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Are you afraid of going out, for fear of missing a job?
Thread poster: Louise Dupont

Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:54
English to French
May 3, 2003

I\'m not talking about agoraphobia, SARS, war, or bad weather. I\'m talking about being affraid of leaving your computer and phone for a couple of hours.... and miss \"The\" job....

Do you take you e-mails with your cell phone every half-hour, do you bring your laptop when your invited to family gatherings..... Are there any compusitter?

When you are getting establish every e-mail, every phone call and every job is important. What equipment do you have to stay in touch with your client. I don\'t want to feel guilty when I go out, and I still want to go out sometimes without missing anything.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
German to English
+ ...
Redirect phone calls May 3, 2003

Have your phone calls redirected to your mobile, if you are really concerned. Otherwise, answering machine.



Marc


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Equipment May 3, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-05-03 11:55, LDupont wrote:

What equipment do you have to stay in touch with your client?





Cell phone and pager.

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Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:54
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
What about e-mail ? May 3, 2003

What do you do with your e-mail?

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Gayle Wallimann  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
Member (2001)
French to English
+ ...
fear of leaving the computer.... May 3, 2003

I know how you feel, Louise. I\'ve borrowed a laptop to carry abroad for translations, during long summer vacations and I\'ve checked to make sure that I could have access to computers for other vacations when I couldn\'t get a laptop...I used to feel guilty about not being in touch all the time justin case a new job came through. Today, I\'ve decided that what will be will be, I need to get away just like any other person that works in a \"normal\" job. My family began resenting the computer last year, although that is what gives us the income to be able to go on a vacation, buy a washing machine when the old one breaks down, etc. I do leave messages for my regular customers telling them in advance when I will be absent for a period of time, and I get back in touch as soon as I\'m back home. Some of them that have regular weekly or bi-weekly work to be done, I do my translations from wherever I am at the time, however, I wouldn\'t worry about spending some time out. I have the philosophy that if someone tries to contact me when I\'m out and the job is given to someone else, then that job just wasn\'t meant to be for me.

Don\'t let your work take over your entire life.

Kind regards,

Gayle


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Hans G. Liepert  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 03:54
English to German
+ ...
stress May 3, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-05-03 13:23, LDupont wrote:

What do you do with your e-mail?





You can even re-direct e-mail to a cell phone. But I hardly can imagine you reading an e-mail in the opera house or in the cinema.

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Karl Apsel  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 02:54
Member (2001)
English to German
+ ...
Don't be a slave ... May 3, 2003

I fully agree with Gayle\'s posting ...



A few years ago I also carried my laptop with me on holidays - not so much to get new clients but to accommodate established clients. However, I found that trying to be available all the time defeats the purpose of being on holidays. Now the laptop stays at home - at least, if I loose business, I don\'t know about it. And important existing clients know when I am away. I can enjoy my time with my family! While on holidays, every now and then I go to an internet cafe to check my emails - if there is something important I phone the client to explain ...



With regards to non-holiday situations, I re-direct my office phone number to my mobile phone while shopping etc. (only during office hours, not while socialising in the evenings etc.). Emails is a different story ... I do not have a DSL connection as the infrastructure is not in place in the area where I live and I have lost a lot of jobs in the past over this. However, even if I had an \"always on\" connection I would not re-direct my emails to my mobile phone. The funny thing is that the really, really important clients will come back to you. They\'ll phone your mobile, will leave a message on your answering machine or will wait until you get your email (which is just a couple of hours later...).



In my experience, the \"rush, rush\" jobs from new clients are usually crab - badly paid (or you will have to run after your money) etc. - they want you because they can\'t find someone else ...



Finally, there is a bit of a philosophical approach ... I don\'t and I will not be a slave of my job - I enjoy it too much to be. Therefore my advice: Remote working is a wonderful thing, be available to your clients as often as possible but its quite okay not to be available at times. And don\'t become a slave to your mobile phone (with regards to checking emails)!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A question of priorities May 3, 2003

It\'s possibly a question of priorities that you still have to come to terms with. I consider my family first (what am I in this for), but at the same time -- and it wasn\'t easy -- I had to make them understand that THIS was also important to me. Still, believe me, it grows on them and they get used to it.



Clients also get used to you: X doesn\'t work at weekends or on certain days and under certain circumstances, will only do so much a day, etc.. Much of this \"quota\" bit is usually just common sense, anyway, and redounds to a quality output. That\'s easy enough to get across, especially if you make the case that it\'s for the greater benefit of your client, who gets a better product. And when your client DOES make the reasonable adjustments, it\'s a pleasure to be flexible. A weekend of overload? Sure, I\'ll chip in. You make a better impression being sincere, wholehearted and enthusiastic than for forcing yourself out of system.



Quote:


On 2003-05-03 13:23, LDupont wrote:

What do you do with your e-mail?





