What I’ve Learned From Returning To A Full-Time Office Job

returning to a full time job

Since the beginning of this year, I’ve been working a full time, temporary contract for a corporate to help pay the bills. Let’s face it, freelancing has its ups and downs and the end of 2018 was a bit of a downer. By which I mean I wasn’t really making enough money. So, when this contract popped up I snapped it up.

Well, that’s not technically true. I almost said no, spoke to the recruiting agency and asked for the weekend to mull it over before saying yes. I’m glad I did say yes in the end, though.

Working full time again has afforded me the opportunity to pay my fair share and to stash some away to ~hopefully~ invest back into the business when the contract is up. But going back to the traditional 9-5, working in the same office day in and day out has taught me a thing or two.

How easy it is to slip back into the “working for the weekend” mentality

I don’t hate the job. It’s not ideal, but it’s manageable and as I say, is helping to pay the bills. However, I’ve well and truly slipped back into working for the weekend. I’ve always looked forward to the weekends, even when self-employed full time, but I ~really~ look forward to them now. Especially the ones where I have no plans and can do as little as possible to recover from the week. Speaking of which…

It’s exhausting to be back working “normal” hours

Lol woe is me complaining about the 9-5 (well, 8-4:30) when shift workers have it much worse. But when you work for yourself, you can work your most productive and awake hours. Sometimes that can be even more hours than an office job, sometimes it’s less. But that lack of flexibility or choice on the number of hours you do in any given day is taking its toll.

As is the goddamn awful lighting that offices have. It’s enough to make you want to take a nap, am I right?!

…but I do love being in a team again

When you work for yourself, you spend most of your time well…by yourself. It comes with the territory. Sure, there are networking events and client meetings to be had, but it’s not the same as being a part of a team.

I really lucked out with this role that there’s a great team that comes with it. Being able to have a laugh, as well as a vent when it’s needed, has been a welcome addition. As wanky as it sounds, I really do need to “find my tribe” as a solo business owner when I am unleashed back into the world again.

I’m (considerably) less stressed about money

Having a proper stable income (and hello weekly payslips!) has been a huge help to my stress levels. Before Christmas, I was struggling with how little money I had, and now it’s nice to be able to pick up the bill every once in a while and pay for the groceries without worrying about my bank balance.

Oh, and of course treat myself occasionally to new clothes, and to actually be able to take advantage of the 48478 offers that The Body Shop have going at any given time.

…however, my health isn’t at its best

Why yes I am that cliche that cannot handle balancing work and my fitness. I don’t get to the gym as often as I’d like to, and I’m also eating more convenience foods because it’s just one less thing to think about, y’know?

I am trying to ensure I get at least 30 minutes exercise a day and prep my own food, but by about Wed/Thurs I just give up because looking after yourself is HARD.

OH and on a related point – working in an office makes it so damn easy to catch illnesses. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to get that cold/flu/virus that your teammate has so kindly handed over to you.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned about working in an office again though is how important it is to separate yourself from work in the evenings and weekends. It’s been pretty easy with this role because it’s so far removed from my business, but I think it’s something that everyone struggles with sometimes.

I have about 5 weeks left of the contract, and I’m in two minds about how I feel. Yes, I will be excited to spend more time on my business again, but I’ll miss the team and the stability of it all.

Comments

  1. Amy McDonnell

    I admire your honesty about what it’s like to work in an office. It can be a bit shit, but financial security sometimes outweighs the appeal of freelance work.

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      Author
      Cat

      Thank you! Yes definitely – for me it’s key to have a balance because the lack of finance was stressing me out so much. It’s definitely not a goodbye to freelance (especially as I’m still doing projects for clients!), it’s just a “reduced service” for now!

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