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Friday, July 4, 2008

It's a Holiday! Are You Working?

For those of us in the United States it's a holiday today, which always gets me wondering how other transcriptionists deal with those random holidays that seem to pop up here and there.

I've found that holidays are generally handled by companies in a variety of ways. Some companies recognize these days by not having office hours on specific holidays. (Ah, the benefits of a brick and mortar.) Usually work will be assigned for the next work day. Other companies simply ignore the fact that there are holidays at all. Instead, they plow right on through as if they don't exist, scheduling work for those days. Still others will observe the holiday by offering bonuses or higher rates for work that needs to be turned in over the holiday. If you have your own clients the way a holiday works is going to have to be a mutual understanding regarding your ability during that time period. You can tell your clients whether you'll be in or out that day and when they can expect to have their work completed accordingly.

As a self-employed business owner, independent contractor, freelancer, amazing individual with the ability to multi-task and self-motivate like none other you ultimately get to choose how you handle the holidays. There are many things that may determine how you choose to balance work and play including financial obligations, family activities, pressure from companies, extra pay or that favorite client you just can't say no to. Some of the brick-and-mortar benefits don't translate into self-employment; one that I most certainly miss is paid vacation.

As a courtesy, it is always good to remind clients and contracts if you will be taking some time off over the holiday. It adds a level of professionalism and shows the you take your job seriously. Letting them know in advance will communicate you care not only about yourself, but about their business as well.

One thing to keep in mind is making sure you don't overextend yourself over holidays. You don't want to be the one up at 2:00 a.m. finishing work the night after Christmas while everyone else is tucked into their beds, full of cookies and looking forward to the New Year. You also don't want to be the one left behind for that family picnic because you have to stay and work due to a file taking longer than it should or your inability to say no.

Of course, you may be one who likes to take the bonus files and work while everyone else is doing their holiday activity. Perhaps your idea of a day off is saving up for a two-week vacation in Europe or taking a day off to go visit your local museum in the middle of a weekday when no one else is there.

Whatever you decide to do when facing the holiday question remember that you are your own boss, so the benefits and consequences are yours and yours alone. Be responsible, be professional, but always take the time to relax and have fun.