New Job Jitters

New Job Jitters
Nervous much???

Boy, do I have the new job jitters big time!  Some of you know, I am starting a new position in sales at a used car dealership here, Monday.  So, I decided to do some research and here is what I found out. I feel much better, still nervous, but more like “chomping at the bit” to get started.  

Starting a new job can be an exciting yet nerve-wracking experience. It's a time filled with anticipation for the opportunities that lie ahead but also fraught with the anxiety and fear of beginning in an unfamiliar environment. Whether it's concern over making a good first impression, worry about meeting performance expectations, or simply the fear of the unknown, these feelings are a common part of the career journey for many. This blog post aims to shed light on the nature of new job fear, exploring it and offering good solid strategies for overcoming them. By understanding and addressing these emotions head-on, you can turn your new job jitters into a source of strength and confidence.  (I did)

Understanding New Job Anxiety

New job fear stems from an aversion to the unknown. These emotions are natural responses to change, (especially for someone like yours truly, with a bit of O.C.D.) signaling our brain's instinct to prepare for some challenges. Anxiety often manifests as a persistent worry about future events, such as how well we will perform in our new role or how we will integrate into a new team. Fear, on the other hand, is a more immediate reaction to perceived threats, such as the daunting task of meeting new expectations or the possibility of not living up to our own or others' standards.

The change to a new job involves stepping out of your comfort zone and into unfamiliar territory, triggering these responses. Factors like imposter syndrome, where we doubt our abilities and fear being exposed as a fraud, exacerbate these feelings. Additionally, the pressure to quickly prove ourselves and adapt to new work cultures and dynamics can heighten anxiety and fear.  New place, new people, new “stuff” OMG!

Understanding that these emotions are a common and natural part of the job transition process is crucial. They are not indicators of future failure but rather a normal response to significant life changes. Recognizing this can help lessen the impact of these feelings and set the stage for strategies to overcome them.

Common Fears Associated with Starting a New Position

The few starting days at a new job can be filled with a mix of emotions, from excitement to apprehension. Several common fears and anxieties emerge during this transition, each starting from the core human need for belonging, competence, and recognition. Here are a few that many new employees face:

  • Fear of Not Fitting In: The concern about whether you'll be accepted by your new colleagues and fit into the company culture is prevalent. Social integration is crucial for personal comfort and professional success in a new environment.
  • Anxiety Over Meeting Performance Expectations: Wondering if you can live up to the expectations set for your new role can cause significant stress. This includes anxiety over completing tasks effectively, managing workload, and showing your value to the team and organization.
  • Fear of Failing in your “New” Role even if it is the same industry and job: The possibility of making mistakes or not being able to perform up to standards can loom large. This fear often ties back to imposter syndrome, where despite achievements, individuals doubt their abilities and fear being seen as inadequate.

Solid Strategies for Overcoming New Job Anxiety/Fear:

Changing to a new job doesn't have to be a fearful experience. Use strategic approaches, and you can lessen anxiety and fear, setting yourself up for success and fulfillment in your career move. Here are some great ideas:

  • Preparation: Knowledge is power. Research the company, its culture, the industry, and specifics about your role before your first day. Familiarize yourself with any available resources, such as organizational charts, product information, or recent company news. This preparation can boost your confidence and reduce the fear of the unknown. Just knowing who’s who is a big deal!
  • Networking: Make an effort to build relationships with your new colleagues from day one. Reach out for informal introductions or ask for brief meetings to learn about their roles and how you might work together. This can alleviate the fear of not fitting in and help you feel  connected and supported.
  • Learning and Growth Attitude: Embrace the understanding that no one expects you to know everything from the start. View mistakes as learning opportunities and be open to feedback. Adopting a growth attitude allows you to see challenges as chances to grow, reducing the pressure of immediate perfection.
  • Seek Support: Don't hesitate to seek help from mentors, supervisors, or HR if you're feeling overwhelmed. Many organizations have formal onboarding processes and resources to support new employees. Additionally, professional counseling can provide strategies to manage stress and anxiety more effectively.
  • Self-Care: Top priority should be your well-being by maintaining a healthy work-life balance, practicing stress management techniques like mindfulness or exercise, and ensuring you have downtime. 
  • Managing your overall stress levels can greatly reduce job-related anxiety and improve your ability to cope with new challenges.

Real-Life Tips and Tricks

Working out a new job successfully often comes down to the small, practical steps you take each day. Here are some real-life tips and tricks from individuals who have been in your shoes:

  • Be Patient with Yourself: Understand that it takes time to adjust to a new job. Allow yourself to be a beginner and remember that becoming proficient in your role is a process that involves continuous learning and adaptation.
  • Organize Your Work: Start by setting short-term goals and organizing your tasks efficiently. This can help manage feelings of being overwhelmed and give you a sense of achievement as you tick items off your list.
  • Ask A Lot Of Questions: Don't be afraid to ask questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. Seeking clarification not only helps you learn faster but also demonstrates your eagerness and commitment to your new role.  
  • Take Notes: Keep a notebook handy to jot down important information, from names and roles of colleagues to specific procedures or software tips. This can be a valuable resource as you learn the ropes.  (I keep a small notebook in a leather cover in my back pocket…)
  • Focus on Building Relationships as quickly as you can: Invest time in getting to know your colleagues. Strong work relationships can provide emotional support, enhance collaboration, and make your work environment a lot more enjoyable.

So… Get Started And Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Starting a new job is undoubtedly a significant life event filled with challenges and opportunities. While it's natural to feel anxious or fearful, recognizing these emotions as part of the transition can help you approach them constructively. By preparing thoroughly, embracing a growth attitude, building relationships, seeking support, and caring for your well-being, you can navigate the new job jitters effectively. Remember, every job is a journey of learning and growth, (so is life in general) and with the right strategies, you can turn your anxieties into opportunities for personal and professional development.

Embrace the change with confidence, knowing that with patience, perseverance, and a positive outlook, you'll find your footing and thrive in your new role.

Dean Benson, "The Dean of Rock & Roll" on!

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