Calamus Translations

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4 poor excuses not to take a vacation as a freelancer

Professional development in Budapest, Hungary

Professional development in Budapest, Hungary

After just returning from a wonderfully restorative 7-week trip tracing the old path of the Oriental Express from Turkey to France, I thought I would deal with a few of the excuses that freelancers frequently come up with to avoid taking vacations.

My regular clients will leave me.

Remember that your clients keep coming back to you for a reason — they must like your responsiveness, the quality of your work, or your prices. After you return from vacation, your regular clients will be eager to start working with you again.

Just like in an office job, it takes a little bit of work to schedule a vacation. In my case, I had good internet access the whole time to respond to clients' inquiries and I was able to do several very small jobs for regular clients. 

Even a total phone and e-mail blackout is doable. Tell your regular clients well in advance when you are planning to take a vacation and how to reach you during that time. Set up an out of office phone message and email response. You can even write tweets and blog posts ahead of time to maintain your web presence.

I can’t afford to not take work during a vacation.

Everyone's budget is different, but, generally speaking, if you can’t afford to not work for a week, then you have a major problem with your business model! We all need a rainy day fund and our fee structure needs to cover both day-to-day living costs as well as occasional vacations and unforeseen events.

I should do professional development rather than take a vacation.

Who says a vacation can't involve professional development? For translators and interpreters, consider visiting a country where your language is spoken and taking a course or getting involved in a volunteer project. Even the experience of reading translations in your native language abroad can be a good reminder of the wide gap between a text being understandable and it really being native-like.

I don’t have the time.

This is the classic excuse not just for putting off vacations but for everything else we don't do in life. The reality is that we make time for the things that are important to us. It’s like the saying that “you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.”

Olivia Barrett