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I told you!!!

December 8th, 2008 at 03:33 pm

Remember I said I would get less translations this month?


Not anymore! the other translator found a full time job and quit, so now her work got reassigned to me!!

Oh, well, I had a week "off"!
back to the salt mines!!

Cha-Ching! first cheque of October!

October 2nd, 2008 at 03:35 pm

Woo-hoo! I got paid for translations today, and tomorrow I get paid at the office...Now, I won't have the translation money until Wednesday, because I already picked up my check, but, unfortunately, arrived back at the office too late to deposit it today. I don't want to go to the (outside) bank and then deposit the cash into my account. Plus, all my payments are due starting on the 10th, so that'll give the check plenty of time to clear (3 working days, since it's from a bank different than mine)...Once the cheque goes through, I'll make the payments online...woo-hoo!

some days I just want to get up and leave...

September 24th, 2008 at 03:26 pm

no particular reason....today, for example, I don't feel I've accomplished anything (although I've done a lot of things, but they just seem so irrelevant...)


Look! The volcano is gone! ;)

September 1st, 2008 at 06:28 am

It has been very rainy lately, and it was sooooo cloudy this morning, you could not see the volcano!...I just had to point that out to Ale...
I was translating a program on volcanos in El Salvador....I must say, I didn't quite like it, it made it seem like my country is so barren...LOL!..it probably is...we are one of the most deforested countries in Latin America... Frown

They showed a waterfall and a piece of forest, but, since they were focusing mostly on the waterfall, it looked "rocky"...so....

Oh, well, it's part of the package for August (programs to be aired in Sept, and $$$ to be paid end of Sept/beginning of Oct)....I'm behind this time. I should have delivered the last script yesterday night, or, at the latest, today, but I still got 3 scripts to go!...

well, that is it for today...I have to take advantage of Labor Day (we are off at the Embassy, naturally, but, Ale is at school, niece is asleep and sis will soon be leaving for work, which means I have the whole morning to try to catch up with translations...but, since you know what they say about all work and no play, I called a friend and we will go to the movies around noon, so we are out just in time to go pick up Ale from school!)

Crazy day at the office!

August 15th, 2008 at 02:02 pm

Yesterday was nuts!...since we are nearing the end of the fiscal year in the US (our fiscal year is the same as our calendar year in ES, 01/01 - 12/31 of each year), well, we've had to look at our budget and decide what we WILL use, to return what we won't need. Of course, that means that whatever we SAID will be spent HAS TO BE SPENT...well, not really, but it makes us look really bad if we have no idea of what our needs will be for the next 1.5 month, don't you think?...mostly, what we have, apart from recurrent expenses (rent, payroll, utilities, gas for the car, etc), are renewals of contracts, which are NOT done automatically, so now I have to dig out all our contracts from last year to request renewal from Procurement...
And, today, I was out all morning and now I have to play catch up!

Si se puede! Si se puede!

July 30th, 2008 at 09:36 am

(it CAN be done, it CAN be done!)
I've only got 1 more translation to go...after that, I'll be FREE to enjoy my nights (8pm -11pm)...I will be able to catch up on my knitting (I'm -or was!- knitting a blanket for Ale, for Xmas... and now I'm way behind!)....or read....or watch TV (although, I DO have it on and watch a bit while I translate...don't ask me why, I work faster that way!...yeah, I know how that sounds!)...or, do NOTHING...

The only problem is...I'm having a "laziness attack"...I really don't want to work on it...and, I COULD delay it for the weekend, but....we have the national holidays (in honor of the Patron Saint) coming up next Mon-Wed...and, wouldn't it be great to be FREE before Friday, so that I could REALLY enjoy the holidays...no work at the office, no work at home??

((sigh)) SI se puede, SI se puede!

Goals = Steps to Freedom

July 3rd, 2008 at 10:16 am

Thanks for all that responded to my last post...it really was illuminating!

As a result of your answers, I sat down and thought about what I NEED/WANT to do, financially, to really be able to leave this job and start my own translation business; here's the list of what comes to mind, complete with the time frame I've allocated to achieve the goals: (I still need to work on them to see whether they are feasible, though!I also need to figure out the most logical way to set them up - which one to do first, etc., so the exercise is not really over yet!)

