Whenever I’m writing about a certain topic on my blog, I always research it. This month, researching translation and personality, has been particularly insightful. I managed to look at some of my strengths and weaknesses as a freelancer and start working on some elements that weren’t quite right. This weekend I came across an interesting article on Freelance Folder looking at different personalities: perfectionist, people person, rebel, controller, and the shy one, and how to make them work for you if you’re a freelancer.
By no means I think these are the only categories or typologies of personalities, but I found it interesting how the author, Laura Spencer, analyses the constraints these personalities put on us if we’re working as freelancers.
The perfectionist is, according to the author somebody who is “constantly finding fault with his/her own work and the work of others”. Perfectionists set very high standards and are detail-oriented. One of the problems that the author identified is that perfectionist can’t let work go when it’s good enough and constant revisions often lead to missing deadlines.
Now, while this isn’t happening all that often for translators (can you imagine missing a deadline and telling the client ‘oh, I’m a perfectionist, that’s why’?), we tend to sacrifice other things just to meet this deadline, don’t we? For example, we keep working nights or weekends, or we cancel appointments. In my opinion, this isn’t really handling being a perfectionist, this is just letting it take over.
Of course, perhaps it’s perfectionism that makes us so good at what we’re doing, so we don’t want to get rid of it, but where do you set yourself a limit? I’ve created a QA checklist and after I check the work against this checklist, I send it out. I don’t dwell, I don’t go back to it. That’s how I’m managing my perfectionist.
The People Person is someone who, according to the author, “seem to make friends with everyone they meet.” These types of freelancers often have huge networks and know how to network easily. The main drawback is that for people persons, it’s actually difficult to sit down and get some work done.
This is totally not me. I’m not a people person that much, and I always can just sit down and start working. Facebook or Twitter aren’t that tempting because I know they’re there to distract, so I don’t look at them while working. But if you are a people person and you work from home with others around, how do you deal with it? How do you set yourself boundaries?
The Rebels “became freelancers because they couldn’t stand the rules and restrictions of a more long-term working arrangement.” They sometimes come up with great ideas, but tend to lack patience, especially in communicating these ideas to others. Rebels often diverge into side projects to keep them interested and alive.
This is so me. I need a few other things going on apart from translating or I’d just go nuts. A small thing here, a little job there, a blog post here, I need to work on a few things at the same time to keep my energy and adrenaline high. What about you?
The Controller, as the author says “freaks out if he/she doesn’t know exactly what’s going on with business and projects at any given time.” Someone close to me is a total controller. He is an excellent project manager with outstanding organisational skills, but at the same time he tries to do too much, never mind trying to delegate work. Plus, Controllers will have an issue with unpredictability.
To a certain extent, I’m a Controller myself. I need a plan and structure for everything (do you remember my five year plans?), and my every single week is planned out in advance. But, at the same time, I enjoy unpredictability and the challenges it poses. What about you?
The Shy One, according to the author, “is less outgoing than others, a sympathetic listener and can be very loyal to clients.” Yet, the problem with the shy ones is that often marketing is a struggle for them.
When comes to this aspect, I’m a naturally shy person, but when comes to business, I leave it all behind. I find super strength and courage somewhere and I can market away. One of the ways I’m dealing with managing my shy side is that when comes to business, I tell myself that I’m now working for a business so it’s not about me, it’s about the external brand. I see myself as an employee, rather than the individual concerned, and I carry out work as if I was doing it for someone else. The shyness seems to go away. What about you, if you’re the shy one?