Why do we do the things we do? Companies are continually forced to ask that question, as no one wants to be left in the wake of a paradigm shift or forced off the field by the next game-changer. As freelancers we have the monumental advantage of being able to do whatever we want without having to deal with supervisors, managers, committees, boards or focus groups. Just writing that sentence made me stop and take a moment to savor my meeting-free existence. But are we using our freedom to good effect?
A few days ago, a colleague on a forum here in California mentioned a particular Canadian agency with a history of late and non-payment. Several people responded they had had similar experiences and recommended steering clear of this agency. I was glad for the heads-up, but it begs the question: how on earth do agencies like this stay in business in the first place?
Two weeks ago I wrote about the way our interactions reflect on the profession itself. This week I came across the website of FIRST, a non-profit whose mission is to help children get excited about science and technology. One of the driving forces of this group, Dr. Woodie Flowers, coined the term Gracious Professionalism®, which he defines as competing and striving to excel in a spirit of kindness and respect. I think this is a great concept which strikes me as extremely relevant for our industry, as well.
Are you sure you know what you’re getting into when you accept that great new job from your friendly neighborhood translation agency? Don’t jump at that offer too fast, because not every great project is what is seems. Sometimes job offers are like real-estate pitches; you have to read between the lines or that “minimum editing” job you commit to may turn out to be a major reconstruction project. Watch out for these “opportunities”: