5 Ways to Ease Into a Day Job After Freelancing


Freelancing gives you the freedom to set your own hours and work at your own pace. Some people consider this the ideal situation, and after making the switch from employee to freelancer, they vow never to return to the workplace. Of course, anyone's professional situation — the amount of money coming in to keep you fed and sheltered — can change in the blink of an eye, and some of us have to get a "real" job again. Sound familiar? Then listen up! Whether you're looking for steady, predictable income, or you're making a switch because you need benefits like health care, these are the ways to ease back into a regular daytime gig with minimal stress.

1. Find a Job You're Passionate About

Freelancers enjoy a freedom unlike any other, and after years of working for yourself, it can be difficult to ease back into a routine of punching a time clock and having a boss breathing down your neck. Getting a regular day job might be a necessity and not a choice. But even if you can't change your overall circumstances, you can be choosy when it comes to accepting a position. The transition from freelancer to 9-to-5 employee will be harder if you hate what you do. On the other hand, if you find a job that excites and challenges you, it'll be easier to get up in the morning and leave your house.

2. Seek Opportunities That Offer Flexibility

Nowadays, it's not unusual to see employers advertising flexible positions. Some employers recognize the benefit of telecommuting, and they allow certain personnel to work from home or only come into the office a couple days a week. If you prefer the stability of a steady paycheck, but you want the ability to work independently, seek opportunities that provide the best of both worlds.

If telecommuting isn't an option, it'll also be easier to ease back into a regular day job if you find a position that lets you work at times when you're most productive. Maybe you perform better when able to start your workday in the late morning or the afternoon. Although a 9-to-5 work schedule is common, it's not the only option, and you'll find that many companies offer their employees a variety of schedules.

3. Split Your Time Between a Regular Day Job and Freelancing

Another option is splitting your time between a regular day job and freelancing. A regular job can provide the income stability you need, but enjoying this stability might not require a full-time gig. Rather than jump head first into the full-time grind, work a few hours with an employer and freelance for the remainder of the day to supplement your income. For this approach to work, you'll need a few regular freelance clients who can provide a steady stream of work. Easing into a day job is easier when you're only working four hours a day.

4. Pace Yourself

Successful freelancers are hard workers and they wear many hats. They spend their days working on projects, hunting for new clients, invoicing, handling client issues, and some freelancers have multiple income streams to make ends meet. It's a busy, hectic life, and it's easy to develop a pattern of always being in work-mode and constantly hustling.

Working at this pace can become a normal part of your daily routine — to the point where you forget how to work at a slower pace. As you ease back into a regular day job after years of freelancing, you may bring a few bad habits with you, such as working until you're numb, never taking a break, or thinking you have to accept every opportunity you're offered.

While you'll want to be a team player and take the initiative on your new job, you have to remember that the company's success doesn't lie on your shoulders. Pace yourself or else you'll burn out.

5. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule

Some freelancers don't start their workdays in the morning. Instead, they begin working in the late morning, afternoon, and some don't work until the evening hours. If you're a night owl and used to sleeping in, the transition from freelancer to employee is especially challenging when you have to rise early and be at a desk by 8 a.m.

This doesn't mean you have to hit the sheets by 8 p.m. after getting a regular day job, but you will need to get enough sleep to wake up on time and function during the day. Being in a constant mental fog because you didn't get enough sleep, and running late every morning only prolongs the adjustment period.

Easing into a fixed, eight-hour schedule after years of a flexible, non-fixed schedule can leave you physically and mentally exhausted. Getting plenty of sleep and staying active makes a difference. Walk on your lunch break or pace your office for a couple minutes every hour. Activity can increase your energy and improve your mental and emotional health, which can be the mood booster you need to accept your changed circumstances.

Have you recently made the transition from freelancer back to a more structured position? How has the transition been? Share with us in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

Just over a year ago, I started a new full-time job. In the 30 years before that, I'd been laid off twice (always the last group of people to go), and was self-employed for the last 13 years. I didn't choose to be self-employed--it was either that or unemployed. Although I made pretty good money, I'm thrilled to have a full-time job again. I get paid vacation and holidays, benefits and the best part, a regular paycheck. I don't miss the old job at all!