New job anxiety can feel debilitating. Starting a new job, and in particular, the first few days, can be downright nerve-racking. Not knowing anyone, wondering what everyone is thinking of you, worried you will make stupid mistakes, not knowing what you are doing and maybe feeling like a fraud! All these negative thoughts can cast a dark cloud over what can be an exciting time, and quite possibly the start to a positive new chapter in your life.
So, how do you get to make the most of this new start, turning down the anxiety to a healthy, low adrenaline level, so as not to just muddle through the first few days in a blurry, stress-filled haze?
Firstly, you need to give your body what it needs and avoid the stuff it doesn’t. Make sure you are getting a good night’s sleep, each night. Try and set a regular sleeping pattern that allows you to get enough sleep and wake refreshed and ready for the day. Sleep deprivation can lead to altered emotional states and paranoia and irritation can occur and make it more difficult for you to think rationally.
You may feel like a caffeine hit will give you that edge, but too much can make you edgier, and provoke feelings of anxiety. Also, avoid eating foods that you find difficult digesting or may aggravate your digestive system. Anxiety and bowel problems are linked to the fight or flight responses that occur when you feel fear, so it’s best to avoid exasperating this with an unsettled stomach from eating foods that disagree with you.
Next, focus on the reasons why this new job is good for you. Use these reasons to motivate yourself and your actions in a positive way. Concentrating on ways or strategies to avoid feared outcomes occurring at your new job will get your body prepared for the fight or flight response, with anxiety levels increasing as a result.
Address any negative thoughts that you may have (worrying if others will like you, concerned that your employers’ expectations of you are beyond your capabilities, etc). Act as judge and jury on these thoughts; how realistic are they, are you trying to mind-read your colleagues or catastrophizing imagined events? Try to dismiss the negative thoughts and replace them with more realistic, less extreme views i.e. “colleagues will probably have many different thoughts about me”, “maybe some bad, but probably many more which are either good or neutral”; “it takes time to settle into a job”, and “I would not have got the job if my new employer did not think I had the ability to do it”.
If you experience the feelings of anxiety increasing and you are finding it difficult to keep your composure, practice taking some deep breaths or repeating an affirmation to yourself. With the breathing, take some slow, steady, deep breaths, breathing so your abdomen moves and your chest stays still, saying relax to yourself on each out breath. Do this until you feel yourself starting to relax. Alternatively (or at the same time), repeat an affirmation to yourself such as:
“Despite this feeling, I totally and completely accept myself”.
Finally, consider how you will be in a few days from now, a week, a month, a year. All these worries and feelings of anxiety will just be a memory of first-day nerves in your new job. Projecting yourself into this positive future will make you feel calmer in the now.
More on New Job Anxiety
New job anxiety is the worst, isn’t it? Those butterflies in the stomach, worrying about making a good impression on your new colleagues, on pins and needles about what to say to your boss. It all adds up to unnecessary agita. Especially if you are only a few moments away from your dream job and you don’t want to make a mistake.
Of course, there is no need to put that kind of pressure on yourself. It is critical for you to feel as comfortable as possible as you get a new job.
It is hugely important for you to confront these fears. You must make sure that you prepare yourself. But try to remember that you got this job for a reason. They liked you. The hiring process had its own set of worries. Leave those behind and focus on how you can make a good impression. There is no doubt that many little things will be unknown: the office layout, the personal politics, the people you can and cannot talk to, where to go for lunch. Remember, everyone has gone through it and you won’t be the first person to deal with the unknown. Take a moment to consider these tips.
You Need to Breathe
Take a deep breath. In fact, take a bunch of them. This will help you to center yourself and ease the new job anxiety that is coursing through your body. Research some techniques to get the full effect of focusing on your breath. It is important to start releasing the tensions that you have about embarking on this new chapter of your life.
Having a new job is something that you should be excited about. Make sure that you remember that as you quell the butterflies with breath control. This is something that you have been working toward for a long time. Plus, the company would not have hired you if the managers did not think you were up for the job. Businesses don’t like turnover and searching for talent costs money. Most places are prepared to give you the support you need to make a position work.
