Timetable Options for parttimers -how many days?
Thread poster: Wendy Cummings

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
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Jan 9, 2019

I’m currently on maternity leave and considering my options for returning to work part time. My clients are primarily agencies in Europe. The three options I see are:

A. Work half days e.g. mornings only
B. Work half weeks e.g. Monday-Wednesday.
C. Work full hours but only tell a select few clients that I have returned thus limiting work load, and adapting my hours as required.

I would like advice on the feasibility of these options, and any pros/cons. E.g
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I’m currently on maternity leave and considering my options for returning to work part time. My clients are primarily agencies in Europe. The three options I see are:

A. Work half days e.g. mornings only
B. Work half weeks e.g. Monday-Wednesday.
C. Work full hours but only tell a select few clients that I have returned thus limiting work load, and adapting my hours as required.

I would like advice on the feasibility of these options, and any pros/cons. E.g, option B would prevent me from accepting small 1-day jobs on the final day of the week. Option B may be hard to stick to (I’ll just finish this job...). Option C may cause havoc with childcare.

Comments welcome.
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
You're busy Jan 9, 2019

No need to make it so complicated. I don't think you should tell them anything about your private circumstances. If a job comes in that you don't think you'll be able to do, just tell them politely that you're overloaded and would not be able to meet the deadline. And accept the jobs you know you can do. If your clients are regular clients who like your work, they will understand and will come back to you with more jobs. It's important not to be picky with them, because they might start NOT sen... See more
No need to make it so complicated. I don't think you should tell them anything about your private circumstances. If a job comes in that you don't think you'll be able to do, just tell them politely that you're overloaded and would not be able to meet the deadline. And accept the jobs you know you can do. If your clients are regular clients who like your work, they will understand and will come back to you with more jobs. It's important not to be picky with them, because they might start NOT sending you jobs. With the baby (and congratulations!) you'll just have to manage.

[Edited at 2019-01-09 13:14 GMT]
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Walter Landesman
Lincoln Hui
Jessica Noyes
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Tradupro17
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Oriana Bonan
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:21
Member
Chinese to English
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Seconded Jan 9, 2019

You don't need to tell them anything and frankly they don't want to know. We all have commitments, whether work or personal, and if you can't accept a job you can't accept a job.

Maybe you stop taking short turnaround projects and accept only those with some flexibility, and that's much more useful than hemming yourself into a fixed schedule. Your kid isn't going to stop crying in the mornings or from Monday to Wednesday just because you decided to work at those times.

[Edit
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You don't need to tell them anything and frankly they don't want to know. We all have commitments, whether work or personal, and if you can't accept a job you can't accept a job.

Maybe you stop taking short turnaround projects and accept only those with some flexibility, and that's much more useful than hemming yourself into a fixed schedule. Your kid isn't going to stop crying in the mornings or from Monday to Wednesday just because you decided to work at those times.

[Edited at 2019-01-09 13:00 GMT]
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Tom in London
Walter Landesman
Jessica Noyes
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Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
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A very good point well made! Jan 9, 2019

The only slight inconvenience however would be that I’d have to keep a constant eye on my inbox even at times I’d chosen not to work, in order to decline offers (I try to maintain that courtesy of always replying).

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Beep Jan 9, 2019

Wendy Cummings wrote:

The only slight inconvenience however would be that I’d have to keep a constant eye on my inbox even at times I’d chosen not to work, in order to decline offers (I try to maintain that courtesy of always replying).


If you receive emails on your computer you can set it to make a particular sound when messages come in. You can even set it to only beep if the incoming message is from one of your regular clients.


 

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Physically out of office! Jan 9, 2019

Tom in London wrote

If you receive emails on your computer you can set it to make a particular sound when messages come in. You can even set it to only beep if the incoming message is from one of your regular clients.


I was thinking more of the times when i’m bathing, playing with, out for walks with or otherwise engaged with the littl’un, who can make enough noise to drown out the beeps!


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Well Jan 9, 2019

Wendy Cummings wrote:

Tom in London wrote

If you receive emails on your computer you can set it to make a particular sound when messages come in. You can even set it to only beep if the incoming message is from one of your regular clients.


