We had the good fortune of connecting with Alice Gualandris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alice, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Over time my work-life balance has changed a lot. When I was an employee my schedule was dictated by external conditions, which made me feel like I was never in control of my workflow. Hence, the feeling of having ‘taken over’ is probably what I most love about freelancing. As a conference interpreter, I am virtually on duty 24/7 and yes, I do work long hours. The distinction between work days and the weekend is often blurry – I have found myself staring at my laptop at 3am more than once (can anybody relate?). However, I manage to carve out a one-hour chat over a cup of tea or squeeze in a Wednesday breakfast with a friend, go see my sister at her law firm for a quick brunch or organise a little Thursday getaway with my partner: this freedom pays me back for all the times I have to be on on a Sunday. Most importantly, once a year I just shut off from the world and leave for India for a one-month intensive yoga retreat: it recharges my batteries and keeps me focused for the challenges ahead. I believe one could see it in two ways: either I am always working, or I am always off. I like to think it is the latter!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My journey has been a bit twisted. I am not one of those people who felt like they were ‘born to be’. After completing a first MA in Languages, Cultures and International Communication, I left for Sydney, Australia, for an internship at the Italian Consulate. Then my life was shaken up again and I ended up in Milan, Italy, where my roots are. It took me years to channel the sensation of not belonging anywhere towards something productive. That is how I chose to go back to university and become a Conference Interpreter – always on the move, never doing the same thing twice. That is what keeps me going. How did I position myself onto the market? Hard work, focussing on building on my knowledge and skills and believing I could make it in the troubled waters of freelancing. My take home message is definitely: no pain, no gain.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout goes to my mum, my dad and my sister: it does not sound very original, I know, but they are the ones who supported my through the difficult transition towards taking a leap of faith. And my to friend Michael, the best brother from another mother I could have ever wished for!