Step 1. be debt free! - I have about $8.5K in debt...about $6k is for a personal loan, and the rest is cc debt...Step 1 is to pay that off, so that I have the tremendous amount of money I'm currently using to pay off debt available to build up my financial situation...

timeframe: I want to be debt free before my 40th birthday (next year)...that gives me 12 months! ...I'd need about $800/ month to be able to do this...hmmmm..

what I'm doing about it: my debt level is finally low enough that I can get a loan through the bank that does our payroll without needing a co-debtor...I submitted the paperwork yesterday...I just hope my sketchy financial history in the past 5 years doesn't affect me...

Why did I do this?....well, the new loan would be at 10% annual interest; the current one is 11.5% and the cc is 28.99%! (YES, that's not a typo!)...this would significantly reduce the amount of interest I'd be paying, and would make it easier to actually pay off in 1 year...

Step 2- Taxes! ...more income will mean more taxes...based on estimations, I'd need about $5,000 to pay my taxes next year.

Timeframe, again, would be 1 year (a bit less, actually, since taxes are due April 30!)...I'd need about $555/month to achieve this...

How I'm going to do this: I've already spoken to the bank exec and I'm setting up a savings account next payperiod (July 11) so that I can start saving 1. part of my salary and 2. the corresponding amount whenever I get paid for translations

Step 3- Emergency Fund I currently have about $150 in my EF (that's almost nothing, I know!)...I need to have $5,000...but, for that, I'm giving myself 2 years (24 months)...that would take about $210/mont...

Are you still with me? If I add all this up, I'd need $1,565 AFTER TAX to fund all this...doable? difficult, yes, but not impossible...especially if I put money aggressively into debt repayment, then work on the tax thing and then "catch up" on the EF thing...

Step 4- "tie over" fund ($2,000)...this is not really urgent and could be left for my "last year" here...this would be my "revolving credit" with myself to cover normal expenses in case translation payments are late.

Step 5- house fund - I need at least $10K in here... that should be enough for a downpayment on a small house in a good (read: safe) neighborhood; a 3-bedroom would be nice, so I could leave 1 bedroom as a study...but, really, a 2 bedroom would be more than enough! (I can always set up in my room, in the dinining room or living room!)...this one, as you can see, is already started...it has $30 in it, and $30 will be automatically added on the 28th of each month...I don't plan to make any additional contributions to it until the debt is paid off/money for taxes is complete....If it turns out that not all $5K are needed for taxes, I'll transfer the remaining amount to this account. Once the debt is gone, I'll use part of that money to start increasing contributions to this fund...and once the EF is full, I'd add part of that, too (snowballing, in a way!)

Step 6- Ale's college fund- I still have 9 years, so I'm also counting this as "not urgent" (although, I know those years will pass quickly and I NEED to have at least some money in it...I will start the college fund in August of next year!- after I'm debt free!)

Step 7- health and life insurance- I already have a (very modest) personal life insurance policy, apart from the one given to me by my employer...if I go out on my own, I'll need to increase the amount and I'll need to add disability insurance...Medical insurance: I already know the one I want! It's like a pre-paid plan with one of the best hospitals in the country...If you are hospitalized for an emergency, for whatever reason, insurance covers 100% of it...if you go to emergency care, but are not admitted, you have to pay $11.45...for non-emergency care, insurance pays 80%, as long as you go to their doctors and providers...no problem with that!...they give you a thorough check up at the beginning to determine eligibility, so if they accept you, there are no "pre-existing" conditions!...I would also sign up as an "independent worker" with the social security institute (medical care)...I know I will need $$$ for this, but, again, it's not urgent and I'll look into it about 2 years before my "estimated date of departure - EDD"

Step 8- retirement Currently discounted from my salary are about $400/month...and the employer -by law- pays as much into the fund, too...so I need to think about putting at least $800/month after I leave...

