Working with pets December 6, 2011Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff.
Working from home as a translator presents all kinds of challenges: Do you call or email your client? Do you get up and shower or work all day in your pajamas? Do you feel guilty when you go to the grocery store at 10:00 a.m. the day before a holiday to beat the crush of pre-holiday meal preparation? But, for me, the greatest challenge is working around animals.
Being home all day, every day is very conducive to pet ownership. Most office drones don’t have that luxury and envy us. We don’t have to make sure someone is home in eight hours to let the dog out, and we can take the pets to the vet in the middle of the day if needed.
Having a pet can be very rewarding. I find it especially helpful, because it forces me to get away from my computer to take a walk or clean up after her. My white, fluffy dog is especially good at going out into the backyard and rolling in something dark and stinky, so that also forces me to bathe at least once a day, if not more.
Another bonus is that I actually meet my neighbors while walking the dog. I lived in my old apartment for three years before I got my dog and didn’t know any of my neighbors because I was holed up in the house all day and night. That changed as soon as I got Lily. We suddenly knew everyone and would have doggie play dates and walks with the Golden Retriever across the street.
I found having one pet wasn’t enough, so when my dog found a starving kitten in the backyard last summer we took her in to join our pack. Now Bailey helps me translate by walking or laying across my keyboard and adding brand-new words or deleting whole paragraphs because she is hungry or bored. I do occasionally throw her out of the office when I am doing something that requires focus, like balancing my accounts or credit card statements, and she stands at the door plaintively wailing her dissatisfaction while the dog scratches at it. This ensures that I finish as quickly as possible to restore some peace. As soon as I finish and open the door, the cat and dog both come bounding in to rejoin me, and all is forgiven.
You need to have a sense of humor if you have pets as coworkers – and a watchful eye. My cat especially loves checking out whatever beverage I am enjoying by pulling the glass down for an eye-level view. I have to anticipate her moves to ensure I don’t suddenly have a waterlogged keyboard.
I’ve come to rely on my pets to keep me company and to offer the occasional (much-appreciated) distraction. There is nothing more relaxing in the middle of a particularly stressful day than having to take a break to rub my cat’s tummy or throw my dog’s sheep down the hallway for a game of Fetch. Now if you’ll excuse me, the dog park is calling…
Update: This post was my contribution to Alejandro Moreno-Ramos’ book. Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation is now available for purchase for just €19.95. I can’t wait to receive my copy! Now if you’ll excuse me, my coffee is calling…