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I don't want to work, but I work :) - any solutions?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:06
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Jan 21, 2008

There is a joke about an alcoholic who wanted to train his will:

One day an old alcoholic decided that it is enough and decided he really wants to quit. And, as to make it happen, he decided to train his will.

He bought a bottle whiskey; put it on the table in front of him. And then, each 2 minutes, he repeated a phrase to himself "I do have a strong will - I do not want to drink, I do have a very strong will, I do not want to drink from that bottle". The story ended after ~ 1 hour - he took that bottle, opened and drank it almost empty. Then, somewhat frustrated and disappointed about what happened, he asked himself "Do I really have a strong will?" .... "OH, YES, my will is very strong! - I told to myself many times that I DO NOT WANT to drink, but I DO drink"...

Does it happen with anyone with you when you work overnights and say to yourself "Well, it is enough, never ever again a madness like that", “I shall be reasonable”, “Will never take such crazy jobs”. And those “good ideas” last till the moment you finish that crazy job or till the moment you receive another even more crazy job... And this situation never ends (in my case I am a “chronic drinker” for 2 years or so). Well, an alcoholic is a serious problem (I am not an alcoholic), but what about a workaholic? I read the symptoms of a workaholic on the internet, and it appeared these are not symptoms, but just something that fits me exactly I tried “to quit” many times, but, without computer and without work for 1-2 days I get simply crazy.

Can it be just the psychology (hope not pathology yet) of a free-lancer? Like a wolf that overeats because of its instincts to survive. We DO KNOW that we will receive jobs (bigger, smaller, sooner, later), will have “food”, but as soon as we smell “fresh blood”, we forget about everything and go hunting again.

P.S. Many of you can tell me - simply REFUSE, or find someone else to work for you. That can be reasonable, but here I am more about the "inner state"...Maybe free-lancers are somewhat "doomed" to be like that?


[Edited at 2008-01-21 04:04]


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ivo abdman
Indonesia
Local time: 13:06
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Simple Way of Ordinary Person Jan 21, 2008

Just seek out what you need
Not what you want

IMHO for better world for better life for better environment


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László Kovács  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
None for me Jan 21, 2008

I checked the symptoms of workaholism a few years ago, and unfortunately they matched me almost perfectly
Then I decided to leave this topic for a while...

It seems to me that freelancers (me, at least) have no other choice. Finishing a crazy job is something you are proud of. You feel you have just done something extraordinary!
As a medication, make a mini-survey involving 10 of your friends - hopefully you still have friends
Tell them that you have just translated xx words for xx. Tell them the whole story in detail. The boredom on their faces will really help in curing your workaholism!

NOTE: Your translator fellows must not be included in the survey!

[Módosítva: 2008-01-21 05:21]


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shereenseyam
English to Arabic
what abou life? Jan 21, 2008

hey workalcholist. what about other aspects of life?!!! it seems you don't have any other activity involved in your life. work is great. really. you feel your worth in it. but you have to give yourself some rest in order to return to it passionatly and no to be transformed in a machine translator . tell yourself " I deserve some rest" , my body, mind and soul have a right to rest cause they really deserve that. don't push yourself over the edge. I hope you can make a balance in order to really enjoy everything you do.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:06
English to French
+ ...
Freelancing artist Jan 21, 2008

I see freelancing (any kind, not just translation) as an art. In any case, it is a way of life, and as such, if you can master it, you are truly an artist. These things (staying up late at night to finish a craaaazy assignment) come with the terrain, and if you are prepared to sacrifice things, or at least prepared to do things differently, just to be able to keep doing it, then I guess you must somehow love those crazy assignments that you shape your life to be able to accommodate.

That, my friends, is no less than art! Just how do we do it?! Hope no one asks me this question - I somehow can't answer it... Hey, let's put a copyright on it, shall we?


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
Member (2004)
German to English
How much is enough? Jan 21, 2008

That is the question. How much work, how much money? So now it's time to raise your prices, be more selective about which projects you take on and learn a reeeeaallllllyyyy important word - only two letters (at least in English): NO. Develop outside interests - there IS a world out there, really, there is!!!

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Luis M. Cuerdo Galarraga  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here (I am still to go to bed!) Jan 21, 2008

My therapy is to think about all the pros I considered before becoming a freelancer and do them!

- Travelling
- Avoiding rush hours
- Disrespect for my Alarm Clock
- Spend what I earn

After some of them you realise that you have to do further crazy jobs to keep your life style.

It is the circle of life


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:06
English to Arabic
+ ...
Insecurity, a side effect of freelancing Jan 21, 2008

I think this part of your message summarises it all

MariusV wrote:

We DO KNOW that we will receive jobs (bigger, smaller, sooner, later), will have “food”, but as soon as we smell “fresh blood”, we forget about everything and go hunting again.


