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stress & power cuts & aaaaargh!!! :-(
Thread poster: Eva Middleton

Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:14
German to English
Jun 27, 2006

I'm in the middle of a fairly big (and fairly horrible!) project (14000 words) which is to be followed by another one the same size (but hopefully not as awkward - this one is stuffed with weird acronyms).
Anyhow - unfortunately I've gone very much for an 'all eggs in one basket' approach and do almost all my work for one single agency.
Now, this morning I received a letter from my electricity supplier informing me that next week we will have power cuts on three days, from 9am - 4pm (we had a lot of power cuts last week so I presume they're going to repair whatever is wrong).
As I have three very young children I can only work when they're at school and nursery, so this power outage is less than convenient.
I emailed the agency to let them know that I wouldn't be able to do project 2 (it was already going to be finished as late as poss due to project 1 going on at the moment). I explained about the power outage problems and thought it wasn't too bad a thing to do - I'm giving them plenty of notice (project 2 isn't due for 15 days, so anyone who isn't as busy as I am at the moment could finish it well within that timeframe).
Anyway, I had a less-than-cordial email back from them - apparently I'm leaving them in the lurch, do I live in a third world country and not the UK, blablabla.
I'm really annoyed. I have been working for them for 6 months now and have never missed a deadline or handed in a poor translation. Above all I feel really stressed now at the thought of being pushed into doing project 2 anyway and possibly working nights.
Am I being unreasonable? Considering the timeframe I was surprised at the angry response.

PS: I do usually work evenings, anyway, so by working nights I do mean proper nighttime.

[Edited at 2006-06-27 14:02]


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Tadej Kokalj  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 03:14
English to Slovenian
+ ...
It is annoying Jun 27, 2006

You have two possibilities:
1. Work all night and sleep from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2. If you live in the house, try to rent portable power generator. It shouldn't cost much. On that power generator you can connect your computer (+ refrigerator, freezer), just conntact you electrician.

HTH
Tadej


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HarryHedgehog
Germany
Local time: 03:14
German to English
Can you borrow a laptop from someone? Jun 27, 2006

Obviously not the ideal solution due to battery limitations, but it would at least help you get a few hours' work in each day. Or perhaps you could go work at the house of a friend/relative who is not affected?

If your client stays snooty, you could remind him of the eastern seaboard blackouts in the U.S. a while back...

Good luck,
HH


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 02:14
... Jun 27, 2006

Is there anyone you can share the file with? Or a nearby (and fully-functioning) internet cafe?

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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:14
Member (2004)
German to English
Pushy project managers Jun 27, 2006

Can I have my moan about them too?

Example 1
"We have this legal document. I know you don't do legal but I can send you a template to help. 5000 words and deadline is 2 days"
So I start the translation and found the template worse than useless and my up the river without a paddle so I jacked it in.

Example 2
"28,000 words, 10 day deadline. Don't want to split it up."
Me: I am sorry I can't handle that much. Can I do 50% for you or proofread 100%?
Them: "No, u have to do it all."

Example 3
"Regular customer X is sending 2000 words next week, make sure you have the capacity to handle it"

Maybe I am being over-sensitive today but I have had enough of pushy project managers. These are my regulars but they are equally pushy. And because they are regulars they think you have to say "yes" to everything they send. I am not a robot and every now and again have a life to lead. I have worked so hard just recently and I want to have a break. I am sorry you can't replace me but I just want to do something else, not turn into a robot in front of the PC.

Thanks for listening to my moan! I feel better now.


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:14
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Pushy PM's Jun 27, 2006

I am a mother of triplets aged 7 and I also have problems during the summer trying to juggle work and kids. I think family should have priority. Being stressed out has a direct impact on my patience with the kids. So it's important to put the kids and your peace of mind first. If you can arrange a decent schedule, fine. If not, just be firm with the pushy PM's.

@Gillian: I so much agree with you! I would like to add another example:

PM: I have 3,000 words, medical, for tomorrow, can you take it?

Me: No, sorry.

Then, a few hours later:

PM: I have the same 3,000 words for proofreading, they will be ready the day after tomorrow, can you help with proofreading?

Me: I can take the proofreading (and in my mind: if you had offered me 2 days instead of one for completing the job, I would have taken the translation...)

Laura

[Edited at 2006-06-27 16:02]


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Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:14
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
got away.. Jun 27, 2006

So you know them too, Laura and Gillian?

I find the juggling aspect if freelancing the hardest thing, really. I'm trying to work out how to handle the summer holidays - don't think realistically that I'll be able to get much done at all.

Anyway, I've just had an email from the agency, they're going to find someone else for project 2 - phew! Am quite looking forward to my computer-free days now...


