Thriving in a full-time role is a bit different than thriving as a freelancer.
Freelancers have to develop strong business acumen, long term client relationships, and ensure a steady stream of work.
Staffers have to work to keep their skillsets sharp, avoid becoming complacent, and navigate office politics.
In this article, we’ll take a look at seven ways you can kick ass in a full-time role.
Carve Out Time for Personal Projects
One of the biggest challenges of working full-time is letting your own skills and passions fall to the wayside. Between deadlines, meetings, and other demands, it's too easy to clock in, clock out, and never have time for your own projects.
This is why it's important to schedule time on the calendar to focus on self-initiated endeavors. For me, I write this newsletter as a way to produce content outside of my day job, connect with other motion designers, and hone my writing skills.
For others, it might be learning new software, doing daily renders on Instagram, or something similar. The point is: don't let yourself lose sight of the long term. Always look for ways to keep your skillset and portfolio fresh.
Don’t wait to be told what to do - look for ways to help and ask for projects to work on that can benefit the rest of your team. Try to come up with ideas and projects that can help your employer or other people on your team. Look for ways to contribute, and don’t just sit around on your hands if work is slow.
Some days I would prefer to be left alone and work on projects by myself. I also struggle with public speaking, but I've learned that those are things I have to work to overcome if I want to move my career forward.
You can’t just exist in a vacuum. You need to have relationships with your co-workers. Make it a priority to be social, chat with teammates, and connect with them one on one. This will not only help your career growth, it will also help you learn new things along the way.
Archive your Work
At the end of every month, go back through your work and archive your project files. Take note of ways you may have helped others, lessons learned, and anything else that might be useful.
This will come in handy down the road if you want to pursue a promotion. It’s much easier to capture and document your work in real-time instead of trying to do it retroactively.
Own Up to Your Mistakes
When shit hits the fan, be the first to take ownership and admit you've made a mistake. It's tempting to shift the blame on something else, but it's good practice to take responsibility.
Take the next step by clarifying what went wrong, and how you can work to resolve it with specific next steps.
Give Credit Where It's Due
On the flipside, be the first to call out your teammates when someone goes above and beyond. When you're on a team with others, it's important to acknowledge everyone's hard work, and not just take all of the credit for yourself.
Find a Mentor
One of the best perks of a full-time role is the opportunity to find a long-term mentor. A good mentor can show you how to reach your career goals, find projects that will help you grow, and provide resources to make your job easier. Having quality conversations with a mentor can have long lasting impact.
- Avoid becoming stagnant by initiating your own projects (either personal side projects, or projects that help your employer).
- Volunteer to take on work. Don't wait to be told what to do.
- Be social. Show yourself on video calls. Make jokes, and have fun with team members.
- Archive your work once a month.
- When you make a mistake, own up to it and offer a solution.
- Give credit and praise to others who go above and beyond.
- Find a mentor who can hone your skillset and experience.
If you do these on a consistent basis, you'll find yourself enjoying your work, learning faster, and connecting with others.