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Poll: What is your biggest concern when you get back from a vacation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:41
SITE STAFF
Aug 2, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is your biggest concern when you get back from a vacation?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:41
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Where will the next job be coming from? Aug 2, 2014

I have to admit, when I recently returned from a long trip and had told my main clients that I would be out of circulation for 3 weeks, I was a bit nervous until the first job came in.

 

Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 21:41
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
e-mails Aug 2, 2014

Deal with unanswered/unread e-mails

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:41
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Planning & scheduling Aug 2, 2014

Though I don't work on vacation, I keep in touch with my e-mailbox at least once a day wherever I am.

Believe me, typing in Portuguese with an Argentinean keyboard is a major challenge. The US-Int'l is not so, since I used it for decades, until the Brazilian ABNT came up

So I start piling up requests for my return, with resources to check large text files, and no resources to check on video or DTP work, using hotel/cybercafe computers, or maybe the family's 'travel netbook' (which has visited three continents and returned to a fourth one).

When I get back home, the first thing to do is to check how long each pending job will take, what's the rush of each, and tell the respective client when it will be delivered.

This process caused a radical change to my m.o. in January 2013, when I took longer vacations than usual; two weeks instead of one. Upon my return, the backlog was huge, some requests stated as desperately urgent.

I used to have rush surcharges, copied from the Brazilian law on sworn translations: 50% extra on weekdays for overly taxing work, 100% for weekend work (otherwise too many clients would requests my services only between Fri. afternoon and Mon. first-thing-in-the-morning.

One of these clients was willing to pay 50% extra to be the first to be served. Another one too. Upon learning about it, the second one raised the ante to 80% rush surcharge. Before the entire situation turned into a rush surcharges auction, I realized that waitlisting a 50% rush-rate job because another was paying more would be blatantly dishonest. Furthermore, those rush rates caused more havoc to my schedule than contributed to my income. So I did away with them.

Grounded on the hefty interest rates in Brazil, which leads to payment terms making a significant difference on the actual income, I began serving clients based on the shortest payment term getting done first, all under the same rate.

This was intended to be a temporary solution until I cleared my post-vacation backlog, however it worked SO amazingly well, that I made it permanent.

The beauty of it is that all a client in a rush has to do to get immediate service is to prepay for the entire job. While I'll take only one prepaid job at a time, and won't drop it until I'm though, nobody can time-travel to prepay earlier. This put an end to quibbling, to arguments tat they MUST have it done by a certain date. It's all clear-cut and crystal-clear.

For the record, I've never delivered a translation job late since 1973. I prefer to deliver two days early than two hours late. The closest shave so far was 9 minutes early, and my assigned proofreader took full blame for it.

Ever since I adopted this system things have been running smoothly, and my cash flow has improved significantly. I had previously got rid of all clients paying beyond 30 days from delivery. Now 90% of my clients pay COD (within two days), and the longest payment term (a very frequent client) is once every two weeks, on a preset yearly calendar. I had only two prepaid jobs in all of 2013, and two others so far this year.

So planning is now simple. I keep my availability calendar on Proz updated 99% of the time, so clients may see when I'll be available next. Since now there is a working link to it, it's in my plans to add it to my web site, with the explanations I think they'll need. Green doesn't mean that I'm free; the percentages represent how much of my scheduled time for any specific day can be postponed.

So a major concern is to keep that calendar up-to date, for me, even if nobody else ever checks it.

The only difference between returning from vacations and coming out of a long stretch of busy times (like now) is that, in the latter, I have the (computer) resources to assess how long a new job will take me to do.


 

564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:41
Danish to English
+ ...
Vacation? What vacation? Aug 2, 2014

Haven't had a proper holiday since I went self-employed... Still looking forward to such luxury...

 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:41
French to German
+ ...
Other Aug 2, 2014

I just find it hard to settle back in and get used to the daily routine again.

I have not lost a single client in seven years just because I went on holiday. What would be the purpose of being self-employed anyway if you were actually a slave to your own business?


