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Poll: How ill do you have to be before deciding not to work for the day?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:50
SITE STAFF
May 29, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How ill do you have to be before deciding not to work for the day?".

This poll was originally submitted by Samantha Payn. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:50
Member
German to English
+ ...
Other May 29, 2010

It's not happened yet! If I have work to do and deadlines to meet, I have work to do and deadlines to meet no matter how bad I am feeling. But, to be fair, I've not been that ill either.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 18:50
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Bedridden by doctor's orders May 29, 2010

4 days of bed rest because of back pain (discal hernia) + 5 days in the hospital for surgical removal of thyroid nodules: in more than 30 years is quite a good average!

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Wil Hardman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
I dare not cancel a job May 29, 2010

I have never been comfortable with cancelling a job that I've already taken on, I always imagine that it would be looked upon unfavourably. This has meant that I have completed work when I've been pretty ill- far too ill to go into work in a "normal" job.
I wouldn't accept a job if was really ill, however, the threshold is quite high: translating isn't the most physically demanding of jobs and you don't have to speak to people face-to-face.
There is no need to worry about your appearance or being a germ-spreader, you can take a nap whenever you want and you don't get sick pay. So on average I'd wager that a translator is more likely to work when ill than the average person.


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Colin Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:50
Italian to English
+ ...
Freelancers don't get sick. May 29, 2010

It's definitely true. I'm freelance, I don't get sick pay, and I tend not to get sick. I was once bedridden for a week with sciatica, and I worked using my laptop for 40 hours that week.

I don't wish to suggest that freelances CANNOT get sick. Obviously they can. They can have accidents too, and be hospitalised. I'm saying that they "DON'T" get sick, where the body can make a "choice". I think something fundamental changes within you; at a deep level your body knows that being sick is simply not an option, and all of the lesser illnesses are deflected as a result. It would take something pretty darn big to stop me from typing.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:50
French to English
+ ...
Unfortunately freelancers can and do.... May 29, 2010

I answered bedridden - and I'm glad to say it's only happened to me once, last December in fact. I'd been to the ProZ conference in Vienna, came home for a few days, then went up to London for an EU terminology workshop. I felt a little under the weather that day, but nothing serious, but could barely stand the next morning and spent the next fortnight in bed with what I can only assume was swine flu - delirium, dizziness, high temperature, the lot. I've never stopped working before, but then I've never been quite so ill before either and I can only say that working would have been impossible! I did stagger to my computer every so often to check on e-mails, but most of the time even that was a step too far. I couldn't even read - which for me is very serious indeed. I certainly wouldn't wish it on anybody. I like to think I keep pretty healthy most of the time, doing lots of exercise and eating lots of home-grown fruit and vegetables, and I'm quite happy to work though heavy colds, stomach cramps or minor ailments - but if you're really ill, there's just nothing you can do. I lost a month last year due to my flu, the gradual recovery stages coinciding with Christmas and New Year, and it's not something I really want to repeat! That's the first time in 22 years of working freelance, however, so not bad really...

[Edited at 2010-05-29 11:39 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-05-29 12:28 GMT]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
When I find I'm reading the same sentence for the 10th time.... May 29, 2010

Not being a super-human, I do get ill occasionally, although luckily not very often. I know it's time to pack up for the day when I can't focus on the text in front of me. Continuing would only lead to misreading and mistranslation. No point, so I stop and rest/sleep-it's usually the best way to get better.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:50
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Unconscious May 29, 2010

Or in a hospital where they won't let me use a laptop.

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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:50
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I don't get sick very often May 29, 2010

but this winter I got that norovirus and was totally incapacitated for a weekend. However I had a small job I was working on and when I could hold my head up, i finished it. If it's just a head cold, I can work but if it's impossible to concentrate and I'm really sick, I'll just turn down jobs for a couple of days rather than do a lousy job. For some reason, whenever I was sick this year, it also worked out that it was a really quiet week with almost no contract offers, so I just took it easy. In february I had laser eye surgery and had to take a few days off, but I let most of my main clients know in advance.

