Any freelancer will tell you that their diet is often susceptible to seasonal bouts of feast or famine. And while some revel in the responsibility of providing a regular life with an irregular income, others may begin to prefer the perks of 9-5. So, when you decide it’s time to trade the couch for the cubicle, try these transitioning tips.
- Be realistic
It’s going to take some time to adjust to your new in-house hours. And whether you have a freelance or full-time background, your employer will be aware of that, but you have to recognize it too. Don’t expect to be moving mountains within the first few weeks that you’re getting to know the company, products, co-workers and goals. You’ll be tempted to want to dive right in—and you should be motivated, but when your time is no longer your own, it’s time for some lessons in time management. Start each day with a list of priorities, and stick to each task. It will make it a lot easier to organize your hours and hit your deadlines.
- Find your voice
This may not paint the prettiest of pictures, but envision this: You’re in a meeting and a project that you’ve successfully managed before in a consultant capacity is being discussed. Now instead of having the floor and mapping out the strategy, another consultant is telling you what to do. Your inner voice may be shouting for you to stand up and take action, but resist the impulse! Aside from avoiding any toe stepping, you want to figure out the right approach to getting yourself heard. Observe! Watch and take note of how other employees around you bring their ideas to the higher-ups and try that instead. When you feel as though you’ve built solid work relationships, your voice will eventually get a lot louder.
- Remember, you’re not in prison
Although some days it may feel like you’re manacled to man, you’re not in a prison. And even though you’ve traded in being your own boss to having one, he or she isn’t your warden. Remember your worth—because you were hired to be a part of their corporate family for a reason. You’ll be expected to work set hours, but its up to you to set mutually beneficial boundaries. Put in an honesty day’s work for an honest pay and if you don’t forget your worth- your employers won’t either.
- Play nice
The office is prime spotting ground for perusing different breeds of human— some may get along well with others, while some may prove hostile. You’re not going to mesh with every personality-type. And that’s okay, but you need to be able to (for a lack of a better term), fake it. Respect in the workplace is just as important as anywhere else. So keep your cool when you feel someone getting you hot under the collar, confrontation doesn’t belong in the conference room. If you’re having a serious issue with someone or something—that’s what human resources is for.
- Have a drink
Freelancers and consultants tend to take steps to simply get the job done rather than find ways to make friends on the job. Yet as a full-time employee, you’d be surprised how much more relationships matter when you’re trying to get the job done. You don’t have to be BFFs with your co-workers, but don’t avoid after work drinks, office drinks or the water cooler like they’re the productivity plague. Get to know the people you spend 8 hours a day with, you never know what collaboration opportunities you may uncover to expedite or enhance a project.
Sure, accepting a steady paycheck may be easier than embracing the changes that earn it, but you’ll never know if you made the right move unless you decide to give it a try.