 

Ben Harrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:41
Member (2013)
German to English
Probably where the next job is coming from Aug 2, 2014

...though I haven't been short of work recently so I doubt it will be a big concern.

I'm actually going away on holiday tomorrow and had to turn down a really big job during the week because I wouldn't quite have had enough time to finish it before I went, which was more of an irritation than anything I imagine I'll have when I get back.


 

Cathy Przybylski  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:41
Member (2010)
German to French
+ ...
I have no concerns Aug 2, 2014

I have no concerns because I forgot every bad thing when I was on holidays. As a consequence, I am ready to go back to work very easily.

 

Luiz Barucke
Brazil
Local time: 16:41
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
None as above Aug 2, 2014

- Finding new jobs to work on
They always find me first. Clients need us more than we believe (and charge for).

- Concentrating on working
If I'm working, I'm working.

- Responding to emails
I do not stop checking and answering emails during my vacation. I prefer to read/answer/solve some mails per day than having tons of messages to decipher after a month. And this way I also keep alive my relationship with clients.

- Other
Probably. Who doesn't have a concern about anything? The biggest category in the world is "etc."

- Ensuring usual quality of translation
Are we talking about vacation or a gap year?

Probably, my biggest concern when I come back is when and where to go in my next vacation. And paying overdue bills, of course.

[Editada em 2014-08-02 14:23 GMT]


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
No concerns Aug 2, 2014

Cathy Przybylski wrote:

I have no concerns because I forgot every bad thing when I was on holidays. As a consequence, I am ready to go back to work very easily.


The power of voluntary amnesia. Awesome!


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Vacation? Mmmm, not recently Aug 2, 2014

Since I'm a workaholic, vacations and holidays are a rare occurrence. Whenever I get to go out of town, I mix business with pleasure (i.e. sightseeing, visiting family or friends, etc.)

My mind never rests; I'm always reading and preplanning, discovering new relationships between things I just learn or read and things I know, applying most of them to translations, designs or teaching later.


 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:41
Member
German to English
+ ...
slow Aug 2, 2014

I don't know why, but my clients are often slow to get me back into circulation after I have been away. It makes me a little anxious as I may go away for two weeks but workwise and moneywise it can seem like three.

 

JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 15:41
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't take vacations. Aug 2, 2014

I do sometimes take a couple of days away from the computer, which is very refreshing mentally, physically, and spiritually. But stay out of touch and do no work for two or three weeks? Never.

I do mostly large projects, though, so just a little work here and there keeps me in the swim of things and gives me something to report, should one of my clients email for an update. If I did multiple small projects every day, I would probably need to take an actual vacation from time to time.


Jane


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
I just moved! Aug 3, 2014

I spent the weekend moving to a new house. I haven't been able to focus enough to really translate anything, so I haven't worked in a couple of weeks. We're all moved in now, I have the ol' computer set up and I'm ready to get back to work.

My biggest concern is where the next job is going to come from and being able to concentrate in this new place. I already miss my office a little.


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:41
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
I only slow down, not shut down Aug 3, 2014

I'm not really the real holiday type. I just want to spend a few weeks with my family, but I don't mind working a little bit while I'm there.
I told all my clients that I can't do rush jobs in that period and that I won't be able to respond immediately, though they can expect a reply within 24 hours. All but 1 client understood that. I had a higher workload than usual in the weeks leading up to my 5 week holiday with clients preparing some projects in advance, and others have booked in projects with heavily extended deadlines even stretching way beyond my holiday. That leaves enough room to handle slightly more urgent matters within a reasonable amount of time.
I've met up with some of my clients in the area as well and I think that is far more important to a long term working relationship than trying to be always on-call.

Only one client kept stressing around when I wasn't available immediately, so I had to tell them that I can't work with them again until after my holiday. I don't know, maybe I've lost them. If so, that's unfortunate, but I can only explain the concept of actually doing things on my holiday, rather than staring at my laptop 24/7, so many times and there comes a point where consistent ignorance becomes disrespectful and irritating.


 
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