Freelance to full-time: how to prepare
September 15, 2016 3:07 PM   Subscribe

After finishing my master's this summer, I'm returning to full-time employment in a couple of weeks. The problem is that I've been freelancing for nearly a decade and haven't worked on-site regularly in almost four years. What should I be doing now to prepare for such a major change in my work situation?

All of the things I hate about freelance -- the solitude, the absence of a dependable routine, the lack of a regular paycheck -- are things that I've gotten very used to. The question is not about the value of freelance versus full-time (there's a previous thread about that). I'm positive I want to return to full-time work, and this job is a great opportunity to do that. Rather, how do I adapt to a permanent, 9 to 6-type office role after being a freelance free spirit for so long? I want to know everything: how to deal with coworkers close by, how to manage a strict schedule, what to do with my financial windfall, how to get out of PJs in the morning.
posted by lunalaguna to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Be mentally prepared to catch colds and other upper respiratory infections from your colleagues.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:02 PM on September 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Relevant previous threads here and here.
posted by delight at 4:08 PM on September 15, 2016

Do you know that you will be going to the office every day? Is this a clock-in type schedule where every employee works the same hours? There are lots of professional jobs that look a lot like freelance in terms of schedule.

The biggest thing is to evaluate the how you're going to handle things that you previously did "off hours". Trips to the grocery take an extra half an hour if you going during a rush (parking, waiting to get through the aisle, the check-out). Will you need to take a day off if you need a repair person to come to the house?

The other thing is professional attire every day. It's a bother.
posted by 26.2 at 4:10 PM on September 15, 2016

Response by poster: I saw the previous threads, but the only output there was "lunch breaks" or the value conversations I mentioned. I'm really looking for something more specific around social changes, financial changes, and motivation or guidance on how to adjust my usual non-routine.

To answer 26.2, I will be going into an office every day, with little chance to telecommute regularly, at least at first. There's no clocking in, but the office hours are pretty regular.
posted by lunalaguna at 5:26 PM on September 15, 2016

Depending on the office, be prepared for a surprising amount of out-loud conservative echo-chambering. The last office job I had was thick was this, especially on the development floor. Sometimes it was like sitting in the Fox News studio.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:04 PM on September 15, 2016

Start managing your sleep schedule now and think about what you want your morning routine to be like. What will you eat and drink? Will you bring or buy lunch? Meet a friend to work out in the AM (this might be a trick to get out of pajamas)?

Do a dry run of your commute during the time you will actually be bussing/driving/biking so you know how long it really takes.
posted by sideofwry at 7:12 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is really advice to anyone changing jobs, but just be prepared to be kinda stressed and tired for a few weeks while you adjust to your routine. I say that because it helps me going into potentially stressful situations knowing that it might be rough and that it will get better and I will get used to it.

I also agree that you should practice your sleep schedule and morning routine now so you get used to it, and dry run the commute at least once.

When you plan your meals for the day, don't forget to plan snacks!

It sounds like you're in an office where there is no firm time to arrive...I recommend you pick an early-ish time and tell yourself that you *do* actually need to be there then. When you've been there longer you can vary your routine a bit, but it really helps to be there bright and early in the beginning to make a good impression.
posted by radioamy at 8:24 PM on September 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was you last year. One year into my 9-to-5, the best thing I'm able to do consistently is to lay out everything I need the night before: all my clothes are ready to go, and my wallet, watch, keys, and headphones go right next to the door. This prevents me from having to any deciding or real thinking in the morning, and helps to make getting into the office as frictionless as possible.

(I'm still tired though. Sorry!)
posted by Zephyrial at 5:23 AM on September 19, 2016

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