;   Medical Translation Insight: 3 things no one told you about working from home - ForeignExchange Translations

This guest post is contributed by Ashley M. Jones, who writes on the topic of pharmacy technician certification. She welcomes your comments at her email id: ashleym.jones643@gmail.com.

If you want to become a medical translator or transcriptionist, you are probably going to be working from home because it's the most convenient thing to do. It makes financial sense for you and your employer and is a great option if you're a woman with young children who need your care.

But even though working from home has a ton of perks, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you choose this professional option, things that no one will tell you because they want you to believe that work-at-home jobs are a bed of roses:

  1. You require tremendous will power: When you work with little or no supervision, you tend to get distracted easily, especially with the easy access to the television and the Internet. So you require tremendous will power to be able to push aside these diversions from work and concentrate on the task at hand so that you do justice to your job. The best way to do this is to set a routine (even though your schedule is flexible) and stick to it every day, no matter what. Just pretend your work space is the office and work as if you were being supervised.
  2. People may not take you seriously: When you tend to spend the whole day in your pajamas or in casual clothes because you don't have to get dressed to go to work (and you want to be as comfortable as possible), people don't consider what you do as "a job". They look at you and think you're having a wonderful time, waking up late, working when you please, and not having someone look over your shoulder when you work or having to answer to a boss. They don't realize that your job is just as demanding as the one they do, if not more. So if you're ready to work at home, be ready to disregard this perception as well.
  3. Your social life suffers: And finally, unless you make it a point to get out and meet friends and family members once every few days, you'll find that working from home kills your social life. You don't get to meet or interact with other professionals in your field too because you're cooped up at home. And when all your communication is online, you slowly lose your people skills and become a sort of hermit. So ensure that you set aside the weekends to meet and socialize with your friends, family members, and others who work in your profession (so that you can broaden your horizons and improve your knowledge).
In spite of all these drawbacks, working from home is still an advantage if you're able to balance your personal and professional lives and know where to draw the line between the two.


  1. martachka said...
    When you work with tight deadlines, you don't have time to get distracted, so if you want to keep your clients and make a living working at home, will power is not such a big deal. But I do agree that working with your pajamas all day is probably the best things of working at home. When someone thinks that's not really working, it just means they're envious!!!
    DawnM said...
    Great post - and very true!
    Philippa said...
    I'm so relieved the phenomenon of "not being taken seriously" is a common one. I thought it was just me! I have to constantly battle with having other jobs off-loaded onto me. I get the comment "You're at home, can't you do it?" Great post!
    Kevin Lossner said...
    My general observations of discussions on the topic of working from home tend to support your points, at least at a superficial level. However, the reality for me is quite different, and it may be for others as well. Even in the years when I had a "regular job", I found I was most productive when I packed up and went home to handle any task that did not desperately require my physical presence (like monitoring a reaction or mixing procedure).

    Tremendous will power? That's what I needed not to strangle coworkers who were rude enough to wander into my office with lit cigarettes. Left alone I can concentrate so well on tasks that I become unaware of the environment beyond my scree, book or sheet of vellum.

    People may not take me seriously? That's cool. Turnabout is fair play ;-)

    Suffering social life? That's a fair description of life cooped up in an office full of involuntary associations. Now as a freelancer I choose the time and place of my encounters and enjoy them very much most of the time!
    Peter Garner said...
    Interesting post. To be honest, my experience has been quite the opposite. But I think one's reaction will vary according to one's personality and past experience. For my part, I find all the willpower I need comes from knowing that output=reputation. Amazing how easy it is to concentrate when you need to pay the rent. But then, I've never had a full-time job anyway. My entire career has been freelance one way or another, so its all I know.

    As for people taking me seriously, well, in my previous career I was a freelance musician, so for me, translation was a huge boost in credibility.

    Where your post hits closest to home for me is with my social life. It's very easy to get cabin fever, especially in the winter. So I try and make a point of getting out of the house every chance I get. I'm not a social butterfly by any means, but I do OK. On the professional side of things, Twitter has been a huge boon in connecting with other translators.
    Professional Translation Services Guide said...
    Great points, although I agree with Kevin Lossner's comment above regarding the willpower -- I find it easier to concentrate when working at home than in an office, where there are constant interruptions from coworkers. Another aspect of working from home that I love is the lack of commute. One of the disadvantages I've personally found is that my small apartment feels a lot more claustrophobic now that I'm spending all of my time here. And a home office area takes up a lot of space. There is a great accumulation of stacks of paper, computer equipment, business cards, bills, that seems to be taking over ever surface in my already cramped living room.
    Roman Mironov said...
    Working from home might also mean little career development and recognition. As a freelance translator, you have scarce career opportunities, often limited to raising rates only. And because your clients are often not the end users of your work or some of your translations are never even read, you might also feel that your work is not recognised properly.
    Claymore4 said...
    I've worked as a contracter, offsite full-time, and currently work offsite two days a week in my full-time position.

    I find the way you explain your work situation has much to do with what people perceive. "Telecommuting" or "working offsite" are much more professional sounding then "working from home", which I take care not to say.

    I love working offsite and generally save important projects that need super concentration for those days.

    For me, the only problem I have is knowing when to stop working. My family has become very adept at making me aware of the time.

    "Mom! When's dinner?!" ;)
    Oliver Lawrence said...
    I agree with those who have commented that deadlines tend to focus the mind, but would also add a passion for the work and for building up one's business as major motivational factors. I have not found will power to be an issue.

Post a Comment


Services | Resources | Company | Contact Us | Blog | Home

(c) Copyright 2010, ForeignExchange Translations, Inc.