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Poll: Do you adjust your private life to your work?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 03:41
May 5, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you adjust your private life to your work?".

This poll was originally submitted by Channa Montijn

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see:


Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 03:41
English to Russian
+ ...
Depends win, again! May 5, 2009

Think of it: isn't "depends" just the right answer to 99% of all questions?


Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:41
Russian to English
+ ...
Unfortunately, Work goes first. May 5, 2009

in the majority of cases...


Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:41
English to Spanish
Depends, though my private life comes first May 5, 2009

I value my personal time greatly and, truth be told, if I were forced to constantly place it behind my work I'd probably end up resenting my profession in the medium-to-long term. However, I am perfectly willing to make exceptions for regular, good clients who are, simply put, nice and pleasant to work with.

This is how I usually work:

I have a set (though not written in stone) working schedule of around 8 hours/day at normal (local) office hours. This means that my time for business is well-separated from my personal time. Sometimes I tweak my schedule a bit to suit particular circumstances (e.g., winter is beginning here and thus I'm getting up later in the mornings to avoid the cold and closing up shop a little later), but I manage to abide by it 80% of the time, which is how I intend to keep it.

However, every once in a while it happens that I get flooded with translation requests in a very short time-frame, on which ocassions I fin myself working well into the night or weekends in order to keep up. I'm not talking about Friday-to-Monday requests, which I hardly ever accept except when they're made by good and loyal clients. I'm talking about juggling 3-4 medium assignments from different clients, all of which have been requested with reasonable deadlines but which inevitably pile up. In cases such as these, I find it reasonable to put work first.

Time zones is another item for which I modify my usual working hours, and it sometimes means that I have to set my personal life aside temporarily. Without this flexibility, it would be impossible for me to work with European customers; but, again, these are particular circumstances in which priorities change only for the duration of the project.


[Edited at 2009-05-05 22:29 GMT]


Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
German to English
+ ...
A combination May 5, 2009

Like most, I voted "It depends."

I have priorities in life that come higher than work and I try to fit my work around these. For example, I almost never work on Sundays. However, meeting deadlines and working to a high standard are also priorities, so I will make my private life fit around work if necessary, too.


James A. Walsh
Local time: 12:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
I used to! May 6, 2009

Up to very recently, I found I was compromising my personal time for the sake of work Way too much. By "compromising" I mean, spending much too long in front of my computer either looking for work or waiting for regular clients to contact me with work (some days would just be "consumed" before I knew it). It was really becoming a drag actually...

But recently I made the very wise decision to get one of those fancy new email phones with the little keyboards on - and it has revolutionised my life I tell you! Although I'm an "IT geek" by default (I studied Computer Sciences), I've never had a penchant for these "devices", they annoy me frankly! But I have to say, it's given me a serious amount of new-found freedom, and spare time to enjoy life more. I can now enjoy my new home here in Amazing Andalucía, roaming the beautiful mountains or coast in my car, and never miss a potential job. What more could you ask for in life!?!

This week alone, I scored three jobs while out "roaming" and enjoying life - jobs I could ill-afford to miss given the current economic climate in the world. I recommend anyone to get get one of these email phones if possible, they're brilliant.



Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:41
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I have to be flexible to stay in business May 6, 2009

Jobs are due when my clients need them, not necessarily when it suits my schedule. I have yet to meet a client who is sympathetic to my personal priorities.

I've been studying botany for the last two years, and last week-end I had a class project. I said "no" to a job my client asked for at close of business on Friday, to be ready Monday morning. The money was good, and it was a tough call. Now I'm a little worried that I may have disappointed my client - but I couldn't clone myself, and the classwork felt like a commitment that I couldn't let myself down on.


Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
English to Serbian
+ ...
Absolutely. May 6, 2009

Work always comes first.icon_smile.gif


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Member (2008)
English to Italian
YES.... May 6, 2009

I would like to say that my life comes first, but honestly, freelancers do not have a fixed guaranteed salary every month, so, everybody can set limits for his/her working hours, but I adapt my life (daily activities, holidays...) to my work.

Obviously my family comes first, so I try to give them all my free time


Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
French to English
Agree about e-mail on mobile phones May 6, 2009

James A Walsh wrote:

I recommend anyone to get get one of these email phones if possible, they're brilliant.

My family comes before my work, that's for sure. However, having e-mail on my ordinary phone (just a very simple add-on to a normal contract allowing me to receive e-mail, not fancy or expensive) has made an amazing difference to how I organise my life. I no longer feel guilty that I'm not in front of my pc waiting for a client to e-mail. For example, I was sitting on the sofa with a sick toddler asleep in my arms yesterday and was still able to accept a job - without e-mail on my phone I'd have missed that job and been very frustrated. I'd also have been stressed whilst I was looking after my little boy, worrying that I might miss a job.

I know that some people are against being contactable at all times, wanting to put their private lives first, and I certainly can see their point, but for me being contactable actually makes it easier to put my family first.

(Edited for typo)

[Edited at 2009-05-06 08:56 GMT]


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes May 6, 2009

I answered Yes. Work is a necessary evil that, unfortunately, takes precedence over other, even personal, matters.

I think it's all in the way the translation profession operates. Projects are sent out by the 9 to 5ers on Friday afternoon, the eve of a holiday, right before a long weekend, etc and expected to be done and ready for 9 am Monday morning or urgently for the next day (or sooner).

In my experience, the only way to control work flow and put my private life first is to just say no to a job and hope something else comes along.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Both... May 6, 2009

In the past I have thumped the table and shouted at my husband at times, telling him he worked for a living and did not live for his work.

Now our son has left the nest and my husband is still a workaholic... I find it all too easy to press my private life around work.

But on occasions it has not been possible, and in recent months I have been enormously grateful to regular clients who understood that I needed some flexibility.

I definitely work for a living and not the other way round. You only have one life, and believe me, work will still be there next week. Your child's birthday will not wait. Even your spouse may not still be there next week if you don't take care of your relationship!

Very often, deadlines are not actually carved in stone. Most clients are human, and they have lives too, so if you help them out when you can, they understand that you need a break now and then, and you need time to produce good quality work.

I have lost out on a few jobs on that score, but in the long run I have regretted it far more when I have had to sacrifice my private life for my work. Now that I decide my own working hours, I know what gets top priority. And it is NOT that hopeless client who always wants jobs delivered yesterday!

Enjoy the spring and happy translating!



United Kingdom
Local time: 11:41
English to Dutch
+ ...
Totally agree with Christine May 6, 2009

I don't have much too add to Christine's comments since I totally agree. I also used to let myself be ruled by work until a couple of years ago. Last autumn my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 51 and he died in December. This sadness has definitely made me and my sons reassess our priorities in life... which is to live it fully and meaningfully. Life is too short and as the Tibetans say: "tomorrow or the next one knows which comes first'.
I know I have to earn a living and I like translation but come on, folks, there is more to this life than work and money!

[Edited at 2009-05-06 15:04 GMT]


Leanne Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Italian to English
Agree entirely May 6, 2009

When I started out I was reluctant to say no to anything as I wanted to please the agencies and get more work . Now I have learnt to find a balance and also find that sport is very important. I want to earn enough to supplement our family income but I will not let this job become overwhelming. I hope that agencies realise that it's all about balance but I really feel that they have some form of points system - too many refusals and you're out regardless of good past work. All the best to Sanmar.

[Edited at 2009-05-06 14:52 GMT]


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, right now May 6, 2009

... because I've had very little work in for the past few weeks so if anything pops up I'll drop everything else to take it on board.
However, when things are running smoothly again and I have enough work to pay the rent, etc, it may be a different story ...

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