Reducing workload to enjoy life more
Thread poster: Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha

Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:53
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
Dec 14, 2016

Dear colleagues,

Have you ever deliberately given up a few long term projects/clients that make up more or less half of your income just to have more leisure time? I've just done that and people might think it's crazy but so far I feel liberated! I can finally finish those unread piles of books, learn a new language, go out more, etc.


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Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
A busy time of year Dec 14, 2016

Your mail comes at a time when many of us have probably taken on as much work as we could in order to make up for the end of the month when we will be spending time with our family. Saying 'no' to work can be very difficult. Once you get in as much work as you want - or more - it is indeed hard to strike the right balance.

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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Romanian to English
+ ...
Yes and so far I'm not regretting it Dec 14, 2016

Absolutely. I turn down jobs that I wouldn't have turned down ten years ago. Sometimes the jobs I refuse amount to 20-25% of my total workload per month or even more.
Of course I could always work more, but that would mean I wouldn't have time to read, spend time with the kids/family, cook, sleep a sufficient number of hours, which is not much anyway in my case.

8 hours of work per day is enough. The older I get, the more valuable it is to be able to enjoy a balanced life. Of course, there are exceptions and some jobs are worth staying up late at night for. But this is no longer the rule. Huge jobs are enticing only if they come with proper rates.

This is a good opportunity to make a bit of a client selection, too: some clients pay lower rates or have excessive project administration rules, etc. and often I turn them down just for the sake of having more time for myself.

Sometimes I do worry that one day I might regret choosing life balance over profit, but so far, I haven't regretted it.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:53
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Reducing workload to enjoy life more is a false dichotomy Dec 14, 2016

We translators are fortunate to be doing work that is intellectually stimulating, flexible, and well remunerated. Many of us remember the soulless drudgery of a past life when we were employees.

If you don't enjoy your work as a translator, you are wasting your life.


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Aditya Ikhsan Prasiddha  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 04:53
Member (2012)
English to Indonesian
TOPIC STARTER
14 work hours Dec 14, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

We translators are fortunate to be doing work that is intellectually stimulating, flexible, and well remunerated. Many of us remember the soulless drudgery of a past life when we were employees.

If you don't enjoy your work as a translator, you are wasting your life.


What if I say before this decision I would work 14 hours a day? Now I'm able to enjoy mornings and evenings as they should be enjoyed. The former sounds more like "wasting" my life to me


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Romanian to English
+ ...
Even enjoyable work shouldn't be the sole source of enjoyment Dec 14, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

We translators are fortunate to be doing work that is intellectually stimulating, flexible, and well remunerated. Many of us remember the soulless drudgery of a past life when we were employees.

If you don't enjoy your work as a translator, you are wasting your life.


Of course, but work should not be the only purpose and source of pleasure in life. I need professional satisfaction more than any other woman I know and I don't think I could be content just with raising kids and running a household, and I'm aware men need professional satisfaction even more. But honestly, if I had an interminable source of money to pay for all my expensive habits, I would not work at all. Instead, I would read more, attend more classical concerts, join a spa, a book club, etc. But who knows, maybe this dolce far niente is enticing precisely because I work hard.


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Mariano Saab
Argentina
Local time: 18:53
Member (2013)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The perks of being a freelancer Dec 14, 2016

If you really need a break from work and your budget allows you to, it's more than reasonable to take a couple of days off. Ever since I became a freelance translator I started taking three to four weeks off to travel across the country, which didn't bother me because I had been working my butt off and I knew I deserved it. Sometimes saying no to work is not an option, but one of the best perks we have as translators is that we can work wherever there's a stable Internet connection.

So consider both options if you need a break, sometimes it's not working that stresses you out but the surroundings in which you find yourself doing that work.

All the best,

Mariano.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:53
German to English
Excellent idea Dec 14, 2016

This year, I have massively reduced the number of hours I work to something more reasonable, like 20 to 30 per week, and I'm certainly not regretting it. I have decided to "work to live, not live to work", and it's the best decision I ever took. That doesn't mean I still can't/won't work longer hours if I choose to take on projects that will require that sort of workload, but it's my decision. The really surprising thing is how modest an effect this has had on my income, but I would gladly sacrifice more income for more quality free time when I need it. I'm now beginning to suspect that many of us translators work far too long hours and are ridiculously proud of it. We need to get out more

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matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:53
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Get to where you want to be Dec 14, 2016

I have enough guaranteed work to keep me fed, and then various clients who send me work regularly but less frequently. I leave time to cover these clients, so it becomes free time when they send me nothing. This works for me, although I cannot necessarily plan whole days off in the week, as I like to keep all my clients satisfied.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Deliberately reducing work hours Dec 15, 2016

Since translating for a living and under different conditions (in-house, part-time, full-time freelancing, etc.) is our current condition, and because all of us have different backgrounds and live/work under different circumstances, who am I to tell that someone is wasting her time because she doesn't enjoy her work?

I would be more inclined to discourage a man or woman who views our profession as just a job to be done for an amount of money just to feed the family or pay the bills.

I can't say I have the same number of clients or handle the same workload (number of words, pages, etc.) as 20 years ago. I used to chase translation agencies for work. Not anymore, because I prefer to translate more slowly than in years past, so that I can enjoy translation more.

Do I find joy in other activities? Of course I do!


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