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Poll: Do you consider yourself to be your own boss?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:23
SITE STAFF
Feb 3, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you consider yourself to be your own boss?".

This poll was originally submitted by Elías Sauza

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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bookwormkt
Local time: 04:23
French to English
+ ...
I'm my own boss for this part of my work/life! Feb 3, 2009

I am just starting off in translation work for money, so I am my own boss in this part of my work/life. This work will need to fit round my part-time teaching post and the family and dogs!

I have a boss in my main job. she is great and we get on very well.

Of course, at home my husband is the boss.....or so he tells me!!!


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Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:53
Member
German to English
Other - Yes mostly my own 'boss', but.... Feb 3, 2009

I became a freelance translator (and consultant in another non-language related field as well) after about 18 years of working for a research institute and medium to large sized companies thereafter. As a 'senior manager' I've also had people reporting to me in the companies I've worked for.
As a freelancer, I'm mostly my own 'boss', but in fact, just like at some of the companies I used to work for, it's actually the customer who I feel is the real 'boss'. Yes, most of us do not work for just one customer, and in that sense there is no one person who is our 'boss'. Yet, it's the customer who decides if my work is worth the money which is being shelled out - and whether 'one good turn deserves another'. It's the customer who ultimately decides the length of my working hours and several other things. While organisationally I do not report to anyone as a freelancer, and indeed I am free to accept a job or leave it, I do not get the feeling that I am completely "my own boss". Wonder how other colleagues - who've worked for other companies or organsiations - feel now that they are 'on their own'?
Regards,
Venkatesh


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:23
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Yes, I do. Feb 3, 2009

I'm a full time freelancer, so I'm my own boss. Can't think of anyone else.

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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 21:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
As a translator/interpreter... Feb 3, 2009

I have always been a freelancer, so I am my own boss. I have one at the university where I teach. She is a very nice person and we get along very well, she fully understands my duties as translator and interpreter.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 05:23
English to French
+ ...
Yes Feb 3, 2009

I am free to organise my time as I please, accept what I want, decline what I don't want (a luxury not everybody can afford, true), start at 6.00 am as I do and stop at 3.00 pm or whenever I feel like it, work week-ends if necessary and take a (long) break in the low season if I feel like it.
I am not desperate for money, I want to earn enough to live a decent life. When I run out of funds, I work more, which leaves less time to spend the earnings


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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 00:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
A boss with many people to report to... Feb 3, 2009

Like everything in life, being a freelancer has its pros and cons. I enjoy my freedom, but I don't feel I "own" my time. Each client is a boss with its own rules, whims, and deadline, and my agenda is full. I report to many people!

Besides, this job requires as much discipline like as any other one, and I have found myself to be more demanding than any of the several bosses I had during the first stage of my career --and believe me, I can be a bitch when dealing with myself!

The bottomline, though, is that I love translating and I would much rather do it from home than in-house, even if I got an amazing $$$ offer.

Happy translating, guys!


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María Eugenia Wachtendorff  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 00:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Off topic Feb 3, 2009

What happened to the "Edit" button? I see I made a mistake ("like as") and I can't fix it.

[Edited at 2009-02-04 13:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-04 13:45 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Absolutely not Feb 3, 2009

I'm glad someone finally asked this question. I consider the idea that we're our own bosses as one of the "myths" of being a freelancer. Obviously we have a right to say no to work - but how many of us do? How many independently wealthy translators, who always call their own shots, are there out there?

The Catalans have a saying, Qui paga mana. It basically means that the person who's paying is the boss and my own belief has always been that anyone who pays me to do a job is my boss. If they say, "I want this yesterday" I have the choice of responding and telling them to "drop dead" or getting on with the job according to the client's (boss') orders. If I choose the former, they have the right to "show me the door" just like a boss has with employees in a company.

I would agree that as freelancers we have a certain flexibility that salaried workers don't have (e.g., organizing my time as I see fit) but I'm still obligated to fulfill the conditions the client has given me, and isn't that what employees with "real" bosses also do?


