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Patronizing behavior from PM
Thread poster: Burrell

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:42
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Feb 16, 2007

Dear colleagues,

I have come across a what in my opinion is patronizing and unprofessional behavior from a project manager. I was contacted by her yesterday with a short text for translation. There was no deadline mentioned. I replied saying I can take it but I would need to know the deadline. 2 hours later she replied that she needs it ASAP and she had thought it will only take me a few minutes, sounded like she was surprised that I have not done it yet. Unfortunately I did not get this message for another hour as I was picking up my kids from school. When I finally got to my email, I read her message and replied, that I had no way of knowing it was urgent and that usually if no deadline is mentioned that means the deadline is rather long. I also mentioned that at this time of the day I pick up my children from school and feed them but I could do it now. I asked her to let me know if she still needed it done.
The reply was amazing - she would not have asked if she did not need it done in the first place and after consideration she has given it to somebody else.
I sent her email that all I was doing was actually making sure that she had not placed the job with anybody else before I started doing it, as I would have done it for free. And today the reply from her was "Think simpler! After your reply the job was given to somebody else".
I know I am terribly sensitive when it comes to rude behavior, I can detect undercurrents in their infancy. But this was rude and unprofessional which would not have been too surprising coming from an agency except that she was representing a government structure.
So to my utter shame I called this structure and filed an official complaint.
Do you think I have overacted and behaved like a real bitch? This person will now have trouble at work and it is not like the job was so good. At the same time I felt as if she had spat at me plus if she was in charge of dishing out translation jobs I will never get another job from this particular structure - she will make sure of it (actually she would make sure of it even if I had not complained).
Do you get to deal with rude people often? And how do you deal with them?

Ines


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 17:42
German to English
Translators, like other humans, are entitled to courtesy Feb 16, 2007

The PM needed to specify the deadline (or level of urgency) when offering the job. When offering a job, it cannot be assumed that the translator will know that it is due ASAP -- we don't do ESP. The PM was in the wrong in this case.

However, you shouldn't assume that any PM understands that you may have to pick up kids, feed them, take them to piano lessons, etc. or that he/she has any comprehension of what is involved in having a personal life. Otherwise they wouldn't call on Fridays at 17:00.


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Jalapeno
Local time: 23:42
English to German
... Feb 16, 2007

Burrell wrote:


So to my utter shame I called this structure and filed an official complaint.



The only one who should be ashamed is the PM, in my opinion. You did absolutely nothing wrong.

I'm sure if you had simply done the translation without waiting for confirmation, she would have refused to pay you because she never confirmed you should do the job.

Forget the whole thing, enjoy the weekend with your kids and work on your self-esteem ...



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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 07:42
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Where the sun don't shine Feb 16, 2007

Hi Ines,
I think you did the right thing and you're not a bitch. Actually you acted very professionally whereas I would have told her to stick her translation up her ****:)

What is with these PMs? They seem to forget they're absolutely NOTHING without good translators.

Don't feel any shame for what you did, you were professional, she is just a disgrace to the governmental agency she represents. Fingers crossed she gets fired:)

Forget about it and concentrate on the good agencies and PMs out there who do value good translators.

Best wishes,
Mark


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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:42
Member
German to English
+ ...
You're fine Feb 16, 2007

I think you're fine to have done what you did. Rude people deserve what they get. She didn't make it clear what she wanted, so it's her own fault. If people are rude to me in whatever context, I don't bother with them again - they have to earn their respect back. Of course, there is usual a reason behind their rudeness - insecurity, stress, shyness, or just plain insensitivity. Anyway, it's their problem not yours.

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PCovs
Denmark
Local time: 23:42
Member (2003)
English to Danish
+ ...
Unfortunately it happens every now and then Feb 16, 2007

I usually start my reply to such people by telling them that I find their approach rude and asking them to please take another tone with me if we are to communicate any further.

Some people take offence of this, but I don't really care, because I am not their lap dog or employee, and they'd better treat me right if I am to work for them.

You wouldn't shout and scream at anyone else you want to hire to do a specific job for you, would you? I mean not without expecting that this person would tell you were to stick your job before slamming the door on the way out.