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Beth Dennison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:14
Chinese to English
+ ...
Library? Jun 27, 2006

Hi Eva,

I know it's far from ideal, but do you have a local library you could work from on the days concerned? My local (very small!) library has computers you can book for free if you're a member. They have a broadband internet connection and Word/Excel/Powerpoint software. I worked at my local library a little when the main electricity cable into my village exploded a month or so back!

Beth


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:14
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Silver lining.... Jun 27, 2006

Of course you can't do a job like that without power!!
Here are your options:
1) You tell the agency you'll rent a generator and will bill them for it because it's strictly for their job anyway.
2) You tell them you'll be happy to do it at their office (I assume it's not in your town). They pay your travel, hotel and meal expenses. And the babysitter, of course.
3) Don't do the job - you've certainly given them enough notice - and get the power company to send you a declaration saying what's happening. It's called force majeure! Then during the outages, since you're not working for them, you head straight over to a friend's house, internet café, whatever... and start splitting those eggs into different baskets! Send out that CV! contact other agencies!
An agency that is not willing to understand something totally beyond your control and is rude to boot would... get the boot from me!
Catherine

Eva Middleton wrote:

Anyhow - unfortunately I've gone very much for an 'all eggs in one basket' approach and do almost all my work for one single agency.


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:14
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Summer, kids, and work Jun 27, 2006

Eva Middleton wrote:
I find the juggling aspect if freelancing the hardest thing, really. I'm trying to work out how to handle the summer holidays - don't think realistically that I'll be able to get much done at all.


Eva,
I know what you mean!!! Here I am in Milan, with 33 degrees, trying to get some work done and at the same time time taking care of the triplets! In Italy school vacations last 13 weeks!

Laura


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Roomy Naqvy  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 06:44
English to Hindi
+ ...
on project managers and your problem Jun 27, 2006

I guess most of my PMs are excellent...and they are more than understanding. But there will be some who don't know what it is to be a PM... or just can't run their business properly... and I try not to work with such pushy people.

Well..I live in the Third World!!! I stay in New Delhi, India, and I have two kinds of power backup:

1. Inverter/home UPS, 800VA [less than 1KV] that gets me four fans/four tubelights for four-five hours but as I run less stuff and as I use only CFL bulbs, I get more time on it.

2. UPS/battery backup for the computer. This is dedicated for the PC.. 1KV with two small car batteries as backup support... I haven't exhausted it completely without power yet...but I had a similar UPS 4 yrs ago.. that outlived its life and that one gave me 7+ hours. I believe this one should give me more than 6 hours of backup. I have run up this one for about 1 1/2 hours or so...and it works well.

Then I do have a laptop as well... but I haven't used it in such crunch situations.

But I guess your PMs are quite pushy... also biased sometimes... if they make such 'Third World' kind of comments.

Roomy


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 03:14
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
"try to rent portable power generator" Jun 27, 2006

... and sing lullabys at the top of your voice from say 19:00 to 22:30?... that does not compute...

I'd rent a notebook and few extra batteries. And assume/pray/hope that when they're done at 4pm, power is on (not off) until the next morning.



[Edited at 2006-06-27 21:03]


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 01:14
German to English
+ ...
... Jun 27, 2006

Hi Eva,

Buy a Psion V or equivalent on ebay - They don't make them any more - a real shame for the best handheld organiser ever made. It runs off AA batteries - one pair lasts a couple of days, and connects to your PC. Gets round the laptop/UPS battery limitation - trade off is a smaller screen. Alternatively, email me if you want to borrow one.


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Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:14
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
bending over backwards for an agency Jun 28, 2006

Thank you for all the suggestions - I appreciate the practical input re. laptops, libraries and generators - but to be honest I am unwilling to go to such lengths when I've given them so much notice. I'd do all of those things if I felt that the notice period would be inadequate, but I really don't think that applies. Particularly considering my completely clean sheet with them AND the fact that their pay is very much at the lower end of what's acceptable.

I lean more towards Catherine's suggestion no. 3.

Anyway - it's all academic as they've emailed me back and said they'd reassign it. Phew!


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
I would do exactly what Catherine proposes... Jun 28, 2006

.. .especially No. 3:

cbolton wrote:
3) Don't do the job - you've certainly given them enough notice - and get the power company to send you a declaration saying what's happening. It's called force majeure! Then during the outages, since you're not working for them, you head straight over to a friend's house, internet café, whatever... and start splitting those eggs into different baskets! Send out that CV! contact other agencies!
An agency that is not willing to understand something totally beyond your control and is rude to boot would... get the boot from me!
Catherine


I loved the way she said it!


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