Ah, the joys and perils of freelancing. On one hand, you have creative freedom and can make your own hours, sleep until noon if you want and work out of coffee shops.
On the other hand, the line between work and play is often blurred when you work around the clock, work with current clients and simultaneously market yourself to potential new ones, follow up with invoices, and burn the midnight oil at times.
Sure, there are pluses and minuses but if you decide to leap from the freelance world into a full-time day job, there are a few major adjustments in store for you. Here’s how to handle them…
1. Learn to fit in. For starters, as a freelancer your calling card is what makes you stand out. Distinguishable. Downright marketable! While you’re building your brand, you’re focused on what makes you a super star and simply stated, that’s the best way to sell your services.
Alas, my friend, if you jaunt into the full-time world, you’re most likely immersed into a team-oriented environment where you not only want to look good, you want your colleagues to look good, too. You’re in this together.
Realize this from the beginning and acknowledge the reason why you were hired is because you’re already a pro. Learn to fit in at first by taking stock of the environment, team dynamics, and such.
The best way for you to get ahead is to work diligently but also cohesively. (We’re not saying you don’t work well with others as a freelancer, but in a collaborative environment as a full-timer, the dynamics change.)
2. Get polished. The transition from sweats in a coffee shop to work outfits may be an adjustment in itself. Depending on your environment such as having a more formal vibe, your closet and footwear may need a slight over haul.
So may your language. Again, depending on how corporate your environment is, you may find jargon like “running it up the flapole” trickle back into your vocabulary. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
3. Get accustomed to the daily grind. Be on time. We’re not saying you’re not on time when you’re a freelancer because you know meetings and deadlines like the best of ’em, but the daily commute may be a shock to one’s system.
If you previously woke up at 8 a.m. and immediately started blogging from your kitchen table and now all of the sudden your alarm blares at 6 a.m. that alone could be a shocker. Then you race into the shower and then the bus/train/car for a 45 minute jaunt, that could be quite a change, too. Sitting at a desk all day is an adjustment as well and so is being in new environment and interacting with many people.
The adjustment may be easier if you do a dry run of the commute before work actually commences and gives your body time to adjust as well. Start waking up earlier, going to bed earlier, and prepping your body for the lifestyle change.
Overall, it may take a few weeks — if not months — to adjust so you can get through by focusing on the steady pay check, benefits, and new opportunities you’re reaping as a result of your decision.