Culture Change – 7 Useful Tips

Freelancer or contractor not your thing any more? You’re moving from a being your own boss into the corporate world? Maybe you’ve never been there or maybe you’re going back. It’s not all that uncommon for contractors or freelancers to go into the corporate world later on. In fact, there’s six former contractors that I can think of off the top of my head that are now corporate Joes at Title Source; that’s not counting me.

So how do you make the adjustment back to a structured work life?

To Start

First off you need to learn to embrace the red tape again; make it your own. Wherever you’re working I’m sure that they have processes you will want to follow.

Now to Really Start

Second, but really first, don’t be afraid to shake some things up. They hired you because they felt they needed your talents, skills and perspectives. This is especially true for designers because, unfortunately, still not a lot of places see the true value in having a designer on staff. This should be your main goal, to show “them” the value of having a designer on board.

Learn the Ropes

Third, learn what their processes are and put a fresh eye to them. People get so used to do the same thing over and over that they often miss the breaking down of the process. The get so entrenched in making it through the day that they believe they don’t have the time to look at things and how they can be improved. You’re in a prime position for this because chances are you won’t get hit with a lot of stuff to start off with. Plus, unlike developers, your work load will go up and down noticeably.

Don’t Just Draw a Paycheck

Fourth, I know it’ll be tempting to sit safely in the center of the boat because you’re afraid “they” might want to toss you overboard as fast as they brought you on board but don’t just draw a paycheck. Get in there and rock the boat. Everyone won’t be your friend but you’ll be doing the right thing and it will let you know just how long you want to stick it out.

Will that be Cash or Charge?

Fifth, accept the rejection credit card. Why? Because not everyone is going to be happy with changes you are wanting to make and by accepting the rejection credit card [accepted everywhere you work] you will be able to figure out who your biggest opponents are and who will readily buy into your ideas. By knowing who your opponents are you will be able to better prepare for any opposition you might receive.

Hello My Name Is…

Sixth, don’t be afraid to put yourself in a position to be seen and to get yourself introduced. Don’t be afraid to walk up to people and say “Hi, my name is Bob. I’m the new widget designer. What’s your name and what do you do?” Sure, some people might think you odd but they’ll most likely tell you. Then be sure to touch base with them from time to time.

Why is the Sky Blue?

Seventh, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’d be surprised at what people will tell you just because you asked them. Be genuinely interested, ask open ended questions, and don’t listen to see when it’s your turn to talk, actually hear what they are saying; take notes if you need to.

Bonus

Try to find someone who has come from the contractor or freelancer world and find out how they adjusted.

Do these things and you’ll make the culture change much more smoothly.

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