Freelance gratitude: To whom do you owe thanks?

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Winter reflections on thanksYou didn’t do it all yourself.

Freelancers are independent sorts, and yes, we should give ourselves credit for where we are and what we’ve accomplished.

But we didn’t get here in a vacuum. Folks along the way made a difference, sometimes a huge one.


Winter reflections

Over 50 cm of snow fell in a few hours. As my husband and I sipped steaming cups of hot chocolate to warm up at home while watching the snowflakes dance outside, we became contemplative, recalling fond memories of our many years together and farther back still, of those who’d made such a difference in our lives.

Looking back

While I tend to write forward-looking pieces on this blog, for once I’d like to look back for a minute. And to ask you to take a few minutes out of your hectic schedule to do the same. Gratitude is empowering.

To whom do you owe thanks?

Beyond your family, your friends, your spouse or loved one, whose contribution can you look back on now and recognize made a marked difference in whom you are and what you are do today? No, you didn’t do it all by yourself.

Three gifts

In sorting through all the wonderful people who have touched my life, three stand out for the enduring effects their role played.

M.K., my high school history and geography teacher, exuded unfailing passion for his work, respect for his students, and a will to encourage our individuality and talents. His emotional intelligence (I now know to call it that) was a refreshing contrast to the classic French educational style that stresses conformity and uses criticism as feedback. He helped us gain self-confidence, to learn by trying and letting go of fear of failure, to accept ourselves (probably the biggest challenge for teenagers!) and to choose a path we’d be passionate about.

R.S, my college and grad school political science professor, who expunged the last bits of French influence from my writing in English. He must have spent hours correcting each of our term papers: the pristine white sheets with black type we’d hand in – yes, this was in the olden days of typewriters and R.S. loathed Correcto-Type – would come back covered with his tight red scrawl. I spent hours studying the corrections and remarks he made on mine over the years. I anguished over each sentence I’d write for the next one. I’d alternate between praising his clear commitment to scholarship and Clear English Writing and cursing him, bent over my manual Smith Corona, for making me a stressed-out wreck with very sore fingertips. With a computer, I still angst, but my fingers are fine.

And finally G.C., who was instrumental in launching my freelance business by bringing me in on a year-long project for a complex tripartite merger. His trust, confidence and support, as well as his generous insights to navigate sometimes turbulent political waters, contributed immensely to the project’s success – and to my confidence in building my business.

Do it before it’s too late

Pick up the phone. Send a note. Tell those precious people in your life what difference they made. They probably don’t know. Wouldn’t you like to know if something about you or something you passed on to another did?

Do it now, before it’s too late.

I learned a few years ago M.K and R.S had passed away. I’d lost touch with them, put off looking them up, I’d do it when I had time. I deeply regret my laziness.

I’m sending G.C. a note and this blog post, t o d a y.


So whom do you want to thank? Post a message of gratitude in the comments below.

And if you liked this post, share it!


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Comments: 6

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  • Ines Perez

    I would like to thank senior translator Radovan Pletka.

    When I decided to work as a freelance translator (in the middle 90’s) he used to send a free bulletin with jobs for translators and very good advice for beginners. Thanks to his generous initiative I got a lot of customers and very useful tips to start in this field.

    Thanks a lot, Radovan!! Without your disinterested help, my beginnings would have been much harder!!!

    • That’s wonderful Ines! So, did you tell him directly yet?

  • Très chouette, ce billet. Tu as raison, c’est important de se rappeler “grâce à qui” on en est là où on est…

    • Merci Anne-Lise! Et puis, cela fait plaisir. J’étais ravie lorsqu’une lectrice de ce blog m’a envoyé un mot il y a quelques mois pour me dire qu’elle avait utilisé ma méthode de rédaction de propositions, et que cela avait marché! Ca donne du sens à ce que l’on fait.

  • Je découvre votre blog et j’ai bien aimé ce billet contemplatif… c’est bien vrai, qu’il faut se souvenir des gens qui nous ont influencés, soutenus, encouragés, aidés. Je vais avoir l’occasion de passer 1 mois dans mon village natal en Alsace, pour une fois avant la fin des cours. Alors je vais prendre le temps de passer à mon ancien lycée, pour remercier mes profs d’anglais, d’allemand, d’espagnol et d’éco… elles m’ont toutes énormément influencée dans mon parcours et mes choix de carrière! Merci pour le coup de pouce!

    • Bienvenue Nadia ! And feel at home, pour farfouiller, poser des questions, réagir, and have fun — dans la langue de votre choix ! Heureuse que ce billet un tant soit peu nostalgique vous ait donné un petit coup de pouce pour exprimer à vos profs ce qu’elles vous ont apporté – cela leur fera chaud au coeur, j’en suis certaine. Vous reviendrez nous en parler, OK d’ac ?

      (Complètement hors sujet — votre chalet en Caroline du Sud est magnifique ! Très tentant… qui sait ? Oh hé traducteurs (ou autres) en mal de vacances en mode B & B, faites un tour sur le blog de Nadia et jetez un oeil à son “log cabin” 🙂