Monday, August 6, 2012

Why I went back to the office

As you may have seen on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I started a full-time job last week. I haven't really given an update on my freelance adventure since April, but soon after that update—well, to be honest, even before that post—it was evident that I wasn't happy being a freelancer. I was happy with the flexible schedule and with the ability to choose my own projects, but I didn't feel like I was furthering my career goals. I'd always been drawn to the office environment, imagining myself in a bustling workplace, getting stuff done. In sixth grade, I dressed up as a businesswoman for Halloween (mom's suit, dad's briefcase).

Even after I'd made my decision, I wanted to see the one-year of freelancing through. The plan was to begin looking for a job when the year was up in August, but I saw a very enticing job posting in May, and I knew I'd regret it forever if I didn't apply. So I went for it. I didn't get the job I applied for, but we started a really interesting conversation that led to a new position, which I started last week.

There were a lot of factors that influenced my decision to go back to 9-to-5 work, but here are a few of the big ones.

Coworkers with common goals
Sure, I've bemoaned all types of annoying coworkers before, but I missed my downers and oddballs. Especially in my communications work, my piece of the project was usually just that—a piece. It was passed to me with clear directions (though sometimes open-ended), and it was handed back when complete, never to be seen by me again. I was part of the work, but not part of the team. And for me, that made it a little less fun. I yearned for true collaboration, for differing opinions, for seeing things through from conception through the end.

After-work hours
One of my favorite things about graduating from school and hitting the working world was getting off of work and having the rest of the evening to myself. No homework. No required reading. Being a freelancer put a damper on my me-time, or at least having regular hours. Though I'm on the East Coast, my "work hours" were still more aligned to West Coast time just because that's where my clients were. This did give me some before-work time to myself, but also meant I was sometimes doing phone meetings after dinner.

Stability and once-a-year taxes
Though I've cried and moaned every April as I've tackled taxes, I never knew how easy I had it as a regular employee. If your tax prep involves waiting for your W-2s and other statements to come each January, consider yourself lucky. A regular paycheck doesn't hurt, either, especially as we save for a house and I continue driving my 11-year-old car into the ground (I'd like to be able to pay cash when it comes time to replace it, and that kind of savings takes pre-planning).

I have plenty more to share about my decision and all the other considerations that led up to it, but I'll spare you today and spread it out over the next few weeks. As with before, I won't be discussing the details of my day job here. On the plus side, you'll be getting more outfit updates on the Facebook page (if you're into that kind of thing).

10 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new position! Honestly, I think some people just aren't meant to be full-time freelancers. I can't stand being awake and alone for that many hours each day, and I completely agree about need to be "part of the team". At least now you know your preference, but you also know that you can rustle up business on your own if needed. Cheers to experimenting and LEARNING!

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    1. SO TRUE! I am definitely one of those people. It was definitely an interesting year, and though it's over, I wouldn't have given up that experience for the world. Plus, if I had taken a job right after moving, I wouldn't have been free to take advantage of the opportunity that led to my current job. Funny how things work out. :)

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  2. Congratulations on your new job!

    As an office worker, it's very easy for me to romanticize the life of a free-lancer. Thank you for sharing your experiences so honestly.

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    1. Thanks, Alex!

      Oh trust me, I know how easy it is to romanticize freelancing. How do you think I got into it in the first place? But in the end, there are pros and cons to every kind of employment, and each person's personality, work style and goals must be taken into consideration. I still like the "idea" of freelancing, I just know now that in practice, it doesn't work for me at this point.

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  3. I enjoyed seeing the new outfit posts.

    I haven't paid cash for a car yet. My friend did. It sounds like a fun thing to do.

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  4. A little belated, but congrats on the new job! It's really interesting to hear your thought process on it. I'm going into my third year of working from home (though not freelancing), and while I miss having an office to go to sometimes, the home office suits me really well - but I can definitely see how all those areas would influence your decision. Plus you can always do a little freelancing on top of regular work :)

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  5. Congratulations on your new job! You should be proud of yourself for trying out freelancing for a year. I'm glad you're being true to yourself and the kind of work environment you want.

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  6. congrats!!! i didn't realize how unhappy you were. i'm sorry :( it's no fun to feel "stuck." i hope you enjoy your new job and what it has to offer and wherever it leads you!

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  7. It's always nice to have a new environment especially when you don't like your work. When I started working in Australia, I hired office removals in Perth to ease my stress.

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