What I learned in May 2016

Unfortunately, I learned in May, and not for the first time either, that some clients show no respect for me at all. After chasing payment from a direct client for three months and listening patiently to their promises and excuses, I decided to send them another invoice detailing the late interest* now due. This is the second time I’ve had to reissue an invoice and demonstrate to a direct client that I mean business. But it’s also the second time that interest has not been paid.

Although in both cases the new invoice met with an immediate response (agreed new payment date one week later that was met, and same-day payment), I’m rather dismayed that the interest I added (which, let’s face it, is a paltry sum) was totally ignored. Besides complete non-payment and ignoring reminder emails, nothing else feels like such a slap in the face.

Unpleasant situations like these are the main reasons why I have now decided to charge certain direct clients (individuals and small companies) upfront in future, as I explained last month. In some ways, it’s a regrettable decision, based on my experience of the appalling behaviour of a minority, as it would be so much better to trust. But I take the attitude that I am searchable across the Internet and a member of professional organisations, so clients could easily find me and/or complain if I don’t deliver or don’t give them a partial refund if they are not entirely happy.

During the month, I came across this article on the BBC website about the imposter syndrome and one phrase, that we “compare our insides with other people’s outsides” really struck a chord. As the article explains, this is all too true on social media, especially Facebook I find, where the picture some colleagues paint of their working and sometimes also their private lives is of such an utterly rosy utopia that I feel like shutting down my computer, throwing my hands up in the air in desperation and crumpling into a heap of despair because I feel woefully inadequate by comparison and unable to compete.

Perhaps some find such situations goad them on to achieve even greater things. But I don’t. In fact, bizarrely, I’m beginning to wonder whether I was not happier and more successful in my life and at my job before taking the leap into the cut-throat world of the online translation community where critical daggers lurk in the shadows waiting to take you down at the earliest opportunity.

With this in mind and after a not particularly good April, I finally decided to stop putting up with situations that irk me, be true to my gut feelings and leave some FB groups. And I have to say that I don’t dread opening up the site any more. Now that my feed is no longer flooded by the same old, same old going on endlessly about every minor achievement in their lives, I’ve been able to enjoy posts that seem more human, more real and certainly more honest published by people who had been drowned out by all the “look at me, aren’t I wonderful” noise.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a link to this great video on building self-esteem.

*This is the text I added to the reissued invoice:

Interest is charged under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts [Interest] Act 1998 as amended and supplemented by the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2002 at the rate of 8.5% (this is the current rate in the UK) from (date payment due) to (new invoice/agreed payment date) in the sum of (total interest amount) at the daily rate of (daily interest rate).

P.S. Thank you for all your best wishes for my greyhound Lara. I’m pleased to report that she’s much better and we now just need to help her build up her strength and find a way of making her more mobile.

P.P.S. I’ve chosen a bear calendar for this month in honour of one of Animal Asia’s most famous bears, Jasper, who sadly recently died.

If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you’ll find all the instalments listed on the Reflections & Resolutions page.

Explore this blog by starting with the categories page

9 thoughts on “What I learned in May 2016

  1. Great blog, Nikki! I have just had a similar experience with a direct client, who now appears to be ignoring my emails. It’s so disappointing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Is it strange that I am wondering what groups you left now? Does it help if people post tips rather than simply successes? I am trying to work out how to be the most encouraging and helpful to other professionals so any tips would be good.


    1. Hi Jonathan, as we are all so different, some people will find posts on successes stimulating while others would prefer just a list of tips, etc. A healthy mix is probably the best way to go.
      In these “What I learned in …” posts I present a more personal approach and explain how I feel about certain things that have happened in my working (and sometimes private) life. Readers can always skip them if they are interested in more practical information without such an honest, personal slant. But one of the reasons why I started this series at the beginning of the year was precisely because I felt my blog was becoming too “informationy” and I wanted an opportunity to express my opinion freely.
      That said, I’m not going to reveal which FB groups I left in public as my aim is not to start a discussion on their merits or lack of them. I have very little free time at the moment due to my home situation so I’ve been forced to become more ruthless with what I do with the time I have.


  3. Funnily enough, I was also considering culling some of my translation-related Facebook groups. I use Twitter, follow lots of blogs, am a member of various professional organisations and have some translators as Facebook friends, so I’m unlikely to miss out on important news/events simply because I’m not in these groups. What those groups do, however, is take up time I could be spending on more useful things (or simply being offline!) – and, as you say, they can leave a person feeling distinctly inadequate. After reading your post I decided to leave almost all of my Facebook groups and see if it makes a difference. I may well leave the others too at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Well it’s been nearly a week and I can’t say I regret leaving any of those groups! When I log onto Facebook I no longer feel like I “need” to read the new posts and I ignore my remaining groups most of the time.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.