Here’s your sure guide to being the perfect employee

What boss doesn’t want a perfect employee? You might be saying to yourself that you can never achieve perfection. Well, you’re wrong you can and you will by the end of this piece. Achieving the perfect employee status is not an overnight affair. It’s a combination of small things over a period of time. You need to remember that the main reason your employer hired you in the first place is to make things easier for them, solve their problems. If they could do it by themselves, you wouldn’t be there.

Think of it as a business and you as an asset, if you are an asset that’s not making any profit and still racking up maintenance costs, would you keep you around? So if he’s paying you and you’re not contributing anything then you are more of a liability than an asset, call it an extra expense. You do not want to be replaceable. So to help you out with that, here are a few tips on how to direct the spotlight in your directions.

  1. Go the extra mile.

This might mean doing extra work, coming in an hour earlier or putting in an extra hour after work and the likes. It doesn’t mean that you have to do this every day, it could be a few days a week or when there’s some really heavy workload. And coming in doesn’t translate to you coming in earlier or staying later but getting nothing done, just sitting there surfing the web and doing your own things. That will only serve to waste your time and energy, and by extension the company’s.

Going the extra mile might also be you being proactive, take initiative. When you think of an idea that might solve a problem or improve an area at work, do some research and present it to the boss. This is unsolicited advice so you need to prepare well and be informed so that you don’t waste the boss’ time. It might not be the best at times but if it’s good and your employer sees your point he/she might just take you up on it. You might even get to steer the project since it was your idea.

  1. Take one for the team.

Sometimes at work we need to get our hands dirty, for the lack of a better word. There are those tasks outside our daily routines that need someone to handle and which nobody wants to do. You could be a sport once in a while and offer to do it instead of having the usual, I did it last time, it’s your turn, conversation with the team. Believe me it’s noticed, the boss might not say anything but they will have taken note. It could be that on a certain holiday/weekend there is something that needs to be done so they need someone to come to the office for a few hours. Grab the chance.

  1. Be presentable

Looks speak volumes, you might not say a word but how you dress says a lot about yourself. It might say you are meticulous and pay attention to detail, or that you don’t care. Keeping up with fashion or simply looking sharp might suggest you are well informed and pay attention to detail. It gives the impression that you are well up to date with the industry trends. Now, don’t get me wrong this doesn’t mean you go all out and spend on designer clothes, but if you can afford it hey, just ensure you keep it professional and presentable. It might be a subtle indicator but it’s an important one.

  1. The crowd is not always right

Sometimes being the ugly duckling is actually a good thing. So the team has formed a bad habit that has been inculcated in the company’s culture, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. Learn to stand your ground. If you feel like it’s not right then you don’t have to go along with it. The boss will appreciate your self-will.

  1. Establish your expertise.

Find one thing that you are good at and work on that. You know that one thing that when people want to get done there’s no question about who will do it? No one even has to say it, it’s just a known fact. In as much as multi-talented people are praised the old saying as cliché as it is it’s still true, the one that talks about being a jack of all trades but a master of none. Granted a few have been able to master and do excel in various fields but if you can’t hack it, don’t force it.

  1. Be flexible

Above I mentioned picking a field and being good at it, don’t mistake the point to mean that you have to be rigid. Once in a while you might need to step out of your comfort zone/job description and do something else. Go at it with an open mind, you might find that you like, and are actually good at the new task.

Here’s where I explain how you become perfect. Now when I said perfect employee I didn’t mean it in the sense that you do not error, but I mean in the sense that you are so good that even when you error those mistakes are easily overlooked, hence the perfection. In your effort to achieve the above you will have magnified your bright spots and thrown shade on your weak ones. Try it.

If You Want to Improve and Polish Your Grammar for Transcription, Start Here.

For some, grammar comes easy, for others you have to work for it. Some grammar mistakes are so common that at times people often don’t notice that they made a mistake. This is because it has been repeated so many times that it’s almost become a norm, acceptable. Technology hasn’t made it any easier. The need to shorten your words so as to write more words in a given space and period of time, has had people coming up with the most ridiculous acronyms. The repeated use of such words has seen them embedded in our minds and at our fingertips. Transcription needs your grammar to be spot on and that being said clients expect transcribers never to compromise in quality no matter what. Below we are going to look at some of the most common mistakes that people make in grammar during transcription and how to correctly use them.

  1. Homophones

This is a group of words that cannot be exhausted in one sitting. We would need several articles just looking at these. However we are going to look at just a few to help us get the point. First a definition. Homophones are words that sound the same when pronounced but have different meanings and/or spelling.

  • Their, they’re, there

Their: This refers to possession e.g. Their house was robbed last night. When you think of this word think ‘belong to.’

They’re: This is the contracted form of they are e.g. They’re early for the meeting. The apostrophe marks the eliminated letter ‘a’.

There: This refers to a place e.g. She is seated over there. It can also be used in the following context; There are many ways to get to town.

  • There’s, theirs.

There’s: This is the contracted form of there is e.g. There’s a bug on my bed.

Theirs: This refers to the third person plural possessive pronoun e.g. The books that were on the table were theirs.

  • This and these.

This: Is singular. This book is mine.

These: Plural. These books are mine.

  • Here and hear.

Here: This is an adverb referring to a place or position. e.g. I want you to sit here.

Hear: This is a verb referring to the act of perceiving a sound e.g. I hear my neighbors singing every morning.

  • Who’s, whose

Who’s: This is the contracted form of who is e.g. Who’s in the shower?

Whose: This refers to possession, e.g. Whose book is this?

