Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Tower of Bable becoming the bane of my existence. I’ve recently started working on a new project at work only to realize that it means I’ll be working in my 5th language since starting at this company.

A little background... I work in the civil engineering construction department at one of the country’s big electricity companies. Although created as a way of concentrating the company’s construction endeavors, we now do 90% of our work for 3rd parties; in other words we build power plants in other countries. One of the primary reasons I was hired was clearly for my English. The company pays more for people who have a certain (test-proven) level of either English or French (or both for those lucky trilinguals). But it appears that in this day and age bilingualism or even trilingualism (the company also pays for my French classes) only gets you so far…

So here’s the count to date:
  1. Spanish
  2. English
  3. French
  4. Russian (look for an off-topic post on my business trip there a month or so ago)
  5. Portuguese
I’m not sure if there are many languages left for me to work in. Not that there aren’t more languages in the world, but many of the other countries where we do business (Lithuania, Qatar, etc.) function with a relatively high level of English, which obviously gives me some job security, but not necessarily exposure to another linguistic challenge.

Perhaps we’ll bid on a job in China…

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