[Edited at 2009-02-03 18:51 GMT]


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Josée Desbiens
Canada
Local time: 23:23
English to French
Clients are definitely the bosses! Feb 3, 2009

From my point of view, clients really are the bosses. When you say no to them too often (for several reasons, because you're too busy or you're not comfortable with the text or with the rate for instance)they don't come back. When they decide not to come back to you even if they "used" you for a long while and told you that you were doing a great job, they're the bosses. When they decide not to pay or pay you late, again they are the bosses. They're also the one who fix the timeframe and the conditions. Only very specialized and well established translators can think that they really are in control!!!!

And let me say that right now, clients really make me feel that they are the one who pull the strings because I don't have enough work...


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Do you really consider your client to be your boss? Feb 3, 2009

I'm surprised at the number of replies saying that the client is the boss. I wonder how many of those who replied that way think that they are the boss of their plumber, electrician, doctor, internet provider, accountant, etc, etc. I certainly don't feel that way.

I understand the feeling behind it, in that if we don't satisfy their needs we'll soon be out of clients, thus out of work and nobody's boss. The English say "the customer's always right" and I agree with that (within reason). But to me, they're clients, and I'm the 'boss' - in quotes, as that doesn't sit too well for me either.

Surely the 'boss' is the one who decides whether to accept/reject work, who sets the right price for accepted jobs and then undertakes to perform the work to the client's satisfaction.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 00:23
English to Spanish
Mostly, yes Feb 3, 2009

Mostly, I think of myself as my own boss... I choose whether to accept an assignment (or not), I -usually- suggest the deadlines according to my availability at the time (and negotiate if the client needs it sooner), I set my own schedule and I set my vacations. I don't have to "beg" nor give a million explanations if I have a doctor's appointment at normal office hours and I can choose to take a 2-hour lunch if I choose to.

BUT, on the other hand, I answer to lots of different people and, like MEW pointed out, every one of them has their own rules and expectations as to how they want the job done. They obviously cannot fire me nor force me to take on a given assignment (as oppposed to my time in-house, when I had to translate whatever they threw my way whether I felt qualified or not), but they CAN choose not to work with me anymore if they feel I don't live up to their expectations... so in that sense, yes, I think that my clients are a boss 'of sorts'.

Greetings

Andrea

**Edited to add that the "Edit" button is working now**

[Edited at 2009-02-03 20:38 GMT]


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andres-larsen
Venezuela
Local time: 23:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
work-at-home wordrate and workload setter Feb 3, 2009

I work at home, setting myself my own wordrates and workloads, based on feedback from my translation customer portfolio

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Eszter Bokor
Austria
Local time: 05:23
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
Asking the right question might bring us closer to the answer... Feb 4, 2009

The question IS relevant, but maybe should be put in another way: what does freelance-status mean? What this boss-question boils down to me is: Do the pros of being an enterpreneur outweigh the cons - freedom, self-determination, not being afraid of a layoff vs. insecurity, no steady flow of money, having to shoulder all the work and responsibility alone and also having to make all decisions by myself? Is this the fulfillment of all the dreams about "non-alienated" work and self-realisation, or rather a precarious state, the constant manoeuvring along the verge of the abyss without any safety net (e.g. proper social security, etc.) as intended by neo-liberals? Do we actually feel free, liberated from traditional hierarchies, or rather as slaves to current working conditions, having the illusion of freedom but being left with even more "invisible" constraints?
I wonder how other feel about it, but most of all: I wonder whether it (freelancing) works in the long run.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-02-04 00:42 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:23
English to French
+ ...
I am my boss Feb 4, 2009

Let's make this short and sweet: as long as you believe that you depend of your clients, you will never be your own boss. When you realize that your clients depend on you, you will be your own boss.

The real questions is - do you want to be the boss, or do you prefer to sacrifice quality of life and earnings just because it is easier?

People who consider their clients their bosses would really be better off working in-house...


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