From 1099 To Showin’ Up On Time

It’s been a few months, way too many coffees, and countless fits of road rage since I made the change from freelance to fancy-dress-pants. The 9-5 workingwoman behavior (well, technically, 9-7) is way different from the sleeping-til-noon and answer-emails-in-your-underpants lifestyle. I’m finally getting adjusted to (and perhaps even embracing) the nuances that accompany Cubicle Life.

For example…

Sweatpants are no longer acceptable daytime wear.
My work uniform of yesteryear didn’t necessitate much thought – a stained American Apparel T-shirt, whichever Under Armour running capris were sorta clean (or at least not super smelly), and a hoodie covered in cat hair. I know, I know, I’m way too glamorous and sexy for my own good.

These days, my attire is a wee bit sharper and actually requires drycleaning. (OK, I’ll admit that it COULD be washed/ dried/ ironed…but I don’t own an iron.) And even though my clothing underwent an upgrade, my level of klutziness has not subsided, so my lovely work outfits are typically dotted with a mix of coffee stains and salad dressing remnants.

Sleep now takes priority over all other activities.
At one point, writing and socializing were my favorite pastimes. Then I realized that arriving at work on time meant waking up at 8am. Then I realized if I wanted to hit the gym before work, the alarm needed to go off at 7am. Then I realized that unless I wanted to be a baggy-eyed moody zombie, I need to be in bed by 10:30pm – which is pretty much when I went to bed in 5th grade.

Snack quality is now evaluated by volume.
No, not volume as it pertains to weight measurements, but as it pertains to noise levels. I work in a cubicle, in a cute open area with my digital team. It’s pretty quiet most of the time (in between our high-pitched fits of giggling) which means if I choose to bite into a carrot, apple or pretzel, I feel like I’ve launched an aural assault on the entire vicinity.

Collaboration breeds great creation.
I’ve previously chronicled the difficulty of facing distractions while working from home, but didn’t mention that the lack of human communication took a strange toll on my psyche. One time when I went to Starbucks for a mid-afternoon latte, I was so desperate for conversation that I kept asking the barista a bunch of mundane questions just to enjoy a a few minutes of mindless banter. “So…making a whole lotta peppermint mochas today, eh?”

Working alongside other creative minds is a blessing. Bouncing ideas off one another helps foster newer and better ideas. And spending time with likeminded worker bees does wonders for your motivation.

Commuting can be a zen-like experience.
My former commute was nice and short- roll outta bed, shuffle into the living room and fling myself onto the couch. Easy peasy. These days I battle the hell of Los Angeles Morning Madness and try not to let my road rage take hold of the steering wheel.

But after I take a deep breath and let a curse word escape my lips, I’m able to actually enjoy the quiet time and mentally prepare for a successful day.

So at the end of the day, I’m lucky and grateful to be a part of the W2 world. And I never thought I’d say this but….