About ‘being off’

I started my translation business in 2010..to be honest, I already worked part-time in 2009 too, but it only got serious after a six months “trial period”.

I told myself that there is no too small or underpaid job that I would not accept, in order to “see them all”. I took this decision since I didn’t graduate as a translator and this was my first shot at managing my own company and income too, so if I was not trained, I had to accumulate enough experience very quickly.

I signed up at ProZ.com, and TranslatorsCafé, and registered with every agency I could find online. I responded to every single job opportunity and soon got my first translation gig, which required the use of software I never heard of before. Since I had an IT background, I took it. I spare the passage about the self-incriminating software download from a torrent site and skip to the part, where I became a very efficient and ahead-of-her-time translator, who had all hands full.

Back then I had no one to care for and had a big appetite for having an occupation that I can call “my company”.

In the process, I lost my vision of life.

Way before the COVID-forced digital transformation and smart working I was working day and night in a room of my apartment that I called “the office” – a desk with a desktop computer, a big, old-school monitor, and two speakers for entertainment, obviously, everything attached with a cable to the desktop computer, giving me a headache when I started dusting off the surfaces. I ordered everything I could online, I had my social relationships on Skype – we talk about 2010 – and was very happy about becoming a lone wolf.

My life was my job. I developed an ear and an eye for translations, and I was sure that there is no other activity in the world, that was worth renouncing a job for.

I remember to have respected deadlines during a couple of my vacations, I remember to have cut short an elephant ride in Thailand, because there was a financial website, which needed an update, and I sent my partner alone to explore the Ramadan night markets in Istambul because I absolutely HAD TO finish a job.

I was always online. I adopted the Checker for GMAIL so I could be the first to respond to every email and request, which also paid off naturally.

I don’t blame myself or my decisions. If I have financial stability now, is only, because I lived the way I did.

I also am not trying to convince or lecture anyone about work-life balance, simply I admit that after a decade I had enough.

In 2023 I heard in a Netflix series from Headspace that pure multitasking is not possible, we just learn to switch between two or more tasks very quickly.

I always felt that when I had a lot to do, my emails started to have a negative tone, I sooner started to bully my clients for more pay or started to become sarcastic with project managers, who asked close to impossible things or set impossible deadlines.

I find it very important that the collaboration between the translator and their client helps the project in every possible way, so I decided to prevent my regular emotional and professional burnout by taking regular time off.

I use digital wellbeing tools to keep myself unplugged from my phone between 8 PM and 6 AM, and I am around 4 weeks off during the year (carefully planned and announced in time), when I do not check or respond to my emails, only twice a day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Verified by MonsterInsights