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You’ve been your own boss for a long time. You either worked as a freelancer with your own website, taking on clients when you needed to, and presenting a fully polished portfolio to make sure the world knew of your services. Or you owned your own business, with more of a physical stock or service to sell! No matter the capacity in which you were self employed, you didn’t work under anyone else, and you’ve forgotten what it’s like to do so.
But if a time comes in your career, when you need to leave your self employment behind and head back to work in someone else’s office or shop, you’ll need to know how to adjust. After all, there’s a whole world of difference in working for yourself and being dictated to on a daily basis.
In the interest of smoothing a transition like this as much as possible, we’ve put together a few tips you might find useful. It’s not impossible to return to the traditional 9 to 5 after you’ve tasted a bit of career freedom, but it’s not a change you can just step into!
It’s very easy to get in touch with the people you’re going to be working with, well ahead of time. If you know you’re going to be joining another company in 6 weeks time, you’ve got a month and a half to make some connections, and to make the workplace a lot more comfortable when you arrive. It doesn’t even have to take a lot of work on your part!
Social media, even the professional kind, has made networking so much easier. Sites such as LinkedIn allow you to research who works for who, so tap in the name of your new employer. Whilst you’re reading through their page, and popping a quick follow into your newsfeed, you can discover how many of their employees have profiles on the platform as well. You can message then and there, or you can take their email down and turn your inbox into a hive of activity.
Be tactful, but be direct at the same time. Introduce yourself, and tell them a little bit about who you are. Then ask them for the same kind of details; it’s an easy way to make yourself likable! Tell them you want to get to know the job, and that you’re looking forward to doing your best – your purpose should be upfront, so your future colleague knows you’re an honest person. Ask your new colleague about the job. Ask them what they like about working there, and what they find challenging. Ask them who’s worth knowing. Ask them what facilities are on site – even just one connection will bring a ton of information your way!
And your legal responsibilities – there’s quite a few of them now you’re working for someone else. Being self employed, and working as your own boss, is a very different world of rules and regulations; there’s a little more freedom with how you work, and what you’re allowed to do. If you’ve taken on employees in the past, you know what it’s like to be in charge of administering those rules!
But now you’re on the other end of the scale, and you might need a reminder or two. You’re someone else’s employee, and there’s some things you’re allowed to expect from your new boss. You’re allowed a fair wage, you’re allowed regular payment, you’re allowed a safe environment to work in, and you’re definitely allowed to have days off when you need them.
There’s always an HR department to go to when you have something to complain about, even if an employer tries to hide them. And remember, employment attorneys dedicated to representing their clients are out there!
This is probably something you’re concerned about the most. When you worked for yourself, on products and services of your own, you got to keep the majority of the profit you raked in. You got to set your own prices, and you were the one who decided on the pay cuts and pay rises. You knew what you made, you knew your targets, and it made you happy to have this kind of power over your own livelihood.
But now, all that power is in someone else’s hand, and your income might suffer because of it. So let’s not play down the effects of having your wages taken out of your hands, with all the taxes and benefit costs weighing heavily on how much you take home at the end of the day as well. Releasing the control over the cash flow into your bank account – to someone unrelated and impersonal to you – is incredibly hard to get on board with.
Invoicing your customers, taking payments, balancing the books etc., are all tasks that only those in the know get to perform. An accountant is high up on the food chain, even if they’re an outsourced position. And that’s a height you might not see again. But don’t let yourself despair too much; you still have the ability to decide where the money goes, and whether it’s being backed up by a side hustle or two. Hold on to those ideas for the time being.
A lot of people who had to move back into working for someone else, after taking the step to create their own careers out of nothing, don’t get on with this kind of working environment. But the same doesn’t have to apply to you.
So, of course you can readjust, as long as you go into your new job with an open mind and a willingness to make it work. Know your rights, know your responsibilities, and feel free to keep your head down whilst you take that step back. It’s hard to relinquish control, but it’s not impossible!