When I travel, whether for business or pleasure, I don\'t generally bring a laptop, but I download my messages from cybercafés every two days if the absence isn\'t going to be long enough to merit an advance notice. My mobile is always with me, but I turn it off at lunch, during meetings or interpretation sessions. Clients send me SMSs for anything urgent when this happens.



Take it in stride. It\'s nothing to develop phobic reactions about.

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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:54
English to German
+ ...
Professionalism involves professional working hours and off-time May 3, 2003

Hi there,



I do understand that sometimes one might be concerned about missing a job if not being at work.



But honestly, no one can work 24/7... two or three weeks off for summer/winter/whatever holidays is also a minimum one should have. There is no point in working one\'s a.. off, just for \"the job\" one could miss out on.



I think, professionalism involves working during working hours, and it is up to you to define when you are working and when not. Whenever I introduce myself to clients I clearly specify when they can reach me by phone, and I am not reluctant to simply switch on my answering machine outside my working hours. Even if I happen to be still at work when the phone rings doesn\'t mean that I have to answer these calls. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don\'t.



Unlike other translators, I do not take any computers or laptops with me on holiday. My mobile is switched off during holidays.



I do understand that, especially in the beginning, each and every job assignment can be very important. But if this turns out to be mere paranoia, then you should definitely reconsider your career as freelancer (in general).



Regards,



Sonja


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:54
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Relax! :-) May 3, 2003

Most of my customers are in a time zone 7 hours removed from mine, so after a certain hour, I can go shopping, run errands, etc. without worrying about missing a job.



However, if I am going to be out during \"working hours\" when they might contact me, I e-mail them about being out for an hour or two for a dr. appointment, etc.



I also tell customers well ahead of time when I will be on vacation, but I like to let them know that I will be checking e-mail during that time if inquiries come around for future jobs. I have also handled small emergency jobs during vacation if I can.



Sometimes if I don\'t have big plans, I make myself available to work during holiday periods like Christmas or Easter, and I hope that makes up for the other times that I am away on vacation or unavailable.



I would say figure out what your comfort level is. You might want to forward your calls while running errands, but not at family events or on weekends, for instance.


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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 03:54
Afrikaans to Spanish
+ ...
Time to work... May 3, 2003

and time to rest...clic...
[addsig]


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2004)
German to English
Technology is a wonderful thing May 3, 2003

Now I can divert both my phone and my email to my mobile phone. when I get an email an SMS pops up. As long as the message is in English I can ring up the voicemail service and it will read the email to me. I can then reply by voice and the other person receives a sound file. This is with Vodafone in the UK - the system isn\'t perfect - it doesn\'t like large files for example but it works. It really helps me to take time away from my desk without constantly wondering if I\'m losing work. If you want to be really flexible then buy a phone that has GPRS/data transfer capability and a laptop with Bluetooth (or a USB - Bluetooth adapter) or a data connection cable come to that and you\'re on the net as long as you have access to the mobile phone network. Next week I have the decorators in so I\'m planning to take off to my local library - no loss of connectivity!

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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:54
French to English
Agree with Sonia May 3, 2003

I agree fully with what Sonia has said. I\'m here most of the day, so I relish being about to take my bike for a spin for an hour or just get away from the computer. I never answer business calls after hours and I never take work on vacation. What would be the point?



I used to take jobs when my boyfriend and I went away on weekends until I botched one and lost the client. At that point, I realized it\'s better to refuse one job than to lose the client altogether!



I don\'t know why you should be afraid to go out for a couple of hours. If you have an answering machine, the client will leave a message and you can call back once you get home (or you can check messages remotely if you can\'t wait).



Everyone knows it\'s hard in the beginning, but I think the worst thing you could do is sit by the phone, especially if you don\'t have anything else to keep you busy. Go out for a walk or a bike ride, go do groceries, clean your house or do whatever. You could also spend that time marketing.



Good luck,



Erika



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Marijke Mayer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
wholeheartedly agree with my colleagues May 4, 2003

in that you should be able to take time off and away from the job. Otherwise you will burn out, and probably sooner than you think!



Good luck!

Marijke


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xxxIanW
Local time: 03:54
German to English
+ ...
Plan in advance May 4, 2003

Before going on holidays, I always let my customers know from when to when I will not be available (as do most people, I\'d imagine). I also offer to \"find a home\" for any translations that are expected during this time, and get a trusted colleague to take over the job, after providing reference files, memories etc. If you have these kind of colleagues, it works very well, and it\'s good customer service.



It\'s also a good idea to have an automatic reply for your e-mail, so that new customers will know straight away that you\'re on holiday and when you\'ll be back. I would always take a mobile with me if I\'m out during office hours, but apart from that it stays off - we translators are entitled to our leisure time as well. I often work in the evenings and on weekends, but I don\'t want to be contacted at those times.



At the end of the day, most clients will respect the restrictions that you impose - and if not, you can call them up at home in the middle of the night and announce your latest price increase ...


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