  • To, too, two

To: This is a preposition e.g. I went to bed at 9.

Too: Refers to ‘also’ e.g. I too have such a bag.

Two: Refers to a sequence/number as in one, two

  • Weather, whether

Weather: This is a noun to climate. How is the weather today?

It can also be used as a verb to mean endurance e.g. He will weather the storm.

Whether: This a conjunction and a synonym of ‘if’. E.g. I’m not sure whether to attend the conference or not.

  • Lose and loose

Lose: In relation to suffering a loss, the past tense form of it.

E.g. I did lose my shoe in the riot.

Loose: This is the opposite of tight.

E.g. The knot is loose, it might not hold.

  1. Punctuation

Apostrophe: This can change the meaning of a word entirely when it is added or removed, for instance on the words ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. The first one is a contraction of the words it is and the latter refers to possession. E.g. It’s sad that the cat bit its own tail.

Comma: These can bring out a variety of meanings depending on how they are used. For instance let’s look at this same sentence punctuated differently.

Let’s eat, mother.

Let’s eat mother.

  1. Nouns

The rule of thumb dictates that one should capitalize the first letter of proper nouns, e.g. names of people, institutions and the likes. But for someone whose grammar is a bit off they might get some things mixed up.

For instance when talking about say a library or an airport, when the name of the library/airport is mentioned you capitalize the first letters but when it’s not, don’t. What do I mean? Let’s try out a few examples.

I passed by the library on my way home.

I’m on my way to the airport.

And now…

I passed by Margaret Thatcher Library on my way home.

I’m on my way to Heathrow Airport.

  1. Commonly Confused Words
  • A lot vs. a lot: A lot (two separate words) is the correct grammar. Avoid using alot.

E.g. A lot of students don’t like exams.

  • All together vs. altogether: All together means collectively while altogether means completely.

E.g.      Put the plates all together in the sink.

I’m altogether worn out.

  • All right vs. alright: All right means okay, safe, good etc while alright is the informal version of all right. Avoid using alright in your formal grammar.

E.g. His writing is all right.

  • I’m vs. am: I’m, which is the contracted version of ‘I am’, is the correct spelling.

E.g. I’m going to bed.

  • Ok vs. okay: Okay is the most preferred in formal editing works.

E.g. In regards to the meeting Wednesday would be okay for me.

  • Yeah vs. yah: Yeah is the accepted version.

E.g. Yeah, I saw him yesterday.

  • All over sudden: These are three different words not one.

E.g. All of a sudden the clouds turned dark.

  • Favor/favour, color/colour and neighbor/neighbour: The Difference is the additional ‘u’. The words without the ‘u’ are American spelling and the one with is British spelling.
  • Maybe, maybe: Maybe means perhaps, whereas when you think of may be think of ‘might be’.

E.g.      Maybe I should skip the party.

It may be that she fell sick that’s why she didn’t come.

  • Already, all ready: Already refers to time i.e. previously while all ready means being prepared.

E.g.      They already cleaned the house.

We are all ready to go now.

  • Everyone every one: Everyone refers to everybody every one on the other hand refers to each one in a group.

E.g.      Everyone must have breakfast.

The principle thanked every one of the parents who came to the general meeting.

These are just but a few, as mentioned before the list is endless and cannot be exhausted in one post but more post will follow up with more. Feel free to give your suggestion/comments below on the same.

5 tips to help you handle difficult transcription audios.

Just about every transcriber I know has encountered one of these audios. They drive you crazy and take longer than usual to finish. An unclear audio could be as a result of many factors. There might have been a lot of background noise, there is some interference with the recording material e.g. static, the connection was bad (the likes of phone and Skype interviews), audios with heavy industry-specific terminology, the speakers have heavy accents or the speakers were not loud enough etc. These can be really tricky to transcribe. For the experienced transcribers you may have realized that these ‘bad’ audios seem to pay a lot (it’s because they know how tough it will be for you to get these transcripts right thus the incentive). Good news is there are a few things you can do to handle such audios.

  1. Clear up the background noise. Some transcription softwares such as Express Scribe have the option of clearing out background noise. Go to the Express tool bar, click file go to special audio processes and click on background noise reduction. For some files you will have to do this more than once to clear it up (not that it will be super clear now) but it helps.
  1. Boost the volume. If the volume is too low and increasing the volume to max on the Express software does not help follow the same process as above but now click on the second option that reads extra volume boost, right below background noise reduction. You can repeat this as many times as you would like to get the desired volume.
  1. Speed up the audio. Sometimes the speaker is inaudible but if you speed up the audio you might actually get to hear what they are saying. Do this after you are done typing out the audio and you are doing a once over. You might actually get to hear some of the words you missed before.
  1. DO NOT slow down the audio. As crazy as this might seem slowing down the audio might actually make it harder for you to hear the speaker. Imagine this, the speaker was talking at normal speed (normal is not so normal to everyone some actually sound like they are rapping) so when you slow down the audio it might sound like they are slurring. Keep it at 100 or speed it up.
  1. Pay attention to what they are saying. If you are actually following the conversation in the audio you are more likely to get it right. This is because when you are paying attention there are those words or phrases that you might have misheard but since you know the topic of discussion you have a clue as to what might have been said. Now don’t get me wrong that does not mean that you type out what you think you heard but paying attention to a conversation helps you know where the conversation is going.

All in all if you are not able to handle such audios I would advise against doing them just because they pay a lot. You would rather reject such than take them up do shoddy work and end up with bad reviews/reputations. Reputation is of utmost importance in this field and nothing speaks more to it than your previous work.