I was thinking more of the times when i’m bathing, playing with, out for walks with or otherwise engaged with the littl’un, who can make enough noise to drown out the beeps!


Hmmmm. I see your point. Perhaps you should set a strict timetable for the baby and insist that s/he sticks to it.




 

Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Language pair not available Jan 9, 2019

Tom in London wrote:

Hmmmm. I see your point. Perhaps you should set a strict timetable for the baby and insist that s/he sticks to it.




I did prepare a spreadsheet in English, but couldn’t find the Enbabyese language pair to translate it, so he’s currently unaware of the rules...


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Other option Jan 9, 2019

Sorry for being facetious. These are in fact serious questions that affect many parents and I hope others may come up with other solutions.

[Edited at 2019-01-09 13:43 GMT]


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Member (2014)
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Juggling kids and work Jan 9, 2019

Hey Wendy,

I personally don't have any children, but as an outsourcer I have a few suppliers who do, and I have translator friends with young children as well. They all seem to opt for having a few days per week where someone else is looking after the children (either a family member or paid childcare) and then working evenings/early mornings on days when they themselves have the kids.

From what they say, it is nice to be able to plan properly with a few set days in the
... See more
Hey Wendy,

I personally don't have any children, but as an outsourcer I have a few suppliers who do, and I have translator friends with young children as well. They all seem to opt for having a few days per week where someone else is looking after the children (either a family member or paid childcare) and then working evenings/early mornings on days when they themselves have the kids.

From what they say, it is nice to be able to plan properly with a few set days in the week when they know they can get work done, and then using those evenings/early mornings to make up any lost time or do little jobs that don't take too long just to keep clients happy and aware of them.

It would be a combination of options A and B. For example, you tell your clients "I am in the office from 9-5 on Mondays and Thursdays and from 9-12 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays." Once your clients get used to it, it will be fine. I know which of my suppliers have children and I can guess what their availability is like based on what day it is, whether school is in session etc.

Then it's just a case of YOU getting to grips with what sort of workload you can handle with those hours and saying no when you need to.

Maybe that's an option for you?
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Tom in London
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
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@Wendy Jan 9, 2019

In my experience (mother of 3, now at grandmother stage) babies are as unpredictable as the translation workflow…

Congratulations and good luck with both!


Tom in London
 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:21
Member
Spanish to English
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Out-of-office message on your emails Jan 9, 2019

A more flexible alternative to having fixed office hours is, during those times when you are focused entirely on your child, you have an out-of-office message posted on your email account---and phone, too, why not? Besides saying that you are out of the office, this message will also state at what time you will "return."
(In the past, in order to help my clients with their planning, I also included something like, "I will be available to start new work Tuesday morning.")


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:21
Member (2007)
English
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You're paying a carer? Jan 9, 2019

If you're paying a carer then you have little flexibility about those hours and you must use them to your best advantage. So the relevant question would be: What time of day are you at your best for this type of work? We all vary, and babies vary too. If you can get up and ready bright and early and then settle down to a good 3-4 hours of work, that would work well. You'd really need to spare enough time to look at your emails during the afternoon though. Or reverse the timings and work during t... See more
If you're paying a carer then you have little flexibility about those hours and you must use them to your best advantage. So the relevant question would be: What time of day are you at your best for this type of work? We all vary, and babies vary too. If you can get up and ready bright and early and then settle down to a good 3-4 hours of work, that would work well. You'd really need to spare enough time to look at your emails during the afternoon though. Or reverse the timings and work during the afternoon. I don't think one is particularly better than the other for clients, nor do you need to respond to emails instantaneously; just from time to time. If you can be really disciplined about that (maybe setting a timer?), I'd advise you to tell your regular clients to expect a delay (e.g. they need to wait up to 2 hours; emails will be accessed on the hour; ...), although not necessarily the reason. If your response time is going to be very variable then it might be better for everyone to just learn to live with it. You run a slight risk of losing clients, but that's the reality of working part-time with a baby around.

I know that many parents also manage to get some work done while the baby is around or while a partner/other person is helping out. They do sleep a lot, after all. Mind you, I remember my son being very difficult. We later discovered that he had felt utterly abandoned if there wasn't a face within two metres as that was the total extent of his vision, poor mite.
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Timetable Options for parttimers -how many days?

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