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Poll: Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:45
SITE STAFF
Feb 18, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever bitten off more than you could chew?".

This poll was originally submitted by ryancolm

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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Simon Cole  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:45
Member (2008)
French to English
seems to happen quite a lot Feb 18, 2009

either in terms of deadline (weekend working jsut to keep up) or visible as strings of questions from the same source on ProZ.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:45
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other Feb 18, 2009

As in more than once, but not all the time!
Of course, I try to avoid taking on more than I can deliver, but have sometimes been caught out by things beyond my control, or a find that a text is perfectly easy to understand, but fiendish to translate.

Or the first three pages look fine, but the blotchy scanned appendix in a PDF-file at the end is illegible and full of abbreviations...

My thanks to the colleagues who have baled me out, and the long-suffering PMs who have stretched deadlines, obtained help from clients or helped whenever they could, and others I have consulted along the way, not least in KudoZ questions.



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Venkatesh Sundaram  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:15
German to English
Again other - but certainly not all the time! Feb 18, 2009

Christine Andersen wrote:

As in more than once, but not all the time!
Of course, I try to avoid taking on more than I can deliver, but have sometimes been caught out by things beyond my control, or a find that a text is perfectly easy to understand, but fiendish to translate.

Or the first three pages look fine, but the blotchy scanned appendix in a PDF-file at the end is illegible and full of abbreviations...

My thanks to the colleagues who have baled me out, and the long-suffering PMs who have stretched deadlines, obtained help from clients or helped whenever they could, and others I have consulted along the way, not least in KudoZ questions.




Sometimes one accepts a large document on the basis of skimming through a few pages. I once got a PPT with several embedded files which I had not noticed at first glance! The customer hadn't either, so we agreed to extend the deadline a bit.


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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:45
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Yes Feb 18, 2009

But actually, it should rather read "more than I thought I could chew". Because In the end, I always chewed it, so it was just a matter of "you will be able to do it if you just believe you can".

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 21:45
English to French
+ ...
Not as a rule BUT... Feb 18, 2009

...I seem to have little choice when customers are over-optimistic or "cheat" on the word count they quote

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xanthippe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:45
Italian to French
+ ...
yes Feb 18, 2009

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

But actually, it should rather read "more than I thought I could chew". Because In the end, I always chewed it, so it was just a matter of "you will be able to do it if you just believe you can".


I totally agree with you!


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Ligia Dias Costa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:45
Member (2008)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sometimes... Feb 18, 2009

Christine Andersen wrote:


My thanks to the colleagues who have baled me out, and the long-suffering PMs who have stretched deadlines, obtained help from clients or helped whenever they could, and others I have consulted along the way, not least in KudoZ questions.




When the going gets though, I cannot thank PMs, colleagues and KudoZ helpers enough!

And also, a big, big thanks for my children and husband who understand my loooong hours at the computer, neglecting them!

Ligia Dias Costa


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
Russian to English
+ ...
Me too Feb 18, 2009

Sophie Dzhygir wrote:

But actually, it should rather read "more than I thought I could chew". Because In the end, I always chewed it, so it was just a matter of "you will be able to do it if you just believe you can".


I can sympathize with that. Since I wake up later than most of my competition, I always feel rushed to respond when I get an offer from Europe. I once got a preview of a document, did a quick and dirty word count, agreed to the deadline, got the job, and then found the PDF image document was twice as large as I had thought. I finished on schedule, but it meant working several 16-hour days.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:45
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Now and then it happens... Feb 18, 2009

... mostly because the client doesn't fails to answer properly my two questions at the outset:
1. What do you HAVE?
2. What do you WANT or NEED?

Most often it happens with video. The client suddenly realizes they are unable to upload that behemoth of a file, so they'll have to send a DVD by mail or messenger. Sometimes they have video in a format that is unsuitable for subtitling and authoring a DVD, and that I'll have to play several time-consuming tricks to make it worth subbing and watching.

Sometimes they want it NOW, or ASAP, but they can't tell me exactly what they want me to do... and find that out a bit too late.

Apart from client-generated issues, I "pad" my timeline to eschew Murphy's Law. On a given week, I prefer to promise delivery for Friday and do it on Wednesday or Thurdsay, than the other way around.


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Yes, and never again Feb 18, 2009

So it appears there are a few colleagues who stepped into the forbidden territory, and regretting having done so (just like myself).
Yet there seems very few voices uttered from that group.
People simply do not want to discuss one's mistake. Me? Neither


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:45
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
An additional answer needed Feb 18, 2009

Yes, more than once, but not all the time.
And I do try to keep such occassions to a minimum.
And I did once turn down a colleague who was looking for help herself, because I had worked the previous 8 weekends and was determined not to work another one. (Still feel guilty about that one.)

I have both worked incredibly long hours to meet deadlines, and had understanding PMs who extended them.


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:45
Member (2009)
French to English
Overload Principle Feb 18, 2009

I always strive to "under promise and over deliver," but on the other hand, I know that if I do not occasionally challenge myself, I will not grow. The best summation of this idea that I have found is the weightlifting concept of "overload":

Simply stated, the Overload Principle means that the body will adapt to the stresses placed upon it. The more you do, the more you are capable of doing. This is how all the training adaptations occur in exercise and training. The human body is an amazing machine. When you stress the body through lifting a weight that the body is unaccustomed to lifting, the body will react by causing physiologic changes to be able to handle that stress the next time it occurs. This concept is similar in cardiovascular training. If you ask the heart, lungs and endurance muscles to do work not previously done, it will make changes to the body to be able to handle that task better the next time. This is how people get stronger, bigger, faster and increase their physical fitness level. Full article is here.

These principles have an amazing correspondence to brain activity - particularly in the article's final warning on "atrophy."

So yes, I have ended up in a few tight spots, but I have always recovered. I have a vivid memory of one particular finals week where I had no idea how I would manage to finish all the papers that I had, let alone in a way that would not utterly disgrace myself. I try to never put myself in that position, but when I get into something close to it, I know that I will make it through.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:45
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but... Feb 18, 2009

No, but I've felt like I had many times.

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Wilsonn Perez Reyes  Identity Verified
El Salvador
Local time: 14:45
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No, but almost Feb 18, 2009

I once accepted an assignment with a very tight deadline, so I spent 27 consecutive hours working until I finished it at the last minute.

It was not more work than I could handle, the issue was to finish it before the deadline, which I did.


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