Surviving my first (ever) week of full-time work

Open computer screen with lots of people in a video meeting on dark wooden table with a teal ceramic mug to one side.
Welp, guess I'm a full-timer now! Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Dear readers, I've had a long week, so please forgive this shorter update. I might be a bit less wordy for the next month or so as I focused on this professional transition.

I've never had a full-time job before.

In college, I was a serial part-timer, taking on sometimes 2-3 jobs at once for variety. After I went freelance full-time in late 2016, I took on the occasional part-time gig to boost my income while I built up my business, then reduced my hours to part-time so I could manage my mental health better.

But this week, for the first time in my professional life, I joined the ranks of the 9-to-5 with a paycheck, insurance, and everything.

And it's been a bit of a rough transition.

The job and systems I'll learn in time and my new coworkers and bosses have been nothing but kind and welcoming. But the switch has been mentally and physically draining.

So far this week, I've had to get used to working longer hours, adjust to staring at a computer all day, and learning new software. I've worked through training, taken what seems like dozens of meetings, and had to manage working through my low-energy time (11am-3pm).

Since this was a shorter holiday week, I only worked four days, and I'm very grateful for that! Tuesday and Wednesday went much better than expected, but the hours and information overload caught up with me on Thursday. By Friday morning, I knew I'd need to pace myself. And thankfully, my new team was very understanding.

Working full-time, I'm finding, is an exercise in stamina.

The time isn't hard to fill; there's always plenty to work on. But getting used to this new way of life will take time. Call it growing pains.

I know the next few months are going to be a bit hectic as we both attempt to settle down. But I see this change of pace as a personal as well as a professional challenge. In my time at this job, I hope to:

  • Improve my time management skills
  • Find better ways to manage my energy and stress
  • Enjoy the benefits of working full-time to the fullest (Regular paychecks! Health insurance! 401(k)s!)
  • Discover how other people with chronic illnesses and disabilities navigate the traditional workplace

As a freelancer with no full-time experience, I've always wondered, how do people do it? How do they spend their whole day working? Maybe I'll be able to answer that question for myself soon.

This is all still very new for me, so I'm sorry I don't have a lot of brilliant insights just yet. I'm going to give myself time and grace to adjust and learn, but I promise to share any new lessons!

Right now, I'm tired and feeling a bit fuzzy around the edges. But I'm also enjoying another new experience for me: the full-time weekend off. And so far, I like it.