I lived in the Philippines my whole life and I just graduated last June in hopes that when I move to New York, I'd have a job already. I started looking for jobs as I arrived, but I haven't had much luck. Until now, I am unemployed and no, I am not proud of it. It's just really taking me quite some time to land a full-time job but I'm still actively working (ironic) on it.
So you see, I already pinned some goals before I moved to New York. One of them was to go back to the Philippines for a visit before the year ends. However, the job market was 100% tough for me. I've had acceptance emails, phone interviews, face-to-face interviews, but after all the hassle, I was still rejected.
On August 1, I found another way to slowly fill up my tank just so I could come home.
I edited surveys
The first stint I got was editing an English-Filipino survey for a certain translation company. The whole document was 5,670 words.
It was settled that I will only be paid for an hour worth of work which was $30. But the file I edited needed lots of corrections so it took me 6 hours to complete the job.
I tried to negotiate with the project manager to make it an hour and a half worth which was $45. He had no problem with it so that was a good deal for us both.
They started asking me if I was free to do a few more freelance jobs with them
I can probably assume that I did well on the past project so they asked me to do another transaction with them. This time, it was 2 hours worth of work which was $60.
I happily accepted the job, especially that at that moment, I was desperate to start saving.
The work was still to edit an English-Filipino survey. And since it was worth 2 hours, the file was much longer—which meant that the job was a little more time-consuming.
The third freelance job I had with them was still editing. It was worth 6 hours so I got paid $180. Doing that job actually made me want to give up. It was seriously eye-straining but I consoled myself by realizing how much I needed that money to add to my savings. So I continued doing the job even when I felt like I really wanted to let go of it.
Their usual translator was not available at that time
They needed someone to translate their English survey to Filipino but unfortunately, their trusted translator (who also happens to be a freelancer) had some other business. I was asked to do it from scratch for a fixed price of $300. At first, I thought it would be easy, but I was wrong.
The project took me half a day to finish. The whole thing hurt my eyes because I was on my laptop nonstop. It was also like cracking a puzzle but as much I felt like quitting, I was so determined to complete it. And thankfully, I did.
I signed up on ProZ.com
I just tried my luck and went on ProZ. I enlisted my hourly rate there, along with the languages or dialects I could translate or edit. So it was English, Filipino, and Hiligaynon.
I only had the free version, which meant that I could not sign up for any translating or editing jobs. I had to wait until someone found me there.
I actually forgot about my account until a translation company from Washington e-mailed me. They asked me if I was interested in proofreading an English-Hiligaynon survey for a fixed price of $300.
I was hesitant at first because I doubted my formal Hiligaynon skills. But then again, I thought about my goal of visiting home. So I gave it a try and to my surprise, that editing project was actually one of the easiest that I have done so far.
An interpreting job knocked on my door
I thought that the whole freelancing thing was over. It has been more than a month already but there was another freelance job that surprised me.
It was an English-Filipino or Filipino-English interpreting job and the pay was much higher compared to the editing ones. However, I declined the offer because at that time, I had a job interview that I really wanted. But sadly, I did not ace that interview.
But the whole freelancing experience was great! I'm not even kidding. To earn $885 by slumbering at home and having to do a few responsibilities felt more fulfilling than doing nothing at all. Right now, I'm about to go on a little tutorial for another freelance job copy-pasting surveys in various languages.
Honestly, I never saw myself working with languages; or even working as a freelancer. I've always imagined that I'd be in an office somewhere in New York, filing papers, and doing orders for my boss.
I'm somewhat liking this freelancer life, especially that I have plans of traveling in the future. But for now, I'll see where this takes me. And yes, I'm going to the Philippines on December 30!