Poll: Do you think freelancers are generally more, or less, socially inept than the rest?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:46
SITE STAFF
Mar 3

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think freelancers are generally more, or less, socially inept than the rest?".

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Edwige Thomas  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:46
Member (2014)
English to French
+ ...
more socially inept Mar 3

Definitely. You don't have to go through "life at the office", small talk with colleagues you wouldn't care of in normal life, office hours, etc.
So even if you miss the occasion to meet interesting people - as a former employee I know what it means -, you also escape pointless interactions that go with work Inside a company. THAT makes you more socially inept as you lose the habit of forcing yourself;)


 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 21:46
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
Other Mar 3

No more, no less...?

 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 21:46
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
More socially inept..... Yes :-)) Mar 3

Yes, I think they are in a way.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 3

I'm very wary of sweeping generalisations at the best of times. There is a meme or stereotype perpetrated among/about freelancers, visible on many blogs and websites, with jokes about working in pyjamas, "having no social life", always been too busy or too poverty-stricken to go out… etc. And although behind every joke or stereotype there is usually a grain of truth, or sometimes a boulder, I tend to think that in the majority of cases that's all it is, a joke or stereotype.

And I don't think I've ever been more "socially inept" than anyone else, in fact I usually tend to get on with most people, but I can assure you that by now, I have had all the "social life" (well, at least the social life typical of the UK culture of binge drinking ...) that my internal organs can withstand. My wild oats have all been well and truly sown by now, and I think I deserve a bit more peace and quiet nowadays. And, I don't care if this makes me a weirdo, but a lot of the time I actually prefer working to "socialising" anyway.



[Edited at 2018-03-03 09:56 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:46
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Mar 3

First of all, I don’t like generalizations and some of us are more sociable or outgoing than others just like in any other profession. Then, the way this question is worded seems to infer that freelancers live their whole life in their own world, but the fact is that not only some of us tried both sides of the fence and loved it, but also we are quite apt to form long-term partnerships with our customers and that requires social skills, doesn’t it? I’m no longer the highly social animal I used to be, I did change a lot but I'd bet that this is more of an age thing…

 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Perfect! Mar 3

Teresa Borges wrote:

First of all, I don’t like generalizations and some of us are more sociable or outgoing than others just like in any other profession. Then, the way this question is worded seems to infer that freelancers live their whole life in their own world, but the fact is that not only some of us tried both sides of the fence and loved it, but also we are quite apt to form long-term partnerships with our customers and that requires social skills, doesn’t it? I’m no longer the highly social animal I used to be, I did change a lot but I'd bet that this is more of an age thing…


Totally agree!


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:46
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
maybe Mar 3

I agree that generalisation is stupid.

You do need a certain mindset to contemplate working at home without any contact with other people beyond a mail asking you to translate something and writing back to confirm you can do it. Does that make us socially inept? I don't think so.

Some freelance translators here are glad to no longer have to deal with office politics. I personally miss going in to the office and chatting with colleagues at lunchtime. I may not be the most gregarious of people but I have friends, activities and a life outside my work.


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:46
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
"I won't dignify that question with an answer" Mar 3

tomtom88 wrote:

Definitely. You don't have to go through "life at the office", small talk with colleagues you wouldn't care of in normal life, office hours, etc.
So even if you miss the occasion to meet interesting people - as a former employee I know what it means -, you also escape pointless interactions that go with work Inside a company. THAT makes you more socially inept as you lose the habit of forcing yourself;)


Well, you could just as well argue the exact opposite. While employees can afford to lean back, avoid others and still get paid, freelancers need to interact if they want their business to be successful (or even if they just want to survive). They need to communicate with clients, they need to promote their business, they need to handle enquiries from total strangers, they need to build rapport with existing clients, they need to be able to handle complaints and to deal with issues like unpaid invoices. Freelancers do need to rely a lot more on their social skills than employees.

I know that some translators (often the ones who complain about translators being underrated and lacking in status and prestige) like to paint that picture of the lonely translator in their pyjamas, toiling away 18 hours a day for a pittance. But that has nothing to do with reality, has it?


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Way more Mar 3

Way more would be my conclusion after hanging around here...

That’s not a generalisation but an observation.


 

Barbara Cochran, MFA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Introvert Who's The Life Of The Party Mar 3

While most of the time while I'm doing my work as a translator I might seem to be introverted to others because I'm so intent on the task at hand, some find me to be "the life of the party" when I'm with them (and not necessarily working at that time). They have told me they find me "entertaining" because of my descriptions of the truly interesting (yes, that they are) projects I have worked on over the years, and because of my stories about the experiences I have had with my esteemed colleagues and clients, whom I have visited several times in Europe and the UK.

[Edited at 2018-03-03 22:02 GMT]


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:46
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Factors Mar 3

There are several factors that make a person socially inept or otherwise.
Their profession is certainly not one of them. The fact of being a freelancer, and above all working from home, may surely help, but it's still not among the most significant factors.

[Edited at 2018-03-03 22:16 GMT]


 
Learning process Mar 3

I think social life of freelancer could be developed in their time learning or practicing to translate. To become a freelancer is necesary to go through other translations that need to have some social skills, so there they could develop the social skill needed in case they become a freelancer.

 


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