••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Work Lives
5 Tips When You're Going From Freelance to Full Time
Essential Work Survival Tools
Ah, freelancing. Long touted as “the dream” that most only aspired to, in recent years technology has made freelancing not just common, but a fad. In the U.S. alone, professionals have flocked to the freelancing world to the tune of 57 million freelancers (both full- and part-time) by 2019 alone.
The truth is, though, not everyone is cut out to be self-employed. Whether it’s personal preferences, specific circumstances, or the fact that we’re operating in unprecedentedly difficult economic times, many who have experimented with the freelance life are now finding that the good ol’ 9-to-5 grind is preferable.
If you’re amongst the ranks of those returning to full-time employment, here are some tips to help you with your reentry to a more stable work life.
1. Make Sure to Hone Your Job Hunt Toolkit
You saw this coming, right? It’s cliché but crucial. If you don’t pull together your job-hunting toolkit before job hunting, you’re liable to struggle throughout the process — especially in an economy that is actively sputtering. If you’re trying to return to full-time employment, here are a few things you’re going to want to do to grease the wheels beforehand and make the professional transition as smooth as possible:
- Plan on still working freelance while you transition: Don’t cut off your current source of income too quickly. Instead, keep that cash flowing in as much as you can as you begin applying to jobs.
- Brush up on your interview skills: Jog your interview memory, read stories about other’s more recent experiences, and generally research current tips to help you deliver a stellar first impression.
- Clean up and update your resume: Keep only relevant information, don’t undersell yourself, and stay short and concise.
- Clean the rust off of your network: Whether it’s past coworkers or current freelance connections, comb over your network — it’s your lifeline to being heard.
- Go over your online presence: Rest assured, recruiters will look you up online. Make sure everything is in tip-top shape.
By honing your toolkit now, you ensure that everything is ready to go when it comes time to impress a recruiter.
2. Remember to Set Reasonable Expectations
As you prepare to shift back to full-time work, remember to set clear and reasonable expectations for what to expect. Don’t treat the change as a panacea for your woes or a migration to the holy land. After all, chances are you got into freelance for a reason — and that reason likely didn’t paint full-time work in a great light.
With that in mind, make sure to keep your expectations in check as you go along. For instance, if you’re struggling financially as a freelancer, you may try to make a career shift into sales — and over time that could be the perfect solution to your monetary needs. However, while sales is a lucrative career, chances are funds will be tight for a while as you start your new job, and it’s good to have that expectation in place.
Additionally, don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back after submitting applications or fail to get a call after multiple interviews. Hiring slowdowns have become the new normal as the COVID-19 crisis has dragged on, and there are millions of others who are struggling along with you.
By setting clear expectations like these, you can save yourself a world of pain as you make the potentially-turbulent transition back to full-time work.
3. Acclimate to Being a Team Member Again
Once you land a new job, remember that you’re no longer your own boss. Gone are the days where you set your own schedule and work on a peer-to-peer basis with clients. Now your job is to support a larger organization and help others succeed — and that’s a good thing.
However, old habits often die hard. If you find that you’re feeling defensive or taken advantage of, slow down and take some time to remember that you’re part of a team again.
4. Maintain Perspective
Finally, never underestimate the importance of maintaining perspective throughout your transition. There are always going to be pros and cons for every work scenario. In the case of returning to full-time work, you’re consciously trading freedom and flexibility for things like a reduction in administrative tasks and greater stability in your professional career and your finances.
These have genuine positive effects that trickle through your entire life. For instance, being part of a larger organization can vastly increase your network and provide previously unavailable opportunities to climb the corporate ladder within a company. Having a stable job and a predictable income can make it easier to maintain a healthy credit score and give you access to credit cards, loans, and even approval for an apartment or mortgage that may have been elusive in the past.
5. Strive to Succeed
While it’s important to be a team player again, you can still strive to succeed and surpass the expectations of your coworkers. Just because you’ve returned to regular 9-to-5 employment again doesn’t mean you should settle for anything less than your best.
When you’re on your own, you’re typically only able to measure your personal efforts against yourself. In a workplace, though, it can be easy to blunt the edge of this achieving mentality by comparing yourself to less-driven coworkers. If you don’t want to find yourself in a Jim Halpert-esque “trapped at the same company doing the same thing for far too long” professional death spiral, then make an effort to always keep your ambitions and success in sight.
Successfully Transitioning from Freelance to Full-Time
If you’re feeling the itch to return to a regular office job, you’re not alone. However, successfully making the transition isn’t a cakewalk. It requires forethought, planning, and preparation. Even once you’ve landed a new job, you should still be careful to respect your new scenario as you adjust and acclimate to being part of a larger organization again.
While it takes some effort, it’s certainly possible. So review the tips above, chart out your course, and then prepare to leap. If you keep both eyes open throughout the process, you’ll likely find yourself much happier in your professional life once the dust settles.
© Indian Lee 9.9.20 Oregon
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