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First Day Jitters – How to Deal with Anxiety Over Starting a New Job

a girl shaking hands in a work meeting

Let’s face it–starting a new job comes with a wave of emotions. You can go from being excited about the new opportunity to nervous about what’s next at a moment’s notice. Having butterflies or nervous jitters is completely normal and okay.

While many jobs offer some sort of new-hire orientation to help alleviate anxiety, it’s common to still face first-day fears. It’s okay if you’re feeling anxious the night before starting a new job and being unable to sleep.

It’s okay if this occurs for the first couple of days as you get used to your new role and surroundings. If you start hitting weeks or a month of being unable to sleep, you’re having panic attacks or you’re losing weight over a job, that could be due to an anxiety disorder.

Throughout this article, we will discuss tips to overcome anxiety around starting a new job.

Identify Anxiety Triggers

This is a big step and task to handling anxiety around a new job. While some companies will provide a schedule of onboarding tasks or give you a list of your new responsibilities, that isn’t always the case. It’s more than fair and okay to ask your new boss or supervisor what a typical day will look like. You can also ask for a list of people you should be connecting with and make a list of any and all questions you might have.

If you’re nervous about meeting new people and being in a new setting, make a list of conversation starters that you can use or write down answers to common questions you might get. It’s also okay to set boundaries about how much of your personal life you feel comfortable sharing. It could be that you’re okay with saying you have children and how many, but not their ages or the general location or area you live in.

Be Patient

Feeling 100% comfortable in your new role won’t happen overnight, and that’s okay. It’s important to be patient with yourself and others as you onboard and get used to your new job and responsibilities. Even if you’ve been in the industry or in a similar role, it’s still a new venture with things to learn.

Identify Contacts

Going into your first day, try to find out who you can go to if you have questions. Having a person you can learn from and lean on can help reduce overall anxiety. Most jobs will provide a peer mentor, trainer, or “buddy” to new employees. If you haven’t heard who this would be, ask your manager if they can recommend a resource.

Manage Expectations

Try to set small and obtainable goals when starting a new job. As much as you might want to “hit the ground running” and jump into the new role, some parts are easier to learn than others. Be prepared to face some glitches or minor setbacks. In the world of working remotely, it’s okay if a tech issue occurs or you can’t get signed in right away. These things happen.

Also, try setting expectations at home. If you have family at home, talk to them ahead of time to level set with how things might be while adjusting to your new role. If you’re feeling nervous, let them know so they can help you with things you’d normally handle.

Ask Questions

As hard as it can be, try to build confidence in asking for help. It’s an important skill and step when starting a new role. This can help you outside of work as well. No one will be expecting you to know and understand everything from day one. It’s okay to ask questions. You can also have someone to confirm things or explain it more than once while you’re getting up to speed. Asking questions should be seen as a strength and a positive, not a sign of incompetence.

Remember, you were hired to your new role for a reason. You’ve got this! Reach out to us to learn more about career counseling.

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