Progress and paid work

I started to doubt that progress even exists if I can’t see it with my own eyes, if I can’t quantify it. I am keen on growing, on developing new skills, but I seem to be stuck doing the same old thing, and all I’m learning is patience and perseverance whilst keeping up hope.

Honestly, I am more eager to get out of my comfort zone and learn new things than perfecting old abilities. For example translating or live interpretation. I’m quick to learn and develop and I think I am staring to get bored faster too. I realize time is fleeting and I don’t want to waste it doing things that don’t matter. But who is a good judge of what matters really? When there was a thrill of testing my abilities, using what I knew and stretching my skills, that was exciting and motivating. Hosting events, doing smooth live interpretation for worthwhile content. I would not put through the filter of my mind information that doesn’t build me up. For that reason I translate for my pastor friends and for MOPS.

I have been translating subtitles for a bunch of videos. Some videos were really hard because they talked over each others and were not coherent in a way that built me up. Instead it agitated me and I thought I’ll quit because it’s not a paid job anyway. But that hurdle passed and I prevailed that year. Another year came about and it really got easier. Probably the speakers were so good and the content was also better curated. But as I honed my skill I feel ready to move on. Conrad keeps asking: “is this one paid?” and as he confirmed later, he asks to validate my value and my worth but I frankly felt guilty for taking away time from other things.

Moms get so used to doing unpaid work, that we start doing for free work that normally would be paid. I would not appreciate my kids asking for money for cleaning their room or taking out the trash or wiping the floor. House work is something we all to together to live in a pleasant home.

Conrad speaks from experience though. His design skill is highly valuable and appreciated by his paying clients. But as the number of friend clients, of non-paying clients as it were, grows, his sense of worth is depleting much like our bank accounts.

We are not hungry for affirmation. I don’t think we were truly were. We have honed many skills. I do see the progress, not when I compare it to yesterday but when I compare it to last month, last season or last year.

When I was hired by Apple, we spent two weeks with a team of young people who served us knowledge. I was in disbelief that so much is invested in us and we are paid for the time we spent there, while learning. But that investment not only produced knowledgable employees but it also created loyalty. We were treated with trust, dignity, respect and generosity.

Meanwhile, other companies function quite differently. The salary is not enticing by itself anymore. Development is what young people seek, and a healthy positive environment.

I have also volunteered for stuff as well. And the irony is that volunteers often bring money from home to do the volunteering. Like teachers. They buy supplies for the kids with their own money to do a job… just because they are passionate enough to do it. It is quite backwards.

But my favorite is a joke I heard about parenting disguised and presented as a job. It sounds pretty awful in a professional context. The type of job nobody would take. And then when the question is posed: “how much does it pay” the answer comes: “It doesn’t pay. You pay.”

I studied finances and I have had a pretty intense relationship with money when I was a kid. But as I gained my financial independence pretty early in life and I worked as a young wife, I never felt I was dependent on anyone financially. The base needs were provided for me as a kid and then I saved and figured out ways to pay for things I wanted.

But this year I feel money is such a weird concept. If you have it, or better said you don’t have debt knocking at your door, it is just an abstract thing. Numbers online or plastic. Someone said that everything belongs to God, and He has all the wealth in the world. As a Father whose will we heed, we only need to ask for His funds to cover the expense of the work we do in His field. And that is why, as our needs are met, and we are not covered for life, but we are covered for this year and we have a plan for the next, and we depend on him to bring it to fruition… we learn to rest in Him and to trust Him.