (sorry for the expression) have the stomach for this job. Moreover, the job of a journalist can be interesting and hard at the same time, you need to be tough or compassionate, depending on the story you need to cover. Keep in mind that every story has two sides, and you should write accordingly, but there are also cases when you need controversy to raise the interest. It wouldn't hurt (it would be for your benefit actually) if you would be curious and sometimes persistent and most of all, committed, because this job requires these abilities. There is a lot of competition, but if you become successful in the world of journalism, your job won't be boring, that's for sure! 

5. Translator

Image taken from Skinner Translation
This is a little tricky, because you need to know at least one other language at an advanced level, in order to become a translator. Sometimes you also need additional postgraduate training or a special certificate, to be able to translate at a professional level, but that varies depending on countries and employers. Many people think that if the translator knows both languages at an advanced level, than his/her job is easy. I beg to differ! It is much harder than they think. This is not just a matter of how well you know a language, you also need to get accustomed with the cultures. Why? Because there are many aspects of the translation that require it. There are things that you should consider for example when you translate from French to English, you should not translate 'Bon Appetite', or when there are measurements in the text, think about such things as pounds and kilogrammes… would you recalculate it or leave it as it is? These are very basic examples, but in literary translation it may happen many times that you have to deal with traditions or rituals that don't exist in the other culture, and would not mean the same thing to the people who speak the language that you need to translate the text to. And I didn't even talk about translating poems. On the other hand, if besides the knowledge of two languages, you are also familiar with the field of business you could enter the world of business translation, where you will meet a lot less of these cases. Personally, I consider translating interesting, but it is sometimes not as rewarding, and not as appreciated as other jobs are. I know, I'm contradictory again, but hopefully you're getting used to it by now:) 

6. Tourist Guide

Image taken from Pasquale Pacicca Guiding and Travel Services
If you have a passion for travelling, history and English is one of your 'fortes', then this is the perfect choice for you. Nonetheless you should be prepared for accepting the fact that you will move to different locations, and will have to deal with different kinds of people. Naturally, if you just got your English degree, you may need to continue studying a bit and get a qualification in order to be a tourist guide in the UK (but this depends again on the various regions and countries). Still, it is worthwhile because you will get to visit a lot of different places (if you don't want to stick to your home town of course), meet new people, and talk about history, in your own manner. The hardest thing is to keep the visitors interested in what you're saying, especially those who don't give a rat's ass about the history of the places (believe me, there will be such individuals). All in all, tourist guiding can be fun and enjoyable, but only for those who would like to do such a job. 

The list goes on and on: freelance copywriter, library assistant, editor, there are the public relations, marketing and communication jobs etc. What you have to remember is that you have a lot of options, so if you just finished college don't panic! Start searching and researching to find out more about what you wanna be:) Till next time!

What to do with your English degree?

Hello to you all!
First of all, we need to see the bright side of things. When I finished college I was kind of freaked out… asking myself what on Earth will I do now? As you already know, I didn't want to become a teacher, and I really wanted to quit my job at the store. Since I know many other English graduates are in the same shoes, I think it could help if I presented them/you some options.  


Image taken from Autism Community
The first and most obvious solution is to become a teacher. Even though I am not a big fan of this profession, most of the people who have an English degree will choose this as a career. I could write a really long pros and cons list about it, but this time I won't. The most important thing to remember is that, as many of the wise people say, “this is a noble profession”, you just need to realise the dangers, you will face and be sure that you can handle them. I am not against teaching I just think, that only the appropriate people should become teachers/professors. Maybe it is old fashioned, but I still believe that having a good teacher can change how the children think about learning. When kids say I hate Maths, it usually means that they don't like the teacher, not the subject itself. So, if you're thinking about becoming a teacher, answer these questions first: Would I be able to make them love English? Would I be someone who can be a good influence on children? And of course try to make things matter (I know it's a cliché, but that doesn't make it less true). 

2. Home tutor

Image taken from Ziolite
This is close, but still something else. If you become a home tutor, you can still teach, but you have the possibility to concentrate on a small group of children, or even on only one of them at a time. This job is usually a part time one, but in case you can manage to have as many students as you need for a steady income, then you're on the right track. An important factor to be considered when choosing tutoring, is the place. In my opinion it is easier if the children/students come to your place. It is more convenient for you, and you don't loose time to go back and forth to the student's house. Obviously, at the very beginning you can't afford to be picky, so you need to accept every situation. However, when word will spread (you need to do a very good job for that) about you being a very good tutor, you can have expectations as well. Every job is hard at the beginning but you need to see the bigger plan. Again, I only suggest this job for those who are okay with the conditions they will be working in. 

