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All play and no work makes Jill a grumpy, lazy person January 11, 2012

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices.

I preach on here about enjoying the lulls, but I am in the middle of a month-long lull and am now totally over it. After working full-time at a law firm for 3 weeks (end date was Dec. 4) and translating a large medical job at night (delivered on Dec. 2nd) I was ready for a break. I enjoyed the run-up to the holidays, because for the first time in a long time I was able to get my shopping done, relax and read some books. I translated probably 4 or 5 texts in December, all fairly small (under 1000 words). Thanks heavens for my financial cushion or I would be seriously sweating bullets.

Don’t get me wrong – I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays with my family and attending holiday events like the Messiah Sing. But I’m ready to get back to it! In the past work has picked up again fairly quickly after the holidays, but my lull just keeps on yawning on. My finances are ready for the tax accountant, my office is organized, and my files are ready for 2012.

I had a business meeting yesterday with a potential new client. It promises to be quite challenging and quite lucrative, but I will most likely have to give up working from home. I’m not sure how I feel about the idea, but at this point I might just be ready for a change. In any event, I am sick and tired of not having any work. There’s only so much lying around I can do without going absolutely stir crazy and getting a wee bit depressed. Come on, Universe…



1. Susanne Aldridge III - January 11, 2012

Start riding a bike 🙂

2. patenttranslator - January 11, 2012

Something to keep in mind when thinking about a big change:

If you have been self employed for a while, the chances are that you are no longer compatible with “corporate culture” – things like taking s***t from your boss, the usual office backstabbing, etc., no matter how “nice” your future employer seems to be at this point.

I know several Japanese translators who became full time employees of a major Japanese corporation for the security and for the benefits. One took the job to have health insurance so that his wife could have a surgery. He was quite unhappy while he was there as far as I could tell. He quit after she’s had the surgery and became a freelancer again.

I would regard a “real job” merely as a new experiment in and a part of my freelancing career, which means that I would be planning my future as a freelancer after this job while still on the job.

I have always been a strong believer in the concept of plan B and multitasking.

Jill (@bonnjill) - January 11, 2012

I’ll still be a subcontractor, so I’m not going to be completely in-house. I will work 6 hours at the office (a 2-man office) and 2 hours from home (later perhaps entirely from home but there will be an educational period in which I need to be in-house). I will be paid by the hour. The work will probably be 3 weeks on, 1 week off and won’t be consistent. If I decide I don’t like it I can just let them know.

3. patenttranslator - January 11, 2012

Oh, I thought you were going rogue on us (by becoming an employee).

This could work and it could be worth it depending on the pay.

4. Fabio Said - January 12, 2012

Jill, lull periods are good and certainly do not last long for a professional like you. They allow you to do other things. As I told you in our chat in Godesberg, January and February are usually slow for me, and instead of accepting lower-paying jobs or jobs outside my specialization fields, I prefer to do other things, like self-publishing the second edition of my 4 genealogy books, preparing for a certification exam, attending seminars away from my “Kaff”, preparing posts and podcast episodes for my translation blog, working on a dictionary project I am planning to self-publish soon etc. etc. I savor the slow periods because I know that from late February I will be too busy to dedicate myself to anything other than translating. I think there is no problem with lull periods, as long as you balance them with periods of higher business activity (e.g. by making yourself 100% available in parts of the year when you feel clients will need you the most).

And, in case you are still in a lull next week on Wednesday (January 18), you can join my webinar that will launch the ATA webinar series for 2012. It’s about advanced blogging techniques for language professionals. Here is the link to the registration page at ATA’s website:


5. Jenn Mercer - January 12, 2012

I hear you. I get so restless when I do not have work. The lulls have shortened as I have gained new clients, but I still have those times when I feel like I am never going to work again. On the up side, this means that when I do get a project I am ridiculously enthusiastic about starting. Every project usually has its doldrums when I ask myself what I was thinking, but… those feeling pass quickly after the deadline :).

6. EP - January 15, 2012

Strange how hard it is to find that proper balance between having too little to do and having too much. I’m with you (I think), I would prefer having too much to do whenever possible, but you can’t always control that. The work tends to comes in waves, doesn’t it? Maybe we should visualize this as being a form of surfing.

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