The mental preparation involved with getting into such a job is important and it is one of the things that can make the first impression. Stay positive.
You are Confident in Yourself and Your Work Will Prove It
Having confidence at this particular moment is difficult but will prove to be a difference-maker. You will reach your goals only if you believe in your achievements and hard work that you’ve done over the years. Also, it doesn’t matter if this is your first job and you haven’t worked a day in your life or if you have years of experience. As I stated before, in almost every case, save for ultra-competitive law firms and financial institutions, the company wants you to succeed. This is your new beginning and you have nothing to lose.
Focus on the great new opportunities you will have once you enter the workplace and meet your colleagues. Starting a new job is easy when you have a quality source of inspiration, and you can always look back and think about the goals you’ve achieved in your life. The new job anxiety that you might feel is temporary. But remember to dial in confidence…not cockiness. Achieving the right level of belief in one’s abilities will go a long way to making the right first impression.
It is Your Job, You Deserve it
Starting a new job opens up numerous possibilities for your professional and social life. Meeting new people is one of the best parts of having a new job and should be a source of joy, not dread. The professional connections that you will make and the skills you will learn will be invaluable as you go on in your career. Experience is the greatest teacher we have, but you can’t grow from it if you don’t go through it.
And all this means that you need to allow yourself to make mistakes. That is why it’s called learning on the job. No one expects you to be on the highest working level on the first day at your job. Take your time and enjoy your new beginning because it doesn’t happen very often. Even with all the talk of Millennials never having a real career and will bounce from job to job, that is still not the norm. With today’s global economy, stability still counts for something.
Your chance is now. So don’t waste it on the reasons why you should be afraid, but instead focus on why you deserve it. Time will prepare you for everything ahead of you. Staying positive will be an essential tool for tamping down new job anxiety.
Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch once said “The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.” That is huge. The new job anxiety that you might feel will disappear if you tell yourself to be better every day and to consider every obstacle that you face as a challenge. Once you adopt this state of mind, you can use that motivation to stay ahead of the game. Put yourself out there and don’t hesitate to make a step into the unknown because many great things can happen.
Starting a new job is one of the best things you can do to grow and change. Just because the co-workers that you are dealing with show excellent coping abilities around you on the first day they are there does not mean they are better or smarter than you. A new person in a company will always have to adapt to the environment. Take your time and consider the learning process as a challenge because it will bring a great level of excitement to you instead of a source of anxiety.
It’s OK To Fail
Give your best to the things you do and you won’t have to fear rejection. It is essential to work hard and go all in, in order to succeed in a specific goal. Failure is just a chance to get it right the next time. It builds your character to endure and confront the little problems that you might face along the way. Most of all, stay positive. Your co-workers and your supervisor will know pretty quickly if you are a negative influence or someone that can withstand the daily slings and arrows of office life.
We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Your time will come because everybody has a chance to showcase their talents. Remember, all of the people you see in your new workplace have dealt with the same difficulties. They have made mistakes in the same office at the same company. They can have great insight into how a particular organization works. Try to identify those with generous souls, who can help you along your journey. Try to avoid the obvious strivers. Ambition is good, but too much can make you a difficult person to work with.
Embrace The New Environment
First days are universal. Everyone has been through the first day in a new office, even all the colleagues you are about to face. They know how you feel. Chances are, they are going to be welcoming and friendly. Most offices function well when the occupants are relatively comfortable with each other. These people are not necessarily out to get you.
And you know your stuff. Your experience, personable manner and work ethic are what got you to this point. Trust in those attributes. Know that it is going to take time to get to know your place in the office and that the new job anxiety is only a phase. It will pass.
Also, you should make your office feel a little more comfortable in order to make your workspace more enjoyable. Put your own style into it. Take note of how the desks and cubicles are decorated around you, so you can personalize your own space in an appropriate manner. Family and kid pictures are OK, but probably leave your college partying pictures back in a shoebox in your closet.
New working relationships will flow at their own pace, but it is important not to take things too personally because everyone has their own way of showing gratitude and appreciation. Focus your energy on the job and not the individual personalities. Even the new colleagues that seem gruff and disagreeable will probably end up surprising you with their graciousness.