I don't think we're workaholics, I don't think we're greedy, I think we're just very insecure because we don't have a fixed income and there's a little bug in our brain going on and on, telling us: "What if that's the only job you get all month? What if you get another urgent job tomorrow morning, but you have to turn it down because you're still not done with this one?" , so we do what we can do finish it in time.
You're perfectly normal, Marius, at least from the point of view of a fellow sufferer!


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 08:06
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Jan 21, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

I think this part of your message summarises it all

MariusV wrote:

We DO KNOW that we will receive jobs (bigger, smaller, sooner, later), will have “food”, but as soon as we smell “fresh blood”, we forget about everything and go hunting again.


I don't think we're workaholics, I don't think we're greedy, I think we're just very insecure because we don't have a fixed income and there's a little bug in our brain going on and on, telling us: "What if that's the only job you get all month? What if you get another urgent job tomorrow morning, but you have to turn it down because you're still not done with this one?" , so we do what we can do finish it in time.
You're perfectly normal, Marius, at least from the point of view of a fellow sufferer!



Dear Nasrin,

Thanks for your understanding. In my opinion, the most important (and odd) thing is that we counsciously realize that we are really safe (we are not some kind of "homo sapiens vulgaris"), but, I think, that feeling/signal of being "unsafe" comes deep from our brain - "encoded" from the nature thousands of years ago...And that "encoded" signal is stronger (despite the fact that we realize and preceive both)...And I think there is not much we can do here ?


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Ilona Kangro  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 08:06
Member (2006)
Latvian to English
+ ...
Drawing a line Jan 21, 2008

What about not working at the weekend (that is, if you keep working at the weekend)? I used to have a similar problem, and I just drew a line, which means I may work morning to night during the week, but I do not take any work, which I would have to accomplish over the weekend. Or I do not take more work than is reasonably possible to be done during a 5 day working week with long hours.

One might argue that freelancers do not have a fixed 5 day working week, and they will be absolutely right. BUT: your family/spouse/partner etc. typically will have a 5 day working week and will want to spend some quality time with you at the weekend. Do you really want to miss those precious moments and do the exact same thing as during the working week?

At least in my case I work long hours Monday to Friday and have hardly any time for any serious socializing, and that's fine. My family understands. But, as soon as the weekend comes, work stops existing - it's all about being with family, friends, reading a good book, etc. This way I manage to earn a very decent salary and feel like I am really living, not just translating like a machine. Don't misunderstand me - I love my job, but I do not want to find myself in a situation, where work is everything I've really got.


Ilona


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Dilek Yigit  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 09:06
Member (2006)
Turkish to English
+ ...
It is never enough Jan 21, 2008

Like Ilona, I never work at the weekends as I think that socializing and having some quality time with friends and family is what each and every human being needs.

I also used to work during the weekends and thought that it was an obligation. But after some time, it appeared to me that I was less willing to work for long hours during the week, which could create some quality concerns.

And I totally agree with Nesrin's words: "What if that's the only job you get all month? What if you get another urgent job tomorrow morning, but you have to turn it down because you're still not done with this one?"

And most of the time "travelling" and even "making travel plans" is one of the best solutions for not-very-social "workaholics" like us.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 07:06
French to English
+ ...
solution? Try a full-time translation post ! Be a staffer! Jan 21, 2008

OK - this is partly a joke but, then again.....

Having been an employee for most of my working life, I now find it very hard to refuse someone who needs my help. Makes me very glad that I chose to work in a permanent position and not to freelance. As an interpreter, in particular, I could well have been far richer than I am today. But it suited my temperament and I have no regrets.

The trouble today is that I left the office job to have more time for myself. That is the REAL joke. I hate it when people say "no" to me (professionally, I mean), so how can I possibly deliver a 'no' to someone else?

Ironically also, what is the thing on which all the people with whom I work systematically comment ? That I am reactive and that I am always there for them when they need me.

So there is no solution other than my initial suggestion.
Learn to live with it, that's all I can propose.....

[Edited at 2008-01-21 17:29]


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:06
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
an -oholic approach Jan 22, 2008

It seems like if you really want to slow down the craziness, but not your income, you have to admit you're a workoholic, and, yes, that you can't control it.

If you find you can't say no, then take the decision out of your hands.

I think someone else already mentioned this.... raise your rates.

This way the decision is in your client's hands whether or not to give you the work for more money.

You're working a lot because you're good, I sincerely doubt that raising your rates will make everyone flee. In the end you'll earn more, and your brain will be more rested.


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Milton Guo  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:06
English to Chinese
+ ...
9-5 grind is worse Jan 26, 2008

MariusV wrote:

Like a wolf that overeats because of its instincts to survive. We DO KNOW that we will receive jobs (bigger, smaller, sooner, later), will have “food”, but as soon as we smell “fresh blood”, we forget about everything and go hunting again.



[Edited at 2008-01-21 04:04]


I like what you said above, that's what we all feel....uncertain about the next meal

But think about those office workers....they have worries of a different nature, so no one is exceptional.

We exist because we feel painful. In other words, life is the process of solving problems... so we must try to survive and develop non-stop


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