...I've estimated what level of income I need to have to make all this possible...
I'd need to make $13K the first year (July 08 to July 09) to be used exclusively for The Plan...this is definetely feasible!(I know it doesn't add up, that $1,650 X12 i $18,780, not $13,000!...what I mean is $13,000 would come from the translation business)...then I'd need to increase that amount by about $2K every year for the next 3 years...the other advantage of waiting until Dec 2012 is that, if my position is terminated, I'm entitled to full severance payment: 1 monthly salary per year worked! (under Salvadoran law, if I leave, I don't have a right to severance payment...I believe the Embassy does give you something according to your bosses' request...up to 50%, I think- need to look for the latest update to the policy!)

I also need to keep really good track of what I'm doing and where the money is going...and make sure I keep focused on what I really want!

"Why are you still here?"

July 2nd, 2008 at 08:47 am

I was commenting on my $1,000 weekend translation, and a friend from work asked me that question...she then answered herself: "oh, because that's not every month!"...
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of leaving my "job" and become an entrepreneur and do the translation thing full time...I mean, I could drop Ale off at school and go back home and work until lunch time, then work for another hour or two then go pick her up...I could take her to dance lessons, stay there and work while she has her class (I have a laptop and a spare battery...and I generally connect to the internet when I finish the translation, just to "clean" it- a.k.a look for words or expressions I don't know/I'm uncertain of or unhappy with, and then to send it after I clean it...)
....the problem, as my friend pointed out, is that I don't get $1,000 translations EVERY month...then again, if I were doing this full time, I'd have more time to promote myself/make more contacts to make sure I DO get $1,000 worth of translations every month...
HOWEVER...at the moment, I NEED about $1,500/month....(to cover living and other expenses PLUS debt repayment plan PLUS savings- however little- PLUS taxes, etc)...once my debt is gone, this would go down significantly (as, currently, about 43% of my income goes towards debt...still an improvement over the 47% that I was allocating last year!)...
My job here is "secure" for 4 more years (the life of the program!)...notice the quotation marks, because, really, NO ONE's job is ever secure, is it?...
anyway...my goal is to be debt free, and then save for the dowpayment for a house (notice how my ticker is now showing the amazing amount of $30? It's a start!...once I finish with the debt, I'll be beefing that up!)...I then want to get my own house (easier to do if you are "employed"...but now banks are starting to also grant loans for "independent" people - to use their own words!)...SO, I guess my strategy would be to get the loan with the bank while I'm still employed here (before sept 2012), THEN make the jump!...does that sound like a plan??

salary adjustment

June 25th, 2008 at 01:31 pm

we just received an announcement that we will get a 2.5% salary adjustment starting next payperiod (o, due on 7/11) yay!

In my case, it's about $27/month...hey, that's $27/month I don't have, currently...I'll probably use the first $27 to open a savings account to start putting money away to pay my taxes next year (as I estimate I'll have to pay about $4,500!)

Nice gift!

June 13th, 2008 at 04:06 pm

A while back,boss#1 got a copy of then-unreleased (?) book, called The Lempa River, Flow of Life... I admired the book, but said nothing.
Today, the book was officially released and, boss#2 got a copy...which he just gave to me! YAY!

It has pictures and information about the Lempa River, which is our most important river in ES! - In turn, I'm giving it to Ale (but, I'll be the guardian for now!)

Ack! Taxes

June 10th, 2008 at 08:34 pm

..not wanting to be caught off guard next year, I modified the excel sheet my co-worker gave me to calculate my taxes for next year...I've input the salary info (old salary for the first 9 pay periods, new salary going forward) and linked it to my translation business sheet for translation income/ taxes...
Just with that info, I've already jumped into a higher tax bracket...and my estimated taxes for next year are at $4,000....If I reach my goal of $1,000/ month average, I'd have to pay $5,000...
this year I had to pay about $2,600...

OUCH! ...I guess I need to start a fund for that, too!

Thing is, the Embassy - by law- cannot withhold income tax from our salaries (although we do have to pay income tax) ...AND, for services, the translation companies withhold 10% of my income as income tax (which they have to deliver to the Ministry of Treasury)...BUT, given the (estimated) level of income, I'd have to pay 30% income tax ...
and, given that I don't need a car to do my job, and that the laptop was a gift...well, I don't have business-related deductions...

oh, wow, MORE translations!

