Posts Tagged ‘typing’

Fight or Flight

Yesterday I branched out and went to work for one of my clients as a note-taker, live in the focus groups. As I don’t have a laptop, I professionalised my iPad and felt sure that it would be up to the job – I did turn down the offer of a laptop, such was my confidence.

I left the house at 5.00 p.m. to make sure I was there for 6.00. I arrived and they placed me in the corner of the room, where I sat patiently, waiting for the show to begin. I managed to hide myself behind a big flip-board and tried to be invisible. The first 90 minute group went fine, except the board was removed half-way through, exposing me to the camera, of which I was aware.

However, about half an hour into the second group, I pressed something and everything on the screen disappeared – I just wanted to run from that room and say, ‘I can’t do this!’ I fired off a frantic email to the lovely Carly, who was behind the one-way mirror, to say that I’d need the recording to capture the first half hour and that I was just going to soldier on.

Between the groups she paid me for my ‘hours’, which she had interpreted to mean £25 per hour of group, i.e. 3 hours, plus a tenner for travel, so basically I got paid £85 for 8 hours work, maybe 9. I left their offices at 10.00 and on arriving home I then spent ‘til 1.00 a.m. putting my notes in order, minus the first half an hour of group two.

This morning, Carly sent me the DVD so I could capture that which was lost and me and the kids had a good laugh at the video; me in the corner, still as a rabbit caught in the headlights, in group one looking quite composed and by the end of group two, looking like I’d just suffered a nervous breakdown! We laughed at the despair and longing on my face when the flip-board was moved part-way through group one, and in group two I knew when to stop re-typing the notes when I saw myself frantically touching the screen and then emailing Carly and getting back on with the job before I missed any more.

This morning I emailed Carly to say that I had under-priced myself and that I would need £75 per session – i.e. I’d have come out with £150 last night, instead of £85 – to which she has agreed, so tonight I will be going back to my corner for one session and I’m going to try to do a better job than yesterday.




As one door closes …

… another one opens. Around Easter time, when I emailed Alan, telling him where he could stick his work  (after a tough year of slave labour and zero appreciation), Miles entered my life and has been like a breath of fresh air. He values my input, he asks my opinions, for a while at the beginning of his focus groups he was getting the respondents to say hello to me in the introductions – I know it’s only a little thing but I did get a kick out of it. Miles pays me within hours of receiving my invoice and my rate is set fairly, no quibbles. And he is not alone, he works with four other researchers and he also does ad hoc work, so he is a super new client and has kept me busy all year. I emailed him some work back yesterday and added a little Christmas message to say what a pleasure he’s been to work with and that I hope we’ll both be busy in 2014. He responded by saying that the feeling is mutual and, I quote, “I feel VERY lucky to have such a smart and switched on person to work with.” Now that’s what I’m talking about!




Fully Booked

I have a work schedule! In fact, for the first time ever I have used my e-calendar and filled in a whole month of pre-booked jobs! After giving Alan the flick earlier in the year, things really turned around for a while and I started earning the sort of money I used to earn. The month of August was a great month but September was a complete washout – I went through five weeks of next to nothing, hardly daring to login and look at what was going on with my current account! So now it’s October and I am booked in for the whole month, which is a real relief because although it will be a bit of a slog, I can’t wait to hit the West End with Maureen and splash a bit of cash come November.

Do not Disturb



Alan has ruined my day today. Whilst I am grateful for Alan … I am grateful for Alan … I am grateful for Alan … he really pisses me off. Alan is my transcribing agency client (in other words, slave labour rates). His clients all sound like complete fuck-wits – not like the slick market researchers interviewing people who can at least speak English that I am accustomed to typing – oh no, absolute buffoons, talking to exasperated sounding respondents; I feel their pain. Alan’s rate for this job was 10p up on the usual shite 55p – 65p per minute to type foreign people; interviewer and respondent trying to communicate in English, no sentence structure, no idea about tenses and accents that I can’t even put my finger on. After spending my day trying to type this stuff – the content of which is boring beyond belief – I decided to tell Alan about the situation. He eventually responded and said that I could take 70p but that when he’d listened to them they ‘weren’t so bad!’ From previous experience with Alan, I must watch my step but for fuck’s sake, ‘Try fucking typing them yourself, Sadam!!’


If you’re wondering where I’ve been, I’ve been busy at work, typing. On Monday morning I remember wondering what the week would bring and it’s brought quite a lot of typing. In my workless plight a few weeks ago, Honey gently encouraged me onto the internet to try and find some work; any work (see Big Issue). I halfheartedly looked around on the net for some transcription agencies (as that’s what I do, transcribe) and found Alan (his real name). Alan pays me way less than I would normally charge but I have had to accept that – I’ve realised that doing a bit of regular work every day means I’m not so broke! Today he gave me a job, he said that the client is very ‘fussy’, I thought ‘for 55p a minute he can’t afford to be fussy!’ – I told Alan that when I employed typists I paid them to type and I would charge extra to proof and that for 55p a minute there was no way I was going to proof it, that on second read there’s bound to be some errors to pick up and that if the client doesn’t pay for it to be proofed then it’s not going to be (obviously). I bashed the 3 transcripts out – the moderator was an obnoxious fuck; in fact, one of the people he interviewed stopped the interview and said that he should be paying for that kind of advice! – ooh, there’s a theme here – anyway, Matthew (his real name) complained about the use of brackets and semi colons!!! Alan told me that he himself has never come across the use of brackets and semi colons in ‘speech’ .. Matthew signed off his complaint email to Alan, ‘ thank[s] and have a good evening’ … (‘Matthew; go fuck yourself’).

* Leave it to karma *


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