Starting a New Job Is Terrifying

I find starting a new job to be one of the most stressful things in the world.

I have worked numerous jobs, ranging from hospitality to office work, and each time I am filled with nervousness on my first day. Recently, I started a new part-time job and, once again, I felt sick to my stomach.

What is it that makes starting a new job so stressful? For me, there are several factors. I am really shy, and so the social pressure of meeting new people, trying to remember names, and making a good impression is terrifying in itself. Then there’s having to take in so much new information at once. What are the systems in place here? Where does everything go? What are the dos and don’ts at this workplace? Usually the existing employees, however willing to help they may be, don’t realise exactly how much there is that you need to learn. I often find myself asking a billion questions and feeling like an absolute idiot.  On top of all of this, there is the crippling fear that you are not good enough for the job, that the employer will regret hiring you, and that you will lose your source of income!

The stressful nature of starting a new job means that I never perform well in my first week. Usually, I am so nervous that I make multiple mistakes, which only adds to my nervousness! Sometimes at the end of my first day, I just want to give up.

So how can I possibly deal with all these feelings to be able to just get on with the work? These are a few of the strategies that I am going to try to use:

  1. Reminding myself that the stress won’t last. If I think back to when I have started other jobs, I always felt similarly stressed but quickly picked things up and felt comfortable in the workplace after a few weeks. All I need to do is tough it out for the first little while and things will get easier.
  2. Not expecting perfection. Everyone stuffs up, especially when they are new at something. I need to remind myself that all I can do is try my best, and there is no point in worrying about not being perfect.
  3. Intentionally building up my self-confidence. In my spare time, I will try to do activities that I feel confident in and surround myself with people who make me feel strong and validated. That way, my self-worth is not resting entirely on something that is so new to me!
  4. Letting myself rest. I will plan extra time to decompress after days at the new job, acknowledging that intense learning can be really exhausting for my brain!

Have you ever felt this way starting a new job, or indeed starting something new in general? How did you overcome it?

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