June 10th, 2008 at 10:48 am

I got a 3-part document yesterday...managed to finish it and send it in (now that I know the piece I'm working on is due on the 12th)...that should be about $65...my monthly average is slowly climbing again towards the $1,000 mark- currently at $950....and I still have 2 weeks in June that would go towards the July total...Great!

woo-hoo! my award is $500!

June 9th, 2008 at 01:56 pm

remember I said I didn't know how much my cash award was?...well, it was $500!!! (approved for $500, my bosses had asked for $1K!)...
This will go towards debt! -woo-hoo!
It should be included with my next payment, on June 13th, so I know that there will be deductions, but, still...
AND, you should see the note they wrote to justify it! WOW!

New office and leaving early today!

May 27th, 2008 at 04:01 pm

We were assigned new, larger office space- yay!
we moved today- not yay!
My workstation did not fit the way it did in the other space (it's a combination reception desk/workstation/file cabinet)...so...we had another piece of it in storage...had to get it out of storage...had to change the orientation of the whole thing (my drawers used to be on my left, now they are on my right hand side!)...making that change took a lot longer than anticipated...as a result, half my furniture is still NOT in....hopefully tomorrow.
This also delayed the setting up of IT equipment, so I have my computers (yes, I use 2!), but I only have 1 (out of 3) printers...
Because the furniture is not in its proper place yet, I haven't been able to unpack my files, paper supplies and other knick-knacks!
I haven't been able to set up the coffemaker, either!

At least, my boss#1 office is set up and I was able to unpack all his stuff already. All that is needed is his conference room table (which we had in storage due lack of space at the other offices)...

Boss#2's furniture is set up, and he is only pending unpacking his files...

our DAS' (development assistance specialist) office had not been painted, so that his office is less than 50% ready!...and I'm leaving on FRIDAY!!!! ((breathe in, breathe out))
Hopefully, this will be all set up by tomorrow!!!
oh, yes, and I'm leaving at 5:00pm today, since there's not much else I CAN do!

Ready for the move!

May 23rd, 2008 at 04:10 pm

Our offices are relocating...All my stuff/ general office stuff is already packed. I also had to pack boss#1's stuff, since we were told on Wednesday that we will move on Tuesday and, he had requested the day off today so he could travel...which means he should have packed yesterday, but he had a lot of meetings and a lot of work that had to be done by COB today (which meant he had to finish COB YESTERDAY if he wanted to go on vacation)....good thing is, since our office is fairly new (1 year) and we are paperless (as much as possible, anyway), all HIS stuff fit in 3 boxes! yay!
My stuff took about 7 (but then, I have the paper/office supplies, equipment and, even the coffeemaker is considered "mine"!)....Everything is boxed and labeled, even the furniture! (so movers know which desk goes in which space!)... this should speed up things on Tuesday!I get a much larger space, and 1 window!!!...boss#1 and #2 get almost twice the space, boss#1 gets 5 windows!!!- boss#2 only 1 window...IT has promised we wil only be off-line/without phones for 2-4 hours...we'll see...

Had to leave the office at 1pm, though, since I got a migraine (duh: packed my "emergency" aspirin yesterday, and was too lazy to dig it up today while I still had a normal headache!)...it's ok, since boss#2 had decreed that, since all our stuff is boxed up anyway, we'd get early dismissal at 2:30 (provided we had finished with the packing!)....

I wasn't that far off!

May 22nd, 2008 at 08:42 pm

I estimated $70 pre-tax on the new translation job, and it actually came out $67.68.
Done and delivered! (well, sent!)

Next week is going to be crazy at the office!...
5/26 we get off due holiday in the US
5/27 they are moving us from our current offices to newer, larger ones one floor down!
5/28 I'd guess we'll be unpacking!
5/29 am- webinar pm- cash award ceremony (from 3pm to 5pm!)
5/30 - I'M OFF TO DISNEY!!!

Oh, and my boss leaves tomorrow for a long weekend, so I'll be packing HIS stuff, too!

woo-hoo! cash award!

May 12th, 2008 at 11:21 am

There's a program at work whereby your boss can nominate you for a cash award. The nomination is then reviewed by a committee...well, my bosses nominated me and I got it! ...I still don't know how much it is, but, hey, any (legally obtained) unexpected income is welcome in my house!!

stressed out!

