As part of National Careers Week, a local secondary school had organised a speed-dating-style event and invited me to take part through Inspiring the Future. This was a new concept for me, and groups of 10-12 students had 7 minutes to ask me as many questions about my career as possible. I then moved on to speak to another group who also had 7 minutes to ask questions. By the end of the session, I had been asked questions by 10 groups, so I had the opportunity to wax lyrical about my vocation to a vast number of potential translators.
It was a great way to answer the questions the students had straight away, rather than trying to answer the questions I thought they would probably have. Unsurprisingly, I was often asked how much I earned, how much holiday I could take and what qualifications you need to be a translator. Many of them were excited at the prospect of working from home as they believed it meant they could laze about all day in pjs and watch daft videos on YouTube. They didn't seem overly impressed when I told them my productivity is directly correlated to my earnings, so yes, I could lounge in my pjs watching cat videos all day if I wanted to, but that wouldn't pay the bills at the end of the month!
I tried to hammer home the message that languages are important, even if you don't want to have a "traditional" language-related career. Much to my surprise, far more boys than I expected seemed keen to ask questions and enthusiastic about the prospect of combining languages with more practical subjects such as engineering. Here's hoping I inspired at least a couple of the students to carry on studying a language beyond GCSE!
For more information in the charity, head to www.inspriringthefuture.org