Why I vanish four times a year

It’s earnings season.

I work part-time as a financial transcript editor. Every financial quarter, corporations hold earnings calls where they discuss their earnings, expenses, and future plans. Like this.

These calls are captioned live. If you’ve ever watched captioning on TV, you’ve probably seen how many typos and errors creep into the text. My job is to fix all that. The text streams into my computer, and I fix the mistakes. This often involves researching names/spellings of product names, competitors, and executives. It also involves listening closely to fill in the right words when someone mumbles through a few phrases.

It’s part-time. I work 4 weeks on and 8 weeks off, and I work from home. Calls happen at the financial quarters, which start Jan 15, Apr 15, Jul 15, and Oct 15. During earnings season, I work 12-14 hour days. I get paid by the transcript length, so it’s in my interest to work as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Whenever I say I work 4 weeks on/8 weeks off, people say, “WOW, that sounds GREAT!” Well, yes. I like it or I wouldn’t do it. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. During earnings season, I work my butt off. Think about five days in a row of 12-14 hour workdays, during which you are constantly working (i.e. no chatting with co-workers, cleaning your desk, or whatever). Now think about all the errands you would run, the emails you’d answer, the LiveJournal posts you’d make… yeah.

During earnings season, I often miss important emails or forget to respond to things. I haven’t read anything on LJ in weeks. Sometimes I think I should set up auto-responder with a vacation notice, but that seems a little much.

I do like a lot of things about this work. The pay is pretty good. I work from home and choose how many calls I want to work. One of my biggest frustrations with the work is that the difficulty of individual calls varies a lot. Some transcript writers are terrific, but others are terrible, and their skill level makes a huge difference for me. Also, I have to listen to some seriously slimy corporate executives sometimes, which is really depressing.

Anyway. So that’s where I am. This upcoming week is the end of the Apr 15 earnings season, where call volumes taper off. So I’ll be frantically trying to catch up on email stuff and get ready for WisCon.

2 thoughts on “Why I vanish four times a year

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