3. Writer

Image taken from Paul-Kohler 2.0
Now this is a “job” that is not at all for everyone. The thing that you really need for it cannot be learned. Talent! It cannot be taught or learned… of course, there are different writing methods that you can learn, different techniques and ways of building up a story, creating characters, but in my opinion, if you don't have at least a little bit of talent for it, you cannot truly succeed. Sometimes school is not enough, or it doesn't suit talented people (writers aren't excluded). Take the examples of Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, and many more. Some of them didn't afford to go to college, or even high school, others simply didn't like it, however, all of them became famous, without a college degree. But let's go back to our business:) If you're lucky enough to be talented, and you can write amazing stories, you should definitely try to become a writer. However, you need to be prepared for rejection. In many cases you need to be persistent, because publishers don't always recognise greatness at first. There is another long list of writers who were rejected many times before actually becoming famous. Thus, you have to be sure of yourself and eventually writing can also become a job with a steady income. Personally, I think that it must be great to be an appreciated author, and to see that many people read your books. I'm not saying it doesn't have a downside, but if you have it, your 'gift' shouldn't go to waste. 

That's all for now, but later I will be back with some more tips. I hope my thoughts were useful for some of you :)

Friday, 10 May 2013

Learn to say NO

Lately I've been busy a lot and I'm sure most of you can relate. Between work, getting my master's degree, handling the housework, helping out where I'm needed… there's just not enough time to do it all. I'm sure that many of you agree when I say that a day should consist of at least 48 hours, and it still wouldn't be enough for everything. The reason why I chose to write about this is because I think that nowadays almost everyone has the same problem: dividing themselves between their responsibilities at the workplace, at home, and every other place they need to be. I often thought of the solution, but until somebody will actually figure out how to clone humans, we should stick to one of the oldest methods: SAYING NO.

Image taken from Insight of an Intern

I myself am in the process of learning this, and I speak from experience when I say it is not easy at all.  It was a Friday when I concluded, that I should change something. I arrived home late (as usual), opened the fridge and realised that I hadn't cooked a proper meal since last Monday. I always told myself that this state is only temporary, and there will come a time when I will not have so many things to do. Well that time didn't come, so I decided to make it happen. My family, my friends, basically everyone has been telling me not to take on so many things, but I couldn't say no, even though I was well aware of the fact that I had no time for them.

I am not a perfectionist or anything, but I like to help people if I can. This is why I usually accept to translate three more articles for my friend, who studies to become a lawyer, though I know I will need to do research as well, since my vocabulary barely has any juridical expressions in it; or I go and check if my other friend's teacher has put out her grades, because I live closer to the college than she does. These are small things, but when there is a lot of them, they become bigger and bigger and I catch myself translating at 5 in the morning, when I need to go to work the next day. Still I can't say no to them, they are my friends, my family and I can't refuse them simply because I  don't have enough time.

I'm sure many of you know how this feels, therefore we all have to prioritise. Thus… I made the first step and didn't accept to tutor my colleague's niece, because I barely had time to the other two kids that I've been helping. It was very hard and I really hope that my colleague didn't mind, but it was one of the first times when I said no. I felt guilty and relieved at the same time (I know it's contradictory, it will often happen that I write contradictory things, I apologise in advance because of this bad habit). Of course I recommended someone else, and I know that I made the right choice.

All in all, Chrissy's thoughts on 'saying no' are the following: as difficult as it is, you need to start saying it, in order to be able to concentrate on your own tasks, problems. You need to tell yourself that it is not your job to handle other people's problems, maybe just some of them:). I know that they will repay you with kindness, and sometimes even a smile, or the thought that you did something for someone else can be rewarding. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should stop helping out others, just try not to go to extremes. Try to finish your own tasks first and then take on just as many other tasks as you are able to finish without having to skip meals, or have enough sleep. That's all for now, till next time.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Writing workshops are fun!!!

Hello again!
As I have mentioned before, I have a “passion” for the English language. I think it is essential to learn English, mainly because it is the most widely used language. It is of utmost importance to develop the children's language skills. Starting with primary school, the teachers should focus (among other things, of course) on this aspect, in order to have the necessary writing and communication skills.

What is a writing workshop? 

