Leaving the freelance or consulting world behind? Here are a few tips for your first week on the job.
I’ve been a freelancer for upwards of 15 years. It’s been a wild ride, scary and tenuous at times, thriving and thrilling at others. I’ve written about topics I didn’t know existed, I’ve given lectures to students at colleges, I’ve edited academic textbooks, I’ve demo’d craft equipment at trade shows, I’ve blogged my butt off until it turned into a book, I contracted at Microsoft, I taught other writers. I took on whatever jobs necessary to support myself. It wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.
And I’m now embarking on a new adventure: a full-time, 9-to-5 job. If you’re in a similar situation, here are my thoughts on how to transition back to the workplace with ease:
Take time to chat with co-workers. I’m working in a small office with a staff who works closely together. I need to connect with every colleague. Take time to introduce yourself, and check the company directory to reinforce each name and role.
Familiarize yourself with the company’s policies. Do your best to onboard properly by thoroughly reviewing policies around security, social media use and conduct.
Poke around the network and server. Some corporate networks are labyrinths, so use any initial downtime to explore the network, protocols and content management systems.
Sit in on as many meetings as possible. You’ll learn so much about company culture, process and personalities if you attend meetings and just listen.
Make your space your own. Even if you just have a desk, personalize it. Load up your snack drawer, bring in your favorite mug, customize your screen saver and wipe down everything until it sparkles. You don’t know where that phone’s been.
Take breaks. Working from home, I had the luxury of rearranging my sock drawer or playing with my cat if I needed to recharge. In an office environment, hours can go by without you leaving your chair. Schedule in breaks and make sure to get up and away from your screen. Take a walk around the block and breathe in some fresh air.
Enjoy the first days. This is the honeymoon period, so try not to get too anxious about earning your keep or assuming a full workload by day three. There will be plenty of time for that down the road.
Signing off: Now that I have a full-time job, this will be my last column for The Seattle Times Jobs. I’ve enjoyed the gig immensely and loved hearing from readers when a column resonated with them. I look forward to continuing the conversation offline.