10 Things I Miss About Working a Real Job

Ahhh… freelance life. It’s 8am, and instead of screaming at other cars during my morning commute or struggling to eat a bagel before heading out the door, I’m at home in my pajamas watching the morning news. I may or may not be topless. Take a bet on that.

The freelancer life has been good to me. It’s allowed me to be a work-from-home-mom, forced me to learn a bunch of new skills such as about a hundred different ways to describe the male and female … uh… body parts, and I’ve got to make my own workplace in places like London and Amsterdam.

But it’s not for everyone. It really isn’t. I remember that in the beginning months of me going it alone, I read through this guest post from a more seasoned self-employed person and thought: Pshhh. That will never be me. Yo ho, yo ho, a freelancer’s life for me! 

However, yesterday, I did something completely new, something super against that freelancing singing pirate. I applied to work somewhere with an office, a 401k, a tethered desk, a <gasp> DRESS CODE. 

As I sent my resume in, I felt a tinge of regret, but then a bristle of excitement. There were things I genuinely missed about working traditionally. And now that I’ve had two years in the game, the thought of going back to the right job doesn’t seem so scary after all.

Here’s just ten things that I miss about working a real job.

10 Reasons Why I Want to Work for Someone Else Again

1. The Paychecks — I seriously miss those Friday’s full of possibility and hope when I could open my bank account and it would be stock full of $$$ and 000’s. Today, I pray that this client will pay me before that student loan payment is taken out or so that I can go get groceries. There’s no Payday Friday for me. There’s OMG THANK GOD HE PAID ON TIME days. And those, my friends, are scary days.

2. The Power — The staff of my various business endeavors includes two other people. It’s not much, but it works. And with one being my husband, I don’t get to pull a Trump and tell him he’s fih’red. Instead, I get to beg him to put down the baby and go to work. I really do miss being able to manage a bunch of strangers that won’t hold my demands over my head during dinnertime.

3. The Fashion — I was formerly an elementary teacher. And boy did I dress like it. Lots of bold cardigans, polka dots, and comfy slacks. If you could label anyone as someone who works with kids, I’d be it.

4. The Lack of Confusion — I’ve complained about this before. It’s really hard to explain to someone what you do when the conventional idea of freelancing is that you are unemployable. Not true. I’ve never been fired. Never lost my job. I just made a choice, man!

5. The Title — Director! Manager! Coordinator! It all just sounds like it deserves an exclamation mark at the end. While I do call myself the “Owner and Creative Director,” I still get side eyed when I tell them it’s for my own business.

6. The One Job — On my docket today is two chapters of a romance novel, 2 articles about college dorm rooms, fixing up a website, tweeting about weddings, and scheduling Facebook posts for a lighting company. Boy, do I miss when I was a Jack of ONE Trade.

7. The Application Process — So I just submit this thing and wait for an interview? Is that really all I have to do? I don’t have to turn in a portfolio, send follow up emails, negotiate milestones and pay? I don’t have to apply for 100000001 opportunities a day? That’s it! Everything’s so streamlined. 

8. The People — You take for granted the person sitting in the desk next to you crunching loudly on apples when they’re suddenly not around. Given that I only talk to my baby and dog, I just miss the community of it all… even when the community drove me to tears most day.

9. The Routine — After a year of working as a freelancer, I know my biggest issue is that I have an inability to stick to a schedule when there is no schedule. Work at 2am? DON’T MIND IF I DO! It sucks. I need stability and an agenda! I need a clock that tells me that I have to stop working. If not, I won’t. And then I’m doing things like fact checking pieces on marketing to seniors while making dinner.

10. The Quietness — I worked in a university. Quiet wasn’t exactly happening everyday considering my office was like a portal for upset graduate students needing somewhere to vent (BTW I love listening and solving other people’s problems. I miss that too). But compared to a baby crying, a dog barking, and the buzzer in my apartment going off every 2 minutes… an office setting at 8am sounds like a heavenly escape akin to a Sandals Resort. Take me away!

What would you miss about working a real job if you freelanced?  

13 comments for “10 Things I Miss About Working a Real Job

  1. August 12, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I think I would miss many things about my full-time job, the paycheck, the regular schedule, the structure of working in an office, getting dressed nicely for work every day. I like the idea of freelancing for the flexibility, but I’m not sure it is for me.

  2. August 12, 2015 at 10:37 am

    I occasionally receive interesting job offers in my email inbox and I often too wonder how that would be. There’s stress that comes with the freelance life (Will everything just fall off the face off the earth? TAXES UGHH… Legal issues. And more) but I don’t think I’d trade this for the world. However, I know many freelancers who left this life for “real” jobs and everyone is different.

  3. August 12, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I want a traditional job again, if it were the right job.
    I am only just starting out as a freelancer/self-employed person (I don’t even know what to call myself) so perhaps I will like it better once I get things more figured out? But right now, I miss the routine the most. I didn’t realize how much more productive I was until I lost it being unemployed or working PT shift work. Trying to impose a schedule on myself doesn’t work because I know it doesn’t actually matter…
    And so far, I definitely agree about the application process for these “non-traditional” jobs! Even a babysitting job I have took an application, a resume, 10+ emails, a few text messages and 2 meetings.

  4. August 12, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    I’ve always worked at a full time job so I do appreciate the benefits you listed. I do some freelancing on the side, so I kind of have a taste of both worlds and get the pros and cons of each. I don’t see myself leaving my full time job anytime soon, so I try to focus on the benefits of full time and freelance work.

    Though I don’t have a lot of downtime, I really enjoy learning being a better freelancer every day.

  5. MJ
    August 13, 2015 at 9:59 am

    I just took a full-time gig again, but I’ll be able to do freelancing still. I won’t let it go completely:) It is nice to think about simplifying, a steady paycheck (which I’m almost afraid of) and employer contributions to a retirement fund!!! I have missed camaraderie in the workplace (when it exists.) I’m looking forward to that again. Not that I’m sick of my dogs’ company, because I’m already cooking up ways to sneak them into my office:)

  6. August 13, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I’m a contract worker. So I miss someone paying half my FICA taxes, and I envy people with matching contributions.

    But I do love being able to work in just my underwear… or less. Depends on how hot it is that day.

  7. August 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    As tempted as I have been by the freelancing/contract life, I know I’m not ready to leave the steady paycheck and not having to constantly market or hunt for paying gigs. However, I don’t think I will ever miss annoying coworkers 🙂

  8. August 13, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I think I would miss the general chit chat with co-workers. My most cubicle job is quiet enough, I leave working needing to interact with others. I can’t imagine if I didn’t have to leave the house. But maybe I’m wrong. You would have the option to go to a coffee shop or somewhere public with people when you like.

  9. August 14, 2015 at 10:57 am

    The healthy, steady paycheck and interactions with colleagues are the things I would miss most.

  10. August 15, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    I’d probably miss the people, environment, and the office attire. These are just what make me excited about working at an office, which are not present in home-based work.

  11. August 17, 2015 at 7:19 am

    How about those who freelance and have a day job? I am one of those people! I miss free time – omg I miss free time. I never feel like I’m off work. That’s something I need to either get used to or change. Time will tell!

  12. August 23, 2015 at 9:03 am

    I totally get it. This may sound weird but there’s something I love about sitting down at my desk each morning with that first cup of coffee and looking over the days to do list. I don’t want to be forever chained to it but I do like the routine of it. In fact, it’s my happy place when I’m on a plane and having thoughts of dying!

  13. September 2, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    I only miss having one big paycheck a month. Other than that-I hate offices and never want to do it again (doesn’t mean I won’t) but I think it’s pretty unlikely.

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