Anxiety and fear are natural reactions to starting a new endeavor, be it graduate school, entering a personal relationship, or starting a job. That fear is the result of a host of unknowns that make your life suddenly unpredictable and seemingly out of control. First days on the job can be intimidating, since you probably don’t know anyone, are unsure of how your team gets things done, and don’t know who to approach for advice and support.
The faster you face your fears and dive into your new job, the sooner you can start proving to everyone that you belong and make a positive impact at your company.
Consider these five general techniques for tempering your anxiety and easing your transition into your new job.
1. The more tightly wound you are when you walk into a new job, the more stressed out you will become and the more likely it will be that your bosses and coworkers will feel on edge around you. The stress you feel will tense your muscles, making you physically worn, and shorten your patience, potentially leading to self-defensiveness and isolating behavior. To combat this natural reaction, consciously work to relax your muscles, practice deep breathing exercises, and work to deliberately control your reactions to other people and events.
2. When you feel particularly fearful or anxious in your new position, it is important to remember why you are there in the first place. It is useful and comforting to remember that you were personally selected from a pool of other well-qualified candidates to perform a job. This implies an inherent faith in your ability to do your job well and a desire to help you succeed. Also, remember why you were excited to land the job in the first place, whether it was the prospect of professional development, the ability to bring real value to a field you are passionate about, or the positive impact you can make on the world.
3. Accept the pressures of a new job – to perform well, impress the right people, and provide the best solutions – with the realization that you don’t need to be the perfect employee, whether you are an industry neophyte or veteran superstar employee. Acting as though you have all of the answers all of the time can actually reflect poorly on your character, as it makes you seem insecure or arrogant. No one expects you to know everything, and it is expected that you will need to seek advice and the skill sets of your fellow colleagues to help you to perform at your peak
4. Don’t compare yourself to others, especially when you begin to see yourself as somehow inferior to your coworkers. None of your teammates are perfect and, they all have their own lists of strengths and weaknesses. You are there because you complement your team’s roster and make it better. Keep in mind that you are part of a greater whole working towards the same goals. You are all in the same boat, imperfectly sailing the seas of progress and success.
5. New is always scary because you are doing things you’ve never done before, but your reaction to the uncertainties of novel situations is completely normal. When you get scared, don’t punish yourself with derision and fears of inferiority. Instead, assure yourself that your initial reaction will pass, that you will survive, and that, over time, you will adapt and evolve into an even more accomplished and valuable employee.