And really I couldn't care less why they are rude to me - they are always offered a chance to apologise, and then we can start over. Sometimes you are just having a bad day, right? But if someone would refuse to apologise and simply keep up the rudeness, I would say bye-bye instantly! My time is too short for such behaviour, and I get worked up by people like that, which I don't need either.

I think you did right reporting this rudeness to the entity where she is employed. It hurts them too if their PM is unable to interact with potential freelancers.
We all know how bad behaviour can affect business adversely.


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Gert Hirschfeld  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
English to German
+ ...
Blue Board calling! Feb 16, 2007

Ines, please do let us know your comment via the BlueBoard. That's what it is for. Enter your experience there and you help other translators a great deal. Any sensible colleague would stay away from such a company, as they don't really want a headache after, or even before, a successful translation.

You might also want to consider sending a formal agreement to them, where they will have to specify the conditions and commit themselves. Such a form should include the deadline, cancellation charges, rates, etc.


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Şadan Öz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:42
English to Turkish
:) Feb 16, 2007

I agree with Gert.
I thought that this behaviour is unacceptable. By the way, I don't frequently meet such people.
Be careful while choosing your clients.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 18:42
SITE STAFF
From the Blueboard FAQ Feb 16, 2007

3. What are the conditions for making an entry concerning your likelihood of working again with an outsourcer?

You may only make entries for clients with whom you have worked on a project and to whom you have delivered work on time and without complaints related to quality. You may not make entries solely on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary interactions.

http://www.proz.com/faq/blue_board_agency#blueboard_clientreview

Regards,
Enrique

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-02-17 00:06]


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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:42
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
BB Feb 16, 2007

I actually have worked for this particular entity before (not with this person though) so I would be able to post a comment. However they are not an agency, they are part of government and every county has one of these units. I can hardly add UK authorities to BB, can I?

I will let you know how my complaint has been received when I hear anything back from them. And thank you for your support, I was not quite sure, if I was just overly sensitive or the PM was indeed a cow.


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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
French to English
Don't worry Feb 16, 2007

I think you did the right thing. If the translation was so urgent, why didn't she call instead of send an e-mail?

There was absolutely no reason for her rudeness. I'd be curious to know what happens to her!


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Sarah Downing  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
German to English
+ ...
You did the right thing Feb 16, 2007

There was obviously a lack of communication - on her part. She can hardly expect you to be psychic, can she? And, after all, you did ask her about the deadline. Furthermore, I think that her tone was out of order, and I think you did the right thing by complaining to the company - she had no right to address you the way she did and I think her company/the government agency should know about it because - as another poster already mentioned - she certainly isn't doing them any favours.

Never forget that you as a translator have the freedom to choose with whom you work, and you don't have to put up with stuff like this that you find inacceptable.

Bon courage!

Sarah


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:42
English to German
+ ...
You should not tell details of your private life Feb 16, 2007

I think you do not need to be ashamed but I understand very well how you feel. You care about others and that is a very good thing, but do not overdo it, there is a limit to everything.

I do not know how other colleagues feel about it, but I even think, you should not have explained the reason, why you were not online. You are not employed by this person and therefore you do not have to report to her. You had other things to do, maybe other jobs, and that's it.

If you offer insight into your personal life in this way, you may invite people to hurt you. Explaining/defending yourself often strengthens their belief that something was your fault.

And I also think PCovs' way of handling rudeness good. Just plain tell them that they are rude and they have to stop this.


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:42
Member (2004)
Italian to English
No excuses Feb 17, 2007

Claudia Krysztofiak wrote:


I do not know how other colleagues feel about it, but I even think, you should not have explained the reason, why you were not online. You are not employed by this person and therefore you do not have to report to her. You had other things to do, maybe other jobs, and that's it.


I agree. "I was busy" is my standard reply.
On another note, I have learned the hard way to NEVER start a job without a PO or written confirmation of the terms and delivery. For my regular clients, this can even be an e-mailed "OK". I set this up at the beginning of a working relationship and never sway from it, and I find that my clients have no problem with it.
Jennifer


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 23:42
Member (2007)
Dutch to English
I never start a job without confirmation of the dealine Feb 18, 2007

I think that confirmation of the deadline is one of the most basic things about translation jobs. Was this the first time you worked for the client?

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