In my opinion one of the most effective language teaching methods is the writing workshop. This method focuses on the development of writing and composition skills and on creativity as well. During the school day, there is a specific time reserved for this activity. A writing workshop usually has three parts: an introductory part, when the teacher talks about a particular ability, a concept or a strategy. After this comes the exercising part, when the students can put the theory in practice and write something. The last part consists of discussions, when the students share what they have written with the rest of the class and they can talk it over. However, the school days are not the only times when a writing workshop can take place. There are various types of this activity such as summer writing shops, writing shops for adults, or online writing shops.


Image taken from The Word Cellar

Recommended for…

I can assure you, that activities like this workshop can have a positive impact on the children, especially on the ones who are interested in writing rather than in Maths for instance. I forgot to mention that it would be advisable to create this workshop as an optional subject. This way only those will attend, who want to improve their composition skills, or like to write. I remember back in the days, when I was in school and I was obligated to go to the Physics competition. I hated it, but I still had to go. Therefore I think that children should have the opportunity (when they are big enough) to choose the optional courses they want to take part in. If they don't want to do something but they are forced to, they surely will not like it. In order to raise their interest, teachers need to take it step by step.

Multiple Endings

The writing workshop can also be about creative writing, where the members of the class could team up. There are many different approaches to these kind of activities. I will only mention one, the technique of multiple endings. The teacher starts writing down the beginning of a basic story. After that, three students will continue the story separately and each of them will end their part, once they have reached a point where the main protagonist has to make a choice. Then, each line of the story will be continued by a student, in our case a total number of 6 students. Each of them will choose one of the possible options and continue the stories until they also reach a point where others can join in. This can continue up to 24 students, or even more if there are more students (48). At the next workshop, the different versions and endings of the story can be compared, and the group could choose the one they like the most.
Image taken from PRLOG

Improve your skills and have fun

This is only one of the many creative writing strategies, which are in my opinion very interesting and useful. The main purpose of the writing workshops is to learn various methods of writing, and the teachers can also offer the possibility of publishing the best pieces, in the school's newspaper for example. I am sure that if they are done in the right way, writing workshops can offer students the possibility to learn, improve their skills and have fun at the same time. Writing and reading workshops were my favourites and this is why I have decided to write about them. I hope you liked it, and if you were undecided on whether to join a writing workshop or not, here's my advice: Do it, nothing bad can come out of it! If you don't like it you won't go next time but you know the old saying: Better to regret something that you've done, than something that you haven't! Till next time!:)

Friday, 3 May 2013

Think, plan, act!

 After telling you the story of how I found my new job, I thought it would be good to outline some basic things you should consider if you want to switch to another job. Here it goes:)

I know the basics: learn from other people's mistakes, think before you act, and so on … wouldn't that be too good to be true? I mean if none of us would act out of instinct, and if everybody would learn from their parents' mistakes, the world would be perfect. We all know, that will never happen.


Investing in yourself

In my humble opinion it would be enough to learn from our own mistakes, but we usually don't do that either. Let's take the typical example of a person who hates his/her job. We tend to follow the same path (as I have told you before, it was the same with me). When you have to switch jobs, when you need to look for another job, inevitably you will choose something similar to your old one. Aim for something better! I know most of you think that takes too much time, effort, luck etc. In order not to make the same mistakes again, you have to take a 180 degree turn.
Let's say you are a waitress and you are getting tired of it. Why couldn't you be a real estate agent, a hair dresser, a flight attendant… or anything you would like to be? I know that trying something new is extremely difficult and frightening at the same time… but the key is to be committed and think about the decision as an investment. Maybe your salary will be less, and you will surely have to learn a lot of new things, but in time your efforts will be repaid. If all goes well, you should be a lot happier than before.


Step by step

The first step is identifying the problem, admitting to yourself that your current job is not good enough and you should find the job you think would suit you best. You could also discuss this with your friends, family in order to discover the main skills that you have. Next comes the 'looking at alternatives'. Nowadays, you can even ask for the help of career coaches. You have to search for opportunities of learning and training, before you actually want to get hired in this new profession.

You will need to do research in a way, look for the advantages and disadvantages of the new career, the environment you would be working in. You will have to ask yourself: Would I like this as a long term job? Would I be good at it? Would I like what I have to do? Would I have opportunities for development? I know it's a bit old style, but I always liked the 'pros and cons' lists. If you see the reasoning put down on paper, it seems to be more real somehow… so that's another good approach. Finally, when all aspects have been considered, you need to act!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

On the threshold of May day

Where does May Day come from?

