A little over six months ago, I spent my working hours mostly in solitude. I was a freelancer, living the freelancer's dream. I ran a small design shop; I had wonderful clients, fast internet, a pot of coffee always on, and the novelty of a self-managed schedule.
I've turned a corner, though. After six months of training at my Sparkbox apprenticeship, I'm excited to say that I've accepted a position as a front-end developer there. I won't be working from home as much, I won't be managing clients, and I won't be the master of my own schedule. There are a few things I will be doing, though, as a result of this welcome change:
I'll be enjoying the company of my new friends every day. I'm a certain introvert - I recharge on alone time, and big groups of people stress me out. But the camaraderie of a few kind friends does wonders for morale - and I've become convinced that I do better work now that I'm surrounded by people whose skill and passion surpasses my own.
I'll be a part of something bigger than myself. As a solo act, I developed a thick skin, and a strong spirit of self-sufficiency. These are valuable traits to be sure! Managing clients and handling projects alone carved out a rugged can-do, self-starter mentality in me that I still enjoy the benefits of. But there's a whole side of life that I was unwittingly missing out on - the joy of working on a team, where the praise and criticism and responsibility of the group are all evenly distributed. There's a sense of jolly brotherhood in this arrangement that puts a song on my lips and feather in my step.
I'll be able to learn and teach to a degree that I hadn't experienced before. In some ways, I felt that during my apprenticeship, I learned more in that six months than I ever could have in six years of tackling the same problems alone. Conversely, I've been given opportunities to teach and share the things I've learned in ways I'd only dreamed about before. I certainly don't think you have to be in a team environment to grow and share, but occasional accountability and encouragement are a great fit for my personality.
I'll be able to narrow my focus to doing mainly what I'm good at. I'm not a great businessman. I did decently at managing my business because I was the only one to do it. My first love is the work itself, though. Being an employee means I can focus in with precision and passion on what I do best.
"You don't need more time, you just need to decide" -Seth Godin