One of the main giving hands in the sign language interpreter economy is the scheduler of interpreting services for the local interpreting agency, university, or VRS company. These daring individuals play an extremely important role in the livelihood of most sign language interpreters. So, when it can literally mean the difference between thousands of dollars and ample opportunity or zippy, why are they so frequently unappreciated?
As a sign language interpreter, if you truly consider the impact a scheduler can have on the opportunities presented to you, it is clear that to invest in them is not just a good idea—its’ critically necessary. These are the folks who control who gets called first, offered the high profile and multiple day assignments, and pair interpreters for requests needing more than one.
So, what do you do to ingratiate yourself to these workers of logistical magic? How do you ensure you are considered among the first contacted when an opportunity presents itself?
What follows are suggestions for developing the type of working relationship that will position you top-of-mind with the sign language interpreter schedulers you work with.
Return Calls & Email
If you have ever sat near the desk of a sign language interpreter scheduler, you know that they initiate and receive hundreds of phone calls and emails week-in and week-out. Surprisingly, much of this correspondence seeking to pair artists with opportunity goes unanswered.
Even if you have the good fortune to be booked for the time inquired about by a scheduler, keep the karma of gratitude on your side and return their correspondence. It will go a long way to build the type of working relationship that will keep you at the front of the line when the sexy work comes in.
Take a Personal Interest
When returning these phone calls, take a few minutes to inquire as to how these logistical talents are personally. Find out about their lives, their kid’s lives, and the things that get them juiced about life outside the job. Coordinating logistics is an intense and thankless job. Pausing to take a personal interest shows that you aren’t just a taker, but you are a giver as well.
It’s easy to give to those that give.
Be a Partner
It is important to think of a scheduler as a partner. As partners, each of you has a job to do and both contribute to the success of any given opportunity. Therefore, do what partners do,
- Regularly offer appreciation for a job well done
- Always give them the benefit of the doubt
- Should a conflict or a mistake occur, address it with them directly before escalating it
- Take the unsexy job when they are in a tough spot, even if it is inconvenient
- Occasionally drop by the office to say a hello
- Extend a small appreciation gift on occasion (something on administrative professionals day is a no brainer)
- When encountering information that is relevant to their personal life, send it to them
To be a partner is to have a partner.
A Smart Investment
There are a number of places to make investments in your career as a sign language interpreter that is for sure. With that said, I can think of fewer investments that costs so very little and pay such a huge dividend.
These logistical field generals do a thankless job and one that makes doing our job more convenient. Let’s not make the mistake of mistreating or not appreciating them. It’s bad for the profession and bad form all around.
I double dog dare you to hug a scheduler and see what happens!