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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:50
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other May 29, 2010

Mary Worby wrote:

It's not happened yet! If I have work to do and deadlines to meet, I have work to do and deadlines to meet no matter how bad I am feeling. But, to be fair, I've not been that ill either.
Same here! Probably I'm still too young, and I have a very strong health. I have hardly ever been ill, even before starting freelancing or working. I've missed a half day in 3 years when I was an employee, and I think I haven't been ill since I've been freelancing, or at least not to an extent that would prevent me from working.


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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:50
English to German
really rotten but also May 29, 2010

depending on workload and deadlines.

In the past, if the deadline was fairly imminent I'd get in touch with my client to find out if an extension is possible or if someone else can be brought in to help out, potentially suggesting a colleague I trust and work well with as a team. The latter depends on the outsourcer, though.

About 12 years ago, I broke my wrist while on holiday and couldn't work for more than 6 weeks. Because it was on holiday I had no projects on the go. There was no voice recognition software at my disposal. So I took the time out and tried not to worry too much. In fact, I was full of energy when I did return to work. Did I loose clients? Not one.

We're all only human and we do get ill. I think it's totally pretentious to say that you'd have to be unconscious or on hospital to stop working. Keep at it like that and you'll pay the price in the end. I've been freelance for 17 years and I've learned I'm not superhuman. Sometimes it's better to listen to your body and take half a day or a day out to prevent longer periods of sickness.

Also, I can't producde the standard the client expects and is used to from me if my brain isn't working properly. It's better to take time out instead of damaging your reputation by delivering inferior quality - unless the client has agreed to take care of this during the review stage.

[Edited at 2010-05-29 13:19 GMT]


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:50
Member (2008)
English to Italian
broken arms on a bed in hospital May 29, 2010

that would be the only case I guess... no experience

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Filippe Vasconcellos de Freitas Guimarães  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:50
Member (2009)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Well... May 29, 2010

I can always work on my laptop when I'm bedridden, which I'm glad to say has only happened once in the past five years. Broken arms or hands would obviously be an issue—but that's what speech recognition software is for!

I'll work through pretty much anything unless my cognitive abilities are impaired. That's my threshold.

[Edited at 2010-05-29 14:53 GMT]


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:50
Italian to English
+ ...
Poll: How ill do you have to be before deciding not to work for the day? May 29, 2010

So far, I've pretty much worked through anything but I stop at vision migraines. I'll probably get one every few years but when you have a blind spot in your vision you just can't work. It's my warning to switch out the lights and lie in bed.

I had my whole right arm in a right-angled plaster a couple of years back. It was fine to work with once I'd hauled it into the right place by the keyboard (!); I just had to allow more time to complete each project, even with voice recognition. It certainly didn't stop me working, though. What *did* was coming off the morphine they gave me on the day I injured it, followed by a course of super-strong French kapow!-style pain relieving drugs over the course of the next week. I didn't even know what day it was. Certainly no good for work.

Yes, it has to be pretty bad before I decide not to work for the day. I'm very lucky to be in good health, though.

Look after yourselves, everyone!
Amy


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Vibeke Degn-P  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 19:50
Member (2010)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Other May 29, 2010

It really doesn't take a lot for me to take a day off because I'm sick - or because the weather is lovely, I want to go shopping or spend the day baking bread. It's not because I'm lazy, but because I can! It was my main reson for going freelance - the chance to use my time as I choose. When I did the maths on income vs. workload, I decided to base my new working life only on customers paying very well. The beginning was tough, because it's not easy to find the right customers and make them understand why you are worth a lot of money, but now my pay/hour is so good I accually can live my freelance life in freedom. It just takes a bit of planning to make sure I'm always way ahead of my deadlines - just in case I accually get sick.

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