Can a Freelancer Find a Career in the Defense Industry?

Starting a new job is a stressful experience, especially when you are moving from a freelance environment to beginning a career in the defense industry. The industry has a corporate culture that you are likely not used to. Therefore, it’s pertinent that you learn about the defense industry’s culture before making the leap to a career in the industry.

For starters, the defense industry is entirely different from what is portrayed in popular media and movies. The sector has internal (the Federal government) and external (companies contracted by the government) components. Companies have competencies in various fields including engineering, communications and IT (critical fields in both aerospace and defense industries), while the federal government is 31% made of military veterans.

After several years as a freelancer, going to the 9-to-5 career in the defense industry requires considerable amount energy and assimilation. If you are a freelancer looking forward to a more permanent gig, here are a few things you should take into consideration.

You Need to Get Dressed

Working as a freelancer means that you can work alone in various states of undress – and it is glorious! However, once you step into the regular workforce, this has to stop if you want to keep the new job. During the first few weeks, you will likely find it difficult getting up in the morning and putting on a dress shirt and pants.

Also, having to commute physically to an office can place some strain on what you perceive as quality life. If you will face a long commute, it’s better you make peace with the idea of traveling to work every day.

Your Time is No Longer Yours

You are not necessarily working few hours as a freelance, but at least you get to work whenever you can. Stepping into the defense industry workforce, you will be required to adopt a whole new set of restrictive daily habits.

Freelancing offers you the option of having a not so strictly structured day that gives you plenty of flexibility. On the other hand, a full-time job will force you to re-organize your schedule, so it falls in line with work life. For some people, this can be difficult.

Shorter Term Priorities

It’s said that a freelancer will find a thousand and one ways of putting off important work – procrastinating. Was it not for client deadlines and time management tools (you can use a weekly timesheet), freelancing would be something difficult to accomplish. In the office, there’s no way something like that would happen.

The office environment features a supervisor who you are accountable to. This means that you get micro or shorter-term deliverables in the office than when freelancing. Working at the office also requires you to shoulder a higher degree of accountability and responsibility.


Getting into a full-time career job in the defense industry will undoubtedly improve your financial situation and predictability, but it might not be what you are expecting. Receiving a regular paycheck is comforting and the added advantages – like job security and health benefits – are things you probably never had as a freelancer.

Different Stressors

At first glance, a freelancer’s life may appear as extremely risky, financially, and full of significant stresses like continually looking for work, then money. However, working in the office environment brings along its unique strains. For example, for someone used to working alone, the thought of working with other people can be a bit jarring.

Can a freelancer find a career in the defense industry? The short answer is yes. In fact, you should consider yourself fortunate, but you also need to take into consideration how taking the job will affect you.