Transitioning from Freelance Life Back to Full-Time Employment

If you read the past few months’ entries, you’ll see that I’ve had an interesting year, which began with being told that my ongoing (it would have been eight years as of May 30) contract with Nissan would be coming to an end. This has resulted in quite a few changes in my professional life while other events have been occurring in my personal life, which I’ll recapitulate below. The bottom-line message of this month’s post is: change happens, and the better you can handle that reality, the better you will adapt as your career unfolds.

When We Last Left Our Hero…

Last month, I was awaiting a written job offer, which did arrive eventually. This was a bit of a big deal: I was staring down the end of a lucrative but very short-term contract (three months) with only part-time work from Nissan to fill the gap. Because the short-term contract was space-related, my other space-related customer requested I no longer work for them. So in the space of three months, I’d ended two long-term contracts, breezed through a short-term contract, and was facing only a short-term contract out until the end of the year…as I was on the way toward getting married and trying to buy a shared house. This would have been difficult if I ran out of money by the end of the year.

It’s been a little stressful.

As a result, I was more than a little nervous about getting that offer letter for a full-time position because while there were plenty of jobs on the market, there weren’t a lot of jobs that suited my particular experiences, skill sets, and interests. But the offer arrived, and like a grateful shipwreck survivor, reached for the life preserver thrown my way.

Here’s Where Things Got Interesting

In my April post, I considered what sort of job I would want–contract or full-time–that would keep me from taking a job doing something I didn’t like just for the money. I’ve done that, and it makes for acceptable pay but a miserable work life. So I had hopes I might get something like this:

As a long-time advocate of human spaceflight with extensive professional experience in the field, I am seeking a communication position that allows me to contribute across multiple aspects of a space-related organization. This could include mission and vision, strategic planning and messaging, system descriptions, proposal win themes, executive-level communications, web content, and other outlets. The goal of my work is to help my customer/employer clearly convey how they can contribute to a spacefaring future.

In short, I sort of wanted the job I had ten years ago, when I was “Chief of Communications” at Zero Point Frontiers. (Note: I left that job due to financial constraints at the company, which eventually folded.)

A friend and past customer offered me a role as a senior technical writer (I explained that managing other people was not my thing) at a rate approximating what I was making on the Nissan gig (maybe even a tad more) with other little perks thrown in–the company has their own Hawaiian shirts, for example. Plus medical and dental insurance–covered. First time for that in ten years. After paying as much as $820/month for health insurance (no dental), this is a bit of a mind bender. Plus they sent me a laptop and monitor just to do their work. And I can continue to work from home the majority of the time despite the company being based in Colorado; I’ll just need to travel to the company offices once a quarter. Wow.

Most importantly, I’ll be writing about space hardware in a variety of capacities, from blog and social media posts to proposals to internal processes to customer deliverables. In short, it’s the ideal job for someone like me, who loves writing about space stuff and needs variety to stay motivated. I can face my future with a little more confidence and stability. I have to learn to maintain consistent office hours (stay in my chair) 8 hours a day again, and I can’t just jaunt off to the grocery store at 10 a.m. on a random Tuesday anymore, but I think I can live with it. My good lady and I will be buying a house this month, 11 days after our wedding. Good times.

Adventure awaits. May your journey take you good places as well.

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
This entry was posted in careers, job hunting, personal, social media, technical writing, workplace. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Transitioning from Freelance Life Back to Full-Time Employment

  1. Christopher Carmichael says:

    You are a warrior. Congratulations on marriage, house—and work.

  2. Larry Kunz says:

    You’ve always been a sucker for Hawaiian shirts, haven’t you? 🙂
    Congrats on the new job — it sounds great. And congrats on the upcoming wedding — sounds even better!

    • Bart Leahy says:

      Indeed, on all accounts. I was going through my closet this morning and it occurred to me that I might have a problem.

  3. Katherine Kotowski says:

    I’m so happy that it all worked out! (They had you at Hawaiian shirts, didn’t they? 😊). Congratulations!

  4. Pingback: Recommendation and Insights on the Enterprise of Technical Communication -

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