I’d be interested to know whether any of my colleagues set autoresponders on weekends. Most weekends I have access to my e-mail, and I’ll normally just reply to any work-related messages. This weekend, however, I was away in Andorra on a skiing trip, and I made a conscious decision to completely switch off from work, with the exception of doing some marking of my students’ work on the coach trip.
On the Sunday, I was really tempted to put a euro in the Internet machines in the hotel, but I resisted, saying to myself “you’ll be home later”.
When I finally got home on Sunday night, I found two e-mails from a client I had been negotiating quite a large contract with (about 1800€). The first had been sent on Friday night, just after I had left, asking me for my phone number and stating that he had to wait for confirmation from someone else within his organisation. The second e-mail had been sent on Saturday afternoon, and confirmed the job.
I was quite tired, so I decided to wait until Monday morning before replying with my phone number. So on Monday morning I sent the e-mail. Several hours later (about 15 minutes before I wrote this), he called to say that he panicked because I hadn’t got back to him and that he has contacted another translator, who has accepted the job.
As you can imagine, I’m not in the best of moods at the moment. But the best thing I can do is to think about how I can prevent this happening again. I don’t think I should have been carrying a blackberry around with me on the ski slopes, just in case a client contacted me (at the time of my Saturday e-mail I was in the middle of a skiing lesson), so I’m thinking that next time I go away for a weekend I should maybe set an auto-responder, like I always do when I go away for longer periods of time.
I’d be interested to hear whether other translators do the same, or whether they’ve had similar experiences.