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I accepted a job Thursday with a deadline of Wednesday morning. Monday morning arrived. I woke up to an email informing me that the client wanted to change the format of the job and no longer needed my services. This is what I mean when I say “be ready for the unexpected.” You can see an excerpt from the email on my Instagram.
We are freelancers; therefore, we are expendable when the powers-that-be, i.e. the client, want to change their minds. I could be at home paying attention to finite details to ensure consistency throughout this large post-machine translation job, taking into account how they want the final product to read so that they are pleased and ask for me again. Buuuuuut...
That effort carries no value when the translation agency, an intermediary between the translator and client, focuses on prioritizing the client’s wishes and forgets to look at the bigger picture (everyone involved with the project). By saying yes to the client, this agency put me out of work for a couple of days - I had turned down other jobs because this one filled my work schedule. Now that it’s Monday, I will likely have to wait until the middle/end of the week, when agencies assign the most work, before I fill my calendar again.
You have to decide how to respond to this unexpected change. Personally, I weighed a few options, which you will see below.
1. I could be mad at the agency, even email the PM to voice that anger. Nonetheless, they ARE compensating me, luckily, for the work I did do, and they were very professional about the situation, so they’re really not all that bad.
2. I could sulk at home all day and complain about not having enough income. Woe is me!
3. I could also take the day off completely from the translation sector (despite having scheduled a work day), then distract myself with trivial pleasures, like watching a movie, and therefore make no progress with my business.
4. The balanced option: I decided to write this post, catch up on paperwork and my budget, and hang Christmas lights.
So, you see, my fellow freelance translators, it’s all about how you respond to the unexpected on a Monday morning that will set the tone for the rest of your week. If you want to have a business, you work on the days you plan to work. There’s always something to do!
Above all, you certainly don’t get negative and complain because that, my friends, is letting the unexpected win and letting your business stagnate. Instead, as a colleague said, “Try to finish on a positive note of any kind.”
Find a way to learn from the unexpected, and use it as a starting point to take action that supports the growth of your business.