Very simply put, there are two kinds of people: those who can withstand the stress of dealing with the uncertainty of income (thanks to slow-paying clients) and minimum social interaction and others who find solace in a predictable and secure work environment. In fact, there is nothing wrong in choosing either, as long as you are at ease and satisfied. But, if you are a freelancer and want to make a comeback into the nine-to-five world after whatever number of year(s) of freelancing, let us tell you that that this switch will be only as easy as you make it to be. For starters, accept your decision and stop ruminating about everything you are leaving behind.
It takes time
Anybody who is thrown out of their comfort zone is going to find it difficult to land on their feet. So, don’t be surprised when you find yourself grappling with the newfound space or lack of it thereof. Yes, you did work from bed or a library; you might as well have attended conference calls whilst you were simultaneously busy arranging your armoir, what then?
Change was imminent; you should have known, no? Have faith and believe that it will work out as you had expected it to. Remind yourself that you need to work harder to fit in this puzzle. If it helps, carry something to work like a chair cushion which could still make you feel home? Besides, since you are now surrounded by people and their constant chatter and buzz, cancel out this noise with a good set of headphones and comforting music. It helps. Promise.
You woke up, prepared your breakfast, read newspaper then your emails; worked an hour before taking a bath; ate lunch and went for grocery shopping; got back, took a nap before finally resuming work etc. You were accustomed to your style of working which perhaps also changed every other week? But when it comes showing up at office, you have to function a certain way? So, if you do function better during the day then don’t schedule or participate in meeting at that time unless urgent. Don’t allow colleagues to show up at your station randomly just because they are habituated to doing so. Learn to say ‘no’ and show up as disciplined as you were when you worked from within the comforts of your home.
As a freelancer you either charge client(s) on a per project basis or by the hour and accordingly you are given deliverables. You had to work only on the specifics and nothing else. However, since you are now a full-timer you no longer work under the same terms and conditions. Your roles and responsibilities will often overlap, addition and deletion will keep happening; you might as well have to fill-up for your colleague or take it upon yourself to finish the unfinished work. It will be chaotic in the beginning, but things will fall in place. Over a period of time, if feel you are crumbling under mounting stress of this new-found life then speak to your manager. Together, find ways to help you get acclimatized to the new set of expectations.
Shift in perspective
It will be difficult to fathom that you no longer can work with the flexibility that freelancing gave you or that you can’t snuggle by the window on a chair and enjoy a piping hot cup of tea. You will miss your spot and being your own boss if that was what your dream all along. There will be days when you will be pushing your limits and yearn for the long lost freedom, but is there any point regretting having chosen different path now?
Stop lamenting. Look at the bright side: a fixed ‘pay day, for instance, or having to meet new people and re-building ties. Get talking to people and find out more about the office and the who’s who in your department. The more interest you take in your work, the easier it will be.
Put your best foot forward
When you do enter the new realm of work, employers will view you differently and not necessarily negatively. “I agree”, says Mayur Porwal, Growthhacker, Eli India. He adds, “The more you worry about what they think of you, the worse this transition will get. Focus on the ‘positives’ and how you can pedal forward by leveraging them. You have worked with a variety of clients and processes and also delivered to your potential. Highlight your achievements and deliver to their expectations rather than assuming that the world looks at you as a failed entrepreneur. That’s not for anyone to judge even if you didn’t make ends meet, isn’t it?”
Whilst you are busy adapting to the office life, don’t forget to stay organised in your personal life. You will surprise how quickly you have learnt to maneuver your way in and out of situations, both at work and home front.