Today marks six months since I started back in the world of 9-to-5.
Yes, the time has flown.
Yes, it’s been an adjustment.
Yes, sometimes I can’t believe that I’ve gone back.
Yet, here I am, hitting quite a milestone and completely committed to a new role in a new industry. If you read my recent article on Psychology Today, you’ll know I still have mad respect for freelancers. And I have mad respect for 9-to-5ers who become freelancers and freelancers who become 9-to-5ers. As I’m someone who has gone back and forth between the two, this is what has hit me during my second round of office-bound work.
Getting used to a lot of different personalities: When you work alone nearly every day for more than two years, you become quite independent and set in your ways. Which is to say you sort of turn into Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining. Going from an office of one to an office of hundreds is like boarding a plane in Qatar and landing in Siberian winter. It takes adjusting. It takes caffeine. It takes headphones.
But I’ve surprised myself. It was way easier than I thought to build rapport with people at my company. It’s still a challenge some days to manage other peoples’ thoughts, opinions and egos when mine are so strong. But, being around other people isn’t so bad. In fact, I kind of miss them when I occasionally work from home.
Knowing I still get paid no matter how hard I work that day: This one is huge and not something I take advantage of. Like my Psych Today post says, freelancers spend a lot of time working because they have to. It’s not a matter of not having enough money to buy that $500 jacket. It’s not having enough money to eat.
This isn’t to say I’ve ramped down my work ethic. I work for someone with an incredible commitment to the job who expects a lot. I definitely still work hard, but I think I work a lot smarter.
Learning better organization and project management: I didn’t use Outlook or Excel in my freelance life. And I should have. I still feel completely overwhelmed some days, but I now have a better handle on what I have to work on when. I’ve also relearned the art of outlining and working on portions of projects instead of the whole thing. As a journalist and writer, I’ve worked on assignments, not projects. Everything was on a “per” basis, not a whole ongoing campaign or program. Now project management is part of my daily duties.
Honing the skills I already have while learning others: My role requires finding the right people to talk to, researching and getting information and pulling it all together into something cohesive. I also get to blog several times a week. But the type of writing I do is so different. Marketing copy is a whole new ball game for me, and learning it is hard when you come from a just-the-facts background. I am humbly learning a lot.
Have you returned to the 9-to-5 after freelancing or running your own business? What have you learned, regretted, appreciated, etc.?
Courtesy of Martin Cathrae