February 26th, 2008 at 01:32 pm

ugh! tough week at work (notice it's just Tuesday?)....tough environment at home with sis crying every 10 minutes then starting to tell me how unfair it is that she cannot get her loan because of cousin...(at least, cousin has NOT been calling me!)...Ale has not been slacking at school...it hasn't affected her grades (yet) but I've had at least 3 "did not work in class today" notes last week!...to top it all off the newspaper says gas prices will go up by $0.17 this week!....


I think I can, I think I can...

February 22nd, 2008 at 09:35 pm

Some of the latest translation jobs I got will most probably be paid in April, so I have updated my excel file to divide /4 to get the monthly average....it's still at $1,043!!...

If things continue like this, I will be able to pay off enough debt by May to actually consider the Disney trip before the end of June! ....

I think I can, I think I can....

((that being said, I AM tired...and I'm taking this Sunday - and, hopefully, all next weekend!-off!...we are going to visit my aunt in the mountains -- she retired to her family home, right in the middle of town, in the heart of coffee-growing mountains!))

job title....

February 12th, 2008 at 11:31 am

funny...my boss has been asking would-be visitors to make all their logistics arrangements through "MI, our office administrator"...LOL! didn't know I had gotten a promotion! -- my guess is that the visitors would probably feel more confident going through the Office Administrator than going through the Admin Assistant! (oh, yes, titles DO matter!)

Great news!

December 14th, 2007 at 09:31 pm

The place where the children's party we are organizing is going to be held allowed cousin to drop off the toys today...so she loaded her car and asked a neighbor (that has a van) to help her transport them all (it took 4 trips in total!) and she started sorting!!!...we only have 4 pages of names to go! (about 100 toys out of 500!) ...we have to leave at 7:30am tomorrow...the party starts at 3pm, but we have to set up in the morning and make sure everything-s ready...

One of our first-time customers called: she said the president of the coffee cooperative (who she says is quite snobbish!) was impressed with the toys we supplied!...she also says the people were very happy, as in previous years they have handed out toys that looked cheaper...)She spent the same amount, but the toys we sent her look nicer than the ones from previous years...so, we're guessing they'll come back next year, too!...

Also, on the translation front (no, I haven't finished yet, shame on me!)...
well, there are good news about a potential business venture opportunity there....still don't know much, and, of course, right now it's "top secret"...don't worry, I don't believe in "get rich quick schemes"...it's just an opportunity to have access to more customers...woo-hoo!...will let you know as soon as I know more about it!

you've got to be kidding me!

December 11th, 2007 at 08:48 am

one of our toy customers- who's having the children's party on saturday- called and said they had missed "a few children" in the first list, and would we come get an updated one (why they don't send an electronic version, I don't know, but I hate it, because we have to input everything in the computer to work the labels and stuff!)...well, it turns out they missed 187 kids!...187!!!...that' s not "a few"!!!...and, while it is good moneywise, workwise it's the pits!...I mean, we haven't even BOUGHT these toys, and we have to wrap them, tag them and separate them by parent (we make a bag with the employee's name and then we fill it with the gifts for his/her child/ren, as appropriate)...it's crazy!...we only have 3 days...and it's not like we don't have OTHER customers!!!...

panick mode!

December 7th, 2007 at 09:28 am

I'm overcommitted for this weekend!...
these are the events:
1. Ale's church meeting (yes)
2. Embassy's Xmas festival for children (don't think we'll be able to make it!)
3. gift-wrapping/order preparation fest with cousin (definitely YES!)
4. Xmas get-together with translation agency folks (VERY difficult)
5. 20-year anniversary class reunion (also VERY difficult)
6. 35 pages of translation....

HELP!!!....oh, and here I am, instead of trying to reduce those 35 pages..I'm blogging!

oh, no, ANOTHER toy sale!

