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Working for Someone Else After a Home-Based Business

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It’s harder to succeed in a home-based business than the Internet hype might have you believe. If you’ve decided to go back to work for someone else after some months or years at home, it can be quite an adjustment.

Not only must you give up the dream, but you have to accommodate to some real changes. If not always lucrative, the advantages of working from your home, and for yourself, are legendary, and the adaptation to a 9-5 (ha!) can be monumental.

Let’s say you’ve been at home for a year. Most people who work a home business put in more hours a week than 40, so the work may be the same, and even less; but there are also many wonderful things you’ll have to put aside, such as the ability to set your own schedule – for instance starting at 10 a.m. and working till 2 a.m.

Maybe you’ve been wearing jeans and flip flops, not worrying about hairstyle or makeup. You’ve gotten used to receiving repair-people at home when something breaks, and you’ve been your own “boss,” able to choose your own products and clients, not having to account to someone else for your time, budget, results, or paperwork. You’ve also been able to shop off-times, when everyone else was at work.

And now you’re going back to work for someone else. Here are some ways to prepare yourself to make a success of it.

1. Assemble a comfortable wardrobe.

Don’t wear heels the first day if you haven’t in a long time, as you might get blisters. Check out the dress code, as you may be out-of-touch. Many offices these days are casual, but they have their own definition, so inquire specifically. Then align 5 days worth of outfits you know you can survive in. It can be uncomfortable getting back into clothes that seem straight-laced, like a jacket, for instance, or tie. Get some loose-fitting but nice-looking slacks and skirts, with loose tops.

And think layers. You’re used to your own “just right” temperature. Bring a sweater you can leave in the office. You may need it!

2. Manage your hair.

Understand that you’ll have to get up and go in the morning, and you may have gotten into a very relaxed hairstyle. Scrunchies and do rags aren’t going to “do” in an office. Get a haircut, if need be, and a style that’s manageable.

3. Start the week before to establish the new routine.

Getting up to the alarm clock can be a rude awakening if you aren’t a naturally early-riser. Start getting up at 6 a.m. the week before. Then you won’t be so groggy. You might also want to exercise in the morning, like taking a brisk walk.

4. Food!

It’s been said that every new job is worth 10 lbs. Some offices congenially invite you to lunch the first week, or bring in the breakfast tacos to welcome you. Others fix popcorn in the afternoon, and many have a jar of chocolate sitting around. Make the decision before you start how you’re going to handle this. It can save you something you don’t need – 10 lbs.!

5. Refresh yourself on your Emotional Intelligence competencies.

You’re going to be back in the social scene, part of the gang. It will require some skills that may have gotten rusty. Many people who work at home lament being “lonely,” but the flip side of the coin is that it’s stressful to be with others, because there are other “wills” to accommodate to.

Remember your manners and work your way in slowly. Label your yogurt, for instance, and place it discretely at the back of the ‘frig. Pay attention to who parks where, don’t be using other people’s staplers and computer, say “May I?” and “Thank you” and mind your Ps and Qs.

6. Repair what you can, while you can.

Do your best during your last days at home to get caught up on household repairs. Make a list right now and get to work on it. Once you’re on the time clock, it won’t be so easy. And get caught up on your rest. My friend Adelaide started a job at a law firm where two people had just walked out and two trials were imminent. Her first week she worked every night til 8 and straight through the weekend.

7. Stock up on things you need at home.

You won’t be able to run for errands, and you also may not feel like it. The first couple of weeks on the job may be very exhausting. This is normal when you adjust to a new routine (ask a shift worker). Not that you aren’t tough, in shape and up-to-it, but simply because it’s so different. So stock up on groceries for evening meals, stamps for bills, dry cleaning, and supplies for the kids.

8. Alert the forces.

Nothing is obvious and people can’t read your mind. Any new job is stressful, and moving into a new environment is moreso. Have a talk with those with whom you live, and also your friends, explaining that changes are coming, and asking for some slack. You won’t be available in the same way you were before. You are now on a time clock.

9. Manage your attitude.

If you had a home-based business that failed, or failed to live up to your expectations, or simply wore thin, put it behind you. If it was a “failure,” don’t attribute it to things personal, permanent, or pervasive. There are many causes for any business failure, including the economy, and a market that was over-hyped. Don’t consider it necessarily your “fault,” nor a permanent failure on your part, and don’t make it pervasive. There are many other successes you’ve had and will have. You need to stay positive in order to make a success of your new job, so monitor your self-talk.

It’s difficult to lose the “freedom” you have when self-employed, and your first paid vacation may be months away. Best to delete those “cheap last minute cruise” ads the minute they come up on the email, and think about other things. There will be time and opportunity for this later.

10. Remember gratitude.

Research is showing how important gratitude is to our mental and physical health, and our ability to handle stress. Focus on what you have to be thankful for – a job, benefits, a steady paycheck, someone else bringing in the business, structure, camaraderie, and a simpler tax return. Whatever your circumstance, it’s smart to make a list every single morning of all the things you have to grateful for.

Allow yourself a couple of weeks before you take stock of your situation. The emotions you have during the first weeks on a new job can be a roller-coaster. Hang in there, practice your EQ competencies, and give yourself time. Before you know it, the new routine will be just as familiar as the old routine, and you’ll be back in stride. Good luck!

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, , Coaching, Internet courses and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your personal and professional success. Coach Certification Program - fast, affordable, no-residency, training coaches worldwide. Email for free ezine.

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Susan Dunn
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