At no point in this article will anyone tell you to ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’ in relation to the fears everyone encounters when they start a new job. Firstly, it is pointless advice because you have already ‘got on with it’ to get the job. Secondly, and for the purposes of this article, most importantly, the fear of a new job is very real and just ‘getting a grip’ is not going to be the answer.
A new job is a big step
It is a change of lifestyle, routine, focus and a myriad of other small and large difference to your day to day activities. You will be dealing with new people in a professional workplace environment and probably in a social one as well. If it is a full-time position as part of a team, on most days you may spend more time with your co-workers than your family. Add to this that there are going to be new ways of doing things, challenges to your previous working practice, and perhaps more responsibility, and it’s no wonder that there is a lot of anxiety attached to the change.
So, the first step to really doing something about your concerns is to admit that you have them and then, and this is the part people tend to the find most difficult, that you accept it is OK to feel that way. It is fine to be nervous, worrying is to be expected, and fear is a perfectly reasonable way feel about your change in working life.
Here is a technique that may help:
- Try writing down what you are worried about. A good, old-fashioned, pen and paper list of what you are afraid of will allow you to look at the root of your anxiety and put it into perspective. Don’t hold back; nobody but you will see the list so you can be perfectly honest.
- Ask yourself how likely the things on your list are to actually happen. You will probably have written down things such as:
- What if nobody likes me?
- Supposing I am no good at the new job?
- Will I be able to make a good impression?
- What if I mess up on the first day?
- Suppose it’s all too much for me to take in?
…and similar potential issues. These are all valid fears, so they are not going to go away, but you do need to put them into perspective.
- Write down solutions to stop the ‘worrying thing’ on your list from happening or at least make it very unlikely. So, for example, for the above list, you may then write down something along the lines of:
- I will make a point of not deciding whether people like me or not on the first day. In my last job, I got on fine with everyone.
- Why would I suddenly not be any good at my job? I have been hired because they think I can do it.
- Before I go to bed tonight, I will make sure I have everything ready for the morning and arrive at work at least 15 minutes early.
- I probably will mess up in some way, but nobody will expect me to be perfect because it’s my first day. Nobody is going to throw me in the deep end or give me too much responsibility.
- I will make sure I carry a notebook and write down important things I need to remember.
And so on.
Hopefully, when you have completed your list, you will see that a lot of the fears you have can be rationalised and you can do something about them.