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Excellent agency - Rude Operations Manager!
Thread poster: Andrea Clarke

Andrea Clarke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:32
German to English
Sep 18, 2008

I have had quite a disturbing experience with an excellent translation agency in Holland. I have been working for them for about 4 years now and up to 6 months ago I never had a problem with payments or anything else.
However, over the past 6 months I have repeatedly had to query their late payments (between 2 and 3 weeks overdue!). Once again this month the payment was due by the 4th of October - I spoke to the accounts manager on that day and she apologized and said it would go out with the next batch the next day, so thinking an IBAN transaction takes 5 days, I did not worry so much that my mortgage wouldn't be paid on time. By the 12th of October I still had not received the money so I sent another email but did not receive a response. So yesterday (17th) I decided to contact them by telephone. The accounts Manager was not there so I spoke to the Operations Manager who told me he would email me the transaction details that day and that the payment was on its way. At 5 pm I rang them again, as I had not received the email.
I only managed to say my name and he started accusing me of being aggressive just because he hadn't managed to contact me within 5 minutes, that he was very busy and that he had told me that the payment was on its way. The fact that he said he was going to email me with the payment details had obviously slipped his mind! I told him that I was merely querying this payment and that I was disappointed because I had never had a problem before but that over the past months I have repeatedly had to chase after payments, which according to their own payment terms were due 30 days after receipt of the invoice.
I couldn't believe it when he said "Well, if you don't like it then nobody is forcing you to work with us, and by the way, let me introduce myself, my name is ... and I am the Operations Manager and co-owner of ...."
Luckily I have a number of great agencies that I work for so I am not dependent on this one. I shall not be working for them again - shame about the work and the nice people that I have dealt with in the past.
Has anybody else been treated like this or am I being totally unreasonable in querying this payment?



[Edited at 2008-09-18 15:47]

[Edited at 2008-09-18 15:49]


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Miguel Garcia Lopez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:32
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
Never, it deserves a negative feedback Sep 18, 2008

Hi,

I never been treated like this. For sure, it deserves a negative feedback in their profile.

Miguel.


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Andrea Clarke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
But is it relevant? Sep 18, 2008

Hi Miguel,
thank you for your response. I was thinking the same thing, but can I justify giving the agency a late payers comment at 3 weeks overdue? Also the PM's have always been great so the agency is still worth working for (albeit not for me out of principle now) - I have never dealt with the OM before.... So can I ruin their perfect blueboard record on that basis??


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Italian to English
+ ...
The Blue Board is not there just for comments on payment practices Sep 18, 2008

WWA stands for "Would work again" - whatever your reasons are for wanting or not wanting to work with them. So whether or not your payment was overdue is irrelevant - you don't want to work with them again because of the attitude of this one person, and you're perfectly entitled to say so (diplomatically).

[Edited at 2008-09-18 20:59]


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Andrea Clarke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you - I will do that! Sep 18, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

WWW stands for "Would work again" - whatever your reasons are for wanting or not wanting to work with them. So whether or not your payment was overdue is irrelevant - you don't want to work with them again because of the attitude of this one person, and you're perfectly entitled to say so (diplomatically).


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
He is obviously under a lot of pressure Sep 19, 2008

Andrea Clarke wrote:
I only managed to say my name and he started accusing me of being aggressive just because he hadn't managed to contact me within 5 minutes, that he was very busy and that he had told me that the payment was on its way. ... I couldn't believe it when he said "Well, if you don't like it then nobody is forcing you to work with us, and by the way, let me introduce myself, my name is ... and I am the Operations Manager and co-owner of ...."


He is obviously under a lot of pressure. The fact that he can't handle this situation coolly is testimony to the fact that it doesn't happen often, so he's doubly under pressure. Be lenient. He's a good client with a very bad day.


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Andrea Clarke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
We all have bad days! Sep 19, 2008

Hi Samuel,
Yes I understand that we all have bad days and that it why I posted this topic here. I have actually received a few emails on this same agency from other translators who have had similar problems with payments.

The thing that really bothers me about that is however, that there was no apology for this behaviour. He sent me an email to confirm that the payment had gone out, but just added a blase comment that they sometimes "slip up" with payments.
I actually (why I don't know!) apologized to him in my email if I had come accross as being aggressive as that was not my intention...

I just think that these people should not forget that we are also professionals and are also under great pressure.
Imagine if I had said to a client, I can't deliver my work on time - if you don't like it then don't work with me... I would be out of business very quickly don't you think?

Anyway, thank you Samuel and to everyone else for their comments. I live in hope that this sort of thing won't happen to me again!!



Samuel Murray wrote:

Andrea Clarke wrote:
I only managed to say my name and he started accusing me of being aggressive just because he hadn't managed to contact me within 5 minutes, that he was very busy and that he had told me that the payment was on its way. ... I couldn't believe it when he said "Well, if you don't like it then nobody is forcing you to work with us, and by the way, let me introduce myself, my name is ... and I am the Operations Manager and co-owner of ...."


He is obviously under a lot of pressure. The fact that he can't handle this situation coolly is testimony to the fact that it doesn't happen often, so he's doubly under pressure. Be lenient. He's a good client with a very bad day.


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Andrea Clarke  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:32
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
There are small miracles! Sep 19, 2008

[quote]Andrea Clarke wrote:

The thing that really bothers me about that is however, that there was no apology for this behaviour.

I have now received an email from the OM in question with an apology for overreacting! Apology accepted.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:32
Dutch to English
+ ...
Edited comment Sep 19, 2008

No longer relevant - apology has been made

[Edited at 2008-09-19 09:36]


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Jennifer Barnett  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:32
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Rude operations manager - don't give up! Sep 19, 2008

Dear Andrea,

Sorry to read of your bad experience and its consequences. I have come across this inappropriately aggressive reaction from men quite a lot. My interpretation is that the perpetrator feels really guilty about the subject but to admit guilt would bring about such a dreadful punishment (think - dominating, aggressive parent hovering in the background of their mind waiting to pounce) that it is easier to blame you for putting them in this situation in the first place - how dare you make me feel guilty!. Such people never really feel safe with people - very sad - and they are terrified of doing anything wrong. Any stress would of course make this much worse.

Still, there is no excuse for such behaviour in a work situation. The only thing you can do to avoid losing them is not to be swept away with their emotions: stay calm and super reasonable, ask what the problem is, stay focussed on the problem, show sympathy (showing that you are not like their aggressive parent) and that you are willing to help solve/understand the problem (if possible/reasonable), not hit them over the head with it. Yes, treat them like a child! which in fact they are in this mood (never, never, ever say that!!).

If I were you, I would ring him back after a couple of days and say that you want to make up, now that you're both calmed down, opening with something like, ' Hey, that must have the stress day from hell for you!' to break the ice. Actually, the right dose of humour can defuse a heated moment very well - laughter is a release of emotion.

Do try it. He is probably feeling really, really bad about losing it in front of you.


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