The Linguist

The Linguist 60,3 - June/July 2021

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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adaptive response. People who believe that their talents can be developed – through hard work, good strategies and input from other people – develop more positive behaviours in the face of challenges than those who see their talents as fixed. Therefore research is looking at ways of fostering people's talents and personal resources, often referred to as psychological capital (PsyCap). PsyCap is concerned with who you are and who you are becoming. 3 As such, it is an augmentation of other forms of capital, such as social and cultural capital, which are more concerned with what you know, who you know and what you own. An individual's psychological state is viewed as a kind of capital that can lead to better performance and competitive advantage. PsyCap is relevant for attitudes to work, job satisfaction, performance, employee engagement, career progression, perceptions of employability and behaviour. It is therefore increasingly seen as a priority in occupational psychology. There are four established components of PsyCap (although others, such as emotional intelligence, are being considered): 1 Optimism: making a positive attribution about succeeding now and in the future 8 The Linguist Vol/60 No/3 2021 FEATURES In her Threlford Lecture, Séverine Hubscher-Davidson considers why wellbeing is at the heart of sustainable careers and economic success I n 2000, the United Nations published its ambitious millennium development goals, but it was in 2016 when there was a shift towards an aspirational, people-centred and globally focused development agenda with the launch of its sustainable development goals (SDGs). These highlighted 17 areas that require urgent action, including wellbeing and healthy living, decent work, and inclusiveness. So what is meant by wellbeing exactly and why is it a fundamental requirement for good health? In the past, good health might simply have suggested an absence of disease. The focus was on removing problems, so health and safety in the workplace was about preventing dangers. Then, in 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a definition of wellbeing as "a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual and social wellbeing", shifting the focus to positives and promoting growth. Wellbeing is considered an essential part of professional life. There has been a recent realisation that "economic well-being in the West has grown steadily since the Second World War but, in contrast, the degree of satisfaction and psychological well-being of individuals has not." 1 So are the language professions as concerned with wellbeing as other professions – and should they be? There is evidence that it is becoming a priority for both researchers and practitioners. Our working environment is increasingly unstable. CIOL's Insights Report 2021 noted: "In recent years there have been consistent reports of downward pressure on prices, potentially at the expense of the quality of the work produced. The increasing use of technology and limited public understanding of the added value offered by professional linguists are other challenges faced by today's practitioners." 2 Significant changes to the labour market include a rise in short-term contracts, flexible forms of employment, and job insecurity. Self-employed workers are particularly affected. Job-specific stressors for linguists include technological changes, low rates of pay and fast-paced places of work. The changing nature of our work has led to concerns about the sustainability of the profession and whether the linguists of tomorrow can have thriving and rewarding careers. This has led to increases in pressure, occupational stress, uncertainty and illness. Psychological capital But it's not all doom and gloom. To address these issues, a new field of study has emerged called the psychology of sustainability and sustainable development. It's an applied field of science-based practice, which focuses on regeneration and positivity. The concept of sustainability has been extended to encompass the psychological dimension of human development. Research in this area aims to understand how psychological processes can improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. The take-away is that a positive working environment, which promotes employee health, wellbeing and performance, is essential to our quality of life. The psychology of sustainability is concerned with how that can happen; how we can have meaningful work experiences in a challenging environment. Occupational psychologists now promote a focus on building relationships, regenerating resources, creating positive experiences and growth. In this framework, challenges are viewed as opportunities that require an Living sustainably

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