We spend a lot of our life working, this is why we are so grateful for such national holidays as May Day otherwise known as the International Worker's Day. I was wondering what is the actual meaning of it, although I vaguely knew that it is due to the labour movements, I thought it would be interesting to find out more, since the day is coming, bringing summer with it :) I apologise from all of you who already know the stories, but you know repetition never hurts.
So let's see! Did you know that this holiday is officially celebrated in more than 80 countries? Yep, I was surprised too. But more importantly, in almost all the countries, this celebration is the commemoration of labour movements. It is true that we don't appreciate what we have, or we don't realise it. For instance, I always thought about May day as a day in which there is no school or work, and we get a day off to celebrate that summer is near. I never actually realised that it took so many lives to get here, to achieve 'the eight-hour workday'. This probably has something to do with the fact that I didn't pay as much attention on History classes as I should have.

Image taken from May Day 2013 Fun Photos


The past of May Day

In 1886 in Chicago dozens of demonstrators were killed by the police, during the time of a strike which wanted to achieve the 'eight hour workday'. Because of this massacre, in the USA, they don't commemorate Labour Day on May the first, as in other countries, instead they have moved it, and the official holiday for workers is in September. The first of May was still celebrated, but for other reasons... at first it was Americanization day, then renamed Loyalty day and Law day at the same time.


The present of May Day

We have a large history of May day activities in the UK as well. Although, fortunately, they did not result in such casualties as those in the USA. Still there were many protests in cities like London, Glasgow or Edinburgh, resulting in clashes with the police.
Of course there is a bright side of this day as well. The good old fashion traditions, festivities which involve maypole, and the crowning of the May queen. The Edinburgh and Glasgow mayday festivals and many others. If you would like to read more about this topic, here is my source. But what I really wanted to emphasise is that there are so many things we forget... anyway Happy May day to you all!

Image taken from The Telegraph

Thursday, 25 April 2013

To be or not to be… a dental nurse?

“I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie!” If you heard about people with similar experiences, you may have a way of helping them. I haven't thought about dental nursing until one of my friends asked me to translate a research paper, so she could use it for one of her presentations. Although, I knew almost nothing about it, it caught my attention that dental nursing is becoming more and more popular. So I looked into the matter a little bit more and figured that it would be interesting to write about it. In case you are one of those people, fresh out of school, who wants to become a dental nurse, here are some key factors, that you should take into consideration before actually choosing this career. If you are not, you could still continue reading, since I think these factors can be applied to many other jobs as well. You may stumble upon something good :)

Image taken from CartoonStock

Willingness = training and development

If you really consider dental nursing your dream job, you should try to be the best at it. No academic qualifications are required in order to get hired as a trainee dental nurse. However, if you want to progress you will have to complete a full-time course approved by the General Dental Council. If your future boss sees that you are reliable, trustworthy, and especially willing to learn more, he/she will help you develop your knowledge and skills by attending one of the special training programmes available. Naturally, you could also take matters in your own hands, and find out more about the opportunities that you have, because there are a lot of ways to advance in this career. In case everything goes well, you can even become a dental hygienist or a dental therapist.

You smile = the patient smiles 

You should know that even if you successfully complete a course, this qualification is not enough to become an excellent dental nurse. Your knowledge or experience will not necessarily be sufficient to make other people smile more often. This is essential! You need to put the patients' interests first and be motivated to help them. It is always hard to work with people, regardless of the environment you work in, so be prepared to have some really annoying patients, with a lot of silly questions, to which you should be answering kindly with the biggest smile on your face! This way they will have nothing to complain about and you will not only “be the bigger man”, but also earn some extra points for your boss and your team.

Team player = everybody likes you, stress free job

At any kind of job, you are usually required to work well in a team. Being a dental nurse is no different! If you are a lone wolf, and refuse to be a part of the team, you will not last long as a dental nurse. At a good dental practice, the team is essential. Since you want to become successful in what you do, it is very important to exclude as many stress sources as possible. Therefore, at first you should do what you are told (even if you do not like it) so you blend in, and get along with the others. Of course after a while, if they see that you are a valuable part of the team, you will be “allowed” to have opinions and they will look forward to your suggestions.

Research = do you like the things you would have to do?

The tasks of a dental nurse are not as easy as they might seem at first sight. This is a crucial matter because if you do not like what you have to do, you will be miserable, and so will be the ones who surround you. Hence you have to really consider all aspects of dental nursing before you make a decision. But if you think you are up for it, dental nursing can be the perfect choice for you!
I have found a pretty good site with a lot of job offers. Here you can check it out if you want to. I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on dental nursing :) Till next time!