Professional Recognition (Or Not)
One of the reasons many people enjoy working full-time for companies and corporations is that they feel like they are part of a team. Yes, you may sometimes feel as though you are an island unto yourself in a sea of cubicles, but your cubicle is almost always attached to another cubicle, and it to another cubicle, and so on. The work you do is directly supported by other members of your immediate team, and that team is directly supported by other teams in your division, which in turn is supported by other divisions within the company.
A Sense of Camaraderie
Through these connections, you and your coworkers develop a sense of professional camaraderie that often finds rewards in the form of plaques, certificates, and even the occasional financial bonus. Many companies have internal awards ceremonies where they give annual recognition to the “Hardest-Working Employee” and the “Best-Performing Manager.”
Even better, a lot of companies reserve entire tables at expensive industry awards ceremonies, inviting you and your colleagues to help represent your team even if you're not winning an award at all.
The American Society of Magazine Editors has presented the National Magazine Awards for the past 40 years. It costs $400 for non-members to enter the contest, and that fee does not include a seat at the awards ceremony. If you're not on staff at a magazine, this is the type of expense you will have to shoulder yourself.
In short, one of the perks of being a full-time company employee is the structured attention devoted to giving you professional recognition from time to time — little ego boosts, so to speak, that keep you moving forward in your career path. You usually have something to hang on your cubicle wall that makes you feel at least a little bit appreciated and recognized for your contribution to the whole. At the very least, there is always a promotion opportunity looming on the horizon.
Being Out on Your Own
That type of professional recognition is far harder to come by for magazine writers. There are occasional compliments from the editors you work with, and there are awards to be had from national writers' associations. However, if you are going to win one, you need to be much more proactive than an employee who simply responds to a company-wide e-mail soliciting entry forms.