Have you watched the movie “The Devil Wears Prada“? Remember Andrea Sachs, the fresh-out-of-college character played by Anne Hathaway? Her first day at the prestigious fashion magazine, Runway, is something most of us can relate to. Andrea is nervous, feels like a fish out of water, and has to deal with a tough-to-please boss. If you’re like Andrea and feeling nervous about starting a new job tomorrow, you’re probably feeling a bit jittery too.
A report from Linkedin says that about 80% of professionals feel some degree of stress or nervousness when they’re about to start a new job. So, if your stomach is doing flip-flops just thinking about your first day, guess what? You’re not alone!
The good news is I’ve got some handy tips for you to shoo away those butterflies. In this article, I’ll guide you through calming those nerves and starting your new adventure with confidence. So, take a deep breath, relax, and read on!
Reasons Why You Feel Nervous When You Start a New Job
There are several reasons why many of us feel anxious when stepping into a new role. The fear of the unknown, high personal standards, or being introverted can amplify new job jitters.
Additionally, the pressure to make a good first impression and the uncertainty about a company’s culture or the dynamics within a new team can contribute to stress and anxiety.
I, for one, used to feel insecure every time I started a new job in the early years of my career. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, was scared of making mistakes, and was convinced everyone wouldn’t like me. This self-doubt was deep-rooted and took me a long time to shake off. The tips I share below helped me immensely in overcoming these feelings.
Read More: 13 Ways To Stop Feeling Incompetent At Work
Signs of Nervousness
If you’re feeling jittery or anxious in the days leading up to your start date, know that it’s completely normal, and indeed, necessary. Signs of nervousness can include trouble sleeping, restlessness, or a racing heart. You might also feel overwhelmed by unknowns or doubt whether you’re qualified for the job.
It’s important to remember, however, that these feelings don’t necessarily mean you’re not good at the job you’ve been hired to do. Your body is preparing you for the unexpected, making you more aware and alert. This type of anxiety has allowed humans to survive and thrive throughout history.
14 Tips to Overcome New Job Anxiety
Now, let’s get to the heart of this article – here are 14 practical tips to help you manage and overcome anxiety about your new job.
1. Build your self-confidence
To manage work-related anxiety, consider engaging in beneficial activities during your commute, such as listening to podcasts, audiobooks, or soothing music that provides specific advice on handling anxiety.
Preparing yourself psychologically before work, consuming motivational content, and consciously improving your self-confidence can set the stage for success.
In combating job anxiety, self-confidence is key, and recognizing your value as an individual and a co-worker is crucial. Adopting the right mindset and applying this simple strategy can significantly help manage your work anxiety.
2. Preparation is Key
“Often a lack of confidence is due to a lack of preparedness,” says Adriana Girdler, a seasoned business productivity specialist.
She suggests starting by preparing the night before the big day. Choose an outfit that makes you feel good and portrays a good impression.
Also get to know your new role and the company before your first day. The information you’ve gathered during your interview process and the research you’ve made will quell some of your jitters.
Remember, Adriana adds, “Don’t forget to pack your bag the night before as well.” She recommends bringing things like pens and paper and suggests taking notes on your first day. Having these essentials ready can boost your confidence and show that you’re ready to start working.
3. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your mood and energy levels, helping to calm your nerves for the big day.
Going to bed early can provide you with ample rest, ensuring you wake up refreshed, clear-headed, and ready to face your first day at work.
An early rise also gives you sufficient time to prepare, reducing potential morning stress. This combination of restful sleep and an unhurried morning can significantly reduce first-day nerves and set the tone for a successful day.
4. Plan Your Route
Knowing how to get to your new workplace can help to ease the anxiety you feel about your first day, especially if your work location is different from your interview location.
5. Dress for Success
Wearing professional and comfortable clothes can boost your confidence and reduce some feelings of anxiety.
It is essential to familiarize yourself with your company’s dress code and align with the office culture. In the finance sector, such as banking, a professional dress code is typically expected, while IT companies tend to have a more casual attire policy.
Dressing appropriately can help you fit right into your new environment. As Don Georgevich, a veteran career coach suggests:
“Find out what people are wearing. It used to be traditional to wear a suit on your first day, but that is old-school thinking.”
You want to blend in, not stand out for the wrong reasons.
6. Prepare Conversation Starters
If you’re an introvert, meeting new colleagues can be a daunting task. Having a few conversation starters prepared can help ease this stress.
Simple questions like, “What project are you currently working on?” or “Do you have any favorite lunch spots around here?” can be effective icebreakers. They show your interest in others’ opinions and foster a friendly work environment.
7. Practice Mindfulness and Breathing Techniques
Simple mindfulness exercises can help calm your nerves and reduce stress and anxiety. For instance, taking a few minutes to focus on your breath can ground you and help to clear your mind of racing thoughts.
Likewise, practicing mindful meditation can increase your awareness of your