Monday, June 22, 2009

Some consolation

Whenever I think about just how boring, repetitive and unimportant my job is I think to myself, "At least I'm doing it en français."

Some part of my ego is consoled by that, because there was a time when I thought that people who were fluent in a second language were borderline superhuman. I remember watching (not listening to, for my skills in the language were by that point atrophied to uselessness) one of my favorite professors give a lecture in Spanish. To think, there were people -- other students, like me -- who dared to sign up for an entire semester's worth of such classes. Unthinkable.

Now I fix programs that no one uses, write documents that no one reads, and respond to urgent e-mails concerning technical problems that will soon be ignored or forgotten, but I do it all in French. And that makes it cool. Almost.

I also know now that anyone can do it if they put their mind to it, or if they are lucky enough to be seduced by the right foreigner. But I don't let my ego in on this discovery.

2 comments:

Mom in France said...

You should feel good about it! Using your second language at work is super-cool. I work at a very international IT company that has attracted over half its staff from other countries so naturally the day to day language is officially English (all written & presented communication) while all the real work gets done in French. I know people who have lived here for more than 10 years and still only speak a spattering of what I call "restaurant-french."

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

I am amazed by folks who live for extended periods of time overseas without bothering to truly learn the language. It always seems to me like the best opportunity for language learning, short of falling in love with someone who speaks another language, of course!

Speaking of which, I'm perplexed by the folks who meet and marry a foreigner and never bother to learn their language. It seems like a shame.