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♪♫ I’m just a girl who can’t say no… ♪♫ June 21, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

There is a reason I am overworked. I have a hard time saying no. Even when I go on vacation I usually have my laptop with me and translate the occasional document for my clients. I was translating several books when I was last in Germany a few years ago. I traveled around visiting friends and worked while they were at work. I even had my laptop with me at a garden cafe in Munich – sitting in the sun, drinking coffee, and translating Italian recipes because the deadline was looming. Last February I worked from the Florida Keys. My mother wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t go far from where we were staying, so it was a good thing I had my laptop with me. I put in a full week and a half of work that week.

I am going on vacation on Thursday. My cousin is getting married on the beach in Lauderdale by the Sea, so my parents and I are going down there and staying in a condo in Naples for a few days afterward. I’ve even hired a pet sitter to stay at my place with the critters. I made a conscious decision to bring my laptop that does not have Trados installed on it so that I wouldn’t be tempted to work. That said, I turned down a sizable job yesterday from my favorite client that would have arrived on Wednesday and taken up most of the weekend. I said no, and the PM was okay with that (and let everyone else know I was unavailable for the next week). However, I still had a mental debate of whether or not I should take it. I’m still having moments of “oh, I should have accepted it” and then “no, I need a vacation. I haven’t had a proper one in years.” It is really hard for me to say no to clients. But I am resolute that I will be enjoying a week with no work. I just wonder if I can do it…



1. Karen Tkaczyk - June 21, 2011

My way of controlling this for vacations is to set my out-of-office reply to say I am unavailable until such and auch a date. That way the client has been told no before I even see the email. The temptation to accept a job is removed.

Jill (@bonnjill) - June 21, 2011

I do the out-of-office reply too. Thanks for the reminder to set it up.

2. Corinne McKay - June 21, 2011

I agree with Karen; one of the reasons I send out an upcoming vacation warning e-mail to my clients is to force myself to actually take the time off. I agree, it’s really hard; and we want to clients to rely on us and the money is always appealing. At the same time, I think that we deplete a lot of the qualities about ourselves that attract clients (energy, creativity, patience, flexibility, enthusiasm) if we never take a real break. I also find that when I take a true break, I almost always come back with a different and better outlook on my business decisions. Have fun in Florida and don’t think about translation 🙂

3. Hilary Higgins - June 21, 2011

I’m with Corinne and Karen, good job saying no! Even translators need downtime without the laptop, without thinking about work, clients, etc. Enjoy yourself!

4. Chris Durban - June 21, 2011

A suggestion from an accountant acquaintance: book vacations in your calendar like a job — a regular job. That’s one way to keep from hiring out that same time again, he says.

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