Friday, February 13, 2009

How Do You Transition to Working for Someone Else?

One thing that has caused me a great deal of grief and introspection recently, is this: what does it mean that I now have to seriously consider and pursue working for someone else, after working for myself for nearly three years?

Honestly, I've felt like admitting that I have to do this, and then pursue these types of job options, signifies a certain level of failure on my part. Several people I know have told me this isn't the case, though I take that with big grains of salt as most of them have not been self-employed. It's a huge psychological shift to have to even consider working for someone else when you don't want to. I know the people who've told me this isn't a sign of failure mean well, but since those people aren't self-employed, it doesn't feel like they really grasp the gravity of what I'm trying to convey.

At a base level, I do not want to work for a corporation again. I do not want to work for most companies. I certainly do not want to work 40 hours per week. Though, given the economy and the fierce competition for freelance jobs right now, I have to face this and do it. While I know that any FTE work I may take now isn't a lifetime contract, it still hurts and feels like a major psychological blow to be in this position.

As a business owner, I know that you have to do what needs to be done for your business. At the core of it, my business is me and I need to do what needs to be done so that I don't end up sleeping on my mom's couch. This means that while I am still pursuing freelance work, I am also starting to apply for agency and FTE work.

While I have enough cash on hand to last me a few more months, I don't want to go that far without working, because it would mean all my savings accounts would be decimated. In addition to my emergency fund, it would mean my travel, condo downpayment, and IRA funds would be nil. That isn't acceptable to me, both theoretically and psychologically.

Now, I'm sending off resumes for everything I feel my qualifications match, or almost match. I have five different versions of my resume, and multiple basic cover letters that I customize. I give good interviews and I have an impressive work history, so I feel confident in the possibility of persuading someone to give me something that is just beyond my skills or experience. Then again, I'm up against scores of people with the exact skills and experience and great resumes, so...

I feel a certain amount of optimism that I will be able to find work like what I've been doing the past few years. I certainly hope, with every fiber of my being, that I don't have to go back to administrative assistant work, if for no other reason that earning $12-15/hour feels like a major step backwards for me both professionally and monetarily. And those jobs are probably hard to come by, too...

In all, dealing with the psychological ramifications of being adrift as a freelancers are large and is difficult. It takes time to get past what you want to be doing, and accept what you have to do to survive and stay out of the soup kitchens or your mother's couch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am up against the same situation. It is very hard to come to the realization that you will not be running your own business and taking orders from some one with 1/2 the experience except the rent must be paid.