December 6th, 2007 at 09:32 am

we're going into panick mode!...we had another call from someone wanting more toys...not that we are complaining, but, it would have been better if it had come 2 weeks ago! (more time to do everything right!)...

and, speaking of wasted time...cousin was asked for a few extra toys for one of the companies that bought toys in Nov...when she went to deliver the toys, she saw they were UNWRAPPING our toys!...they didn't buy ALL their toys from us, just some...they asked us to wrap the toys because they thought the other companies would wrap them too...but, those companies wanted to charge them an additional $0.13 per package....(we offer to do it "at no additional cost"...truth is, the cost is already considered in the price, so if the buyer doesn't want it, it's actually additional income for us!- but, most of OUR customers are OUR customers because of the convenience!- we wrap, tag and even group them together in bags with the employees' names! so all the HR dept has to do is check for accuracy and hand them out!)

...and MORE translations!!!

December 5th, 2007 at 10:47 am

this is a Law they want translated...fortunately, this is one law I'm quite acquainted with (acquisitions by govmnt entities)...but, it may be quite extensive...most probably, I'll agree to do only a PART of it, as it is quite urgent and I wouldn't want to overcommit!

my work for today....

November 22nd, 2007 at 07:45 am

since I'm off due Thanksgiving, my work today consists on packing the invitations/food tickets for a customer's children's party!...the tickets are already cut and stapled together in sets, so all I need to do is:
1. look at the list
2. cut out the employee's name
3. paste it on the envelope
4. count the number of people on his/her family group
5. count ticket sets according to # of family members
6. stuff tickets in the proper envelop
7. add one invitation card
8. seal the envelope with tape
9.Once I have all envelops for a particular division/unit- place them in a manila envelope
10.label the manila envelope with the division/unit name
11. seal the manila envelop with tape

other than that, I need to work on my niece's bag, I made a date with a friend for lunch at my house (I'm supposed to pick her up. Nanny made a chicken yesterday that was very good and I asked her to make some rice- which smells wonderful) and a date with another friend to go watch Hairspray again!

No, no turkey here today....but, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to those of you who DO celebrate it today! (whether with or without turkey!)

~$20 more!!

November 7th, 2007 at 09:39 am

have a new translation, which I'll work on during my lunch hour...I estimate about $20 from it...pre-tax...hey, it helps!! Smile

I'm learning about energy generation now! LOL!...

...could you believe my "average" additional income for this year (from translations only) is $500?...what's amazing to me is that the first semester is about $600...the rest is all August-Nov...but, I'm willing to go with the $500 average...if I can keep it up, I could even be debt-free by next December!!...("happy numbers")...that would be soooooo sweet!

$37 more!

November 6th, 2007 at 08:01 pm

well, $33 once you take out the taxes!!...woo-hoo! this was a ppt presentation....these are becoming my "specialty"! Smile

....I got 26 pages of transltion from the office...they scared me, because originally the guy that sent them said it was about 100 pages...I guess he was kidding, but, I HAVE seen translations that big, so I thought he was serious!...he really scared me!...as it is, since my boss said I COULD do it IF I had the time and IF I felt like it (because he said it is this guy's responsibility to have the doc translated if he needs it in English, not ours), I have been doing it in my "dead" time at the office and, have already sent along 15 pages....I expect to be finished by Thursday, at the latest... 1. it helps me get more acquainted with what we are doing and 2. it will help my reputation around the office! :P

Tough translation

October 28th, 2007 at 09:26 pm

this one was for the office...I definetely need to read up on:

productive development
dairy production
fruit growing
rural electrification
water and sanitation

ack!... it has been very difficult to translate all this...I hate it, as it makes me feel stupid...(on the other hand, one of the reasons I LIKE translating is that it gives me the opportunity to learn about a lot of new topics!...so I guess I should be grateful!-once I have acquired the vocabulary, it will be much easier!)

Makes me wonder, though, why I always end up with translations when our counterpart has a full-time translator...oh, well...it's in MY job description!

Thank God!

October 23rd, 2007 at 11:24 am

all my work colleagues are going to Honduras for a regional conference. I'm to stay and "guard the fort"....they leave tomorrow and come back next Monday...I was starting to wonder what I was going to do with myself for 3 whole days (it's slow when they ARE here, imagine with them, and 95% of the people at HQ being gone!), when, the people in HQ decided to send me some translations (these do not mean extra money, as it is part of the job description, but, hey, they'll keep me sane!) LOL!

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