As a Sign Language Interpreter I work many different places and many different jobs in one week. Sometimes even in one day. Because of this I have multiple boss’. I am totally fine being an employee and reporting to my boss’….at least I think I am. 😛 However with more boss’ you get more miscommunication. I always find that funny. In a profession that is all about communication we still have problems on how to communicate with one another. Something I am trying to get myself to realize is that boss’ are NOT perfect. Just because they have been doing it longer. Lets say for example…30 years doesn’t make what I bring to the table any less important. One reason I was really pissed off last week or I guess it was technically this week was because I was given “feedback” that I didn’t ask for. I put feedback in quotes because it was criticism. It felt incredibly negative and feedback has a more positive connotation.
What people fail to understand….maybe even one of my boss’ included is that everyone is different. Deaf people the same as hearing people have different ways that they choose to sign. They could sign lazy and be difficult to understand, maybe they sign things inaccurately or maybe they are super clear and articulate making them that much easier to understand. So the fact that I didn’t tap the specific sign twice isn’t that big of a deal. The student understood and looks at me mouthing the words at the same time. It didn’t change the message. But I need a mentor, is what she says. And my immediate thought and reaction is….”I work at the agency every day and don’t get home till 4 when you all leave the office and go home so I don’t have time to be mentored PLUS and this is a biggie, I don’t trust any of you FUCKERS!!”
I team with my boss for this specific class that meets once a week. And in my opinion she is not a good interpreter. Her signing space is too small which feels to me like she is whispering or trying to be less noticeable, she fingerspells like a mad woman and I have no idea what she is saying half the time, she misses information, has trouble hearing things in class and hardly looks at me to support me when I am interpreting. Also NORMALLY when in a team situation you switch back and forth every 20 mins. The first day she said that she leaves that in control of the person who is interpreting in the moment. Okay….here is where I get pissed!! I have NEVER heard of that before!! There is an incredibly good reason why we NEED to switch. Our brains and bodies and hands get tired and we need a little break. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are doing. Plus this class is NOT easy to interpret and not having a set time to switch back and forth means that I have NO IDEA when I start interpreting. SO anyways I interpreted most of this class. Because the way she asked if I wanted to switch was by asking if I was….”okay?” SERIOUSLY???!!!! WHAT….THE…..FUCK….?!! THat is NOT how you ask. And now it is MY FAULT that we didn’t switch. So I told her that I am so focused on interpreting that I can’t pay attention to the time as well. It is just one more thing for me and I don’t have the time to focus on that while at the same time doing the hard job that is interpreting. I think I was clear with her now but next week I’ll remind her and see how that goes. That is if she shows up before the fucking class has ALREADY STARTED!!! One comment was like, “you interpreted a long time for a beginning interpreter.” It felt incredibly condescending. And EXCUSE ME but it may be my first semester working at this college but it is my THIRD year as an interpreter. So how DARE you treat me like a baby interpreter. Yes, I am still a beginner….technically…maybe more intermediate BUT this is not my first class or my first time interpreting. I AM NOT A CHILD!!! I am used to the past college I worked at giving me 2/3 hour classes FUCKING SOLO because she was horrendous at her job and was incredibly disrespectful. Yes I was struggling a bit but if my BOSS sees that then it shouldn’t matter that I didn’t switch us, she needed to take the initiative and make us switch anyways. It’s hard when I look to her and she is looking at the teacher or anywhere but at me. ARRRGGGHHH!!!
All this to say, I need to realize that this boss is FAAARRR from perfect and just because they say something doesn’t mean they are right. They are just humans as well and she is retiring at the end of the semester plus this class only meets once a week. Plus I have a high school client that ADORES me and complains about how shitty my sub/potential replacement is. The Deaf like me and appreciate me. It is the hearing boss’ that make my life more difficult. I adjust because different education systems have different rules for interpreters and some of the lines get blurry. I am trained for College but have adjusted to working in High School and I think I am doing great! So, FUCK, everyone else.
It doesn’t matter your skill level or how many years you have been interpreting. You can gain knowledge and insight from anyone. Everyone has had different experiences and I might know a new sign that I learned from a Deaf person that the “pro” does not. We can still learn from one another. Just because I haven’t been doing it as long doesn’t make me any less skilled as an interpreter.
This is still a fresh upset for me and as you will come to find out I enjoy cursing in my every day life. I might even write a blog about that some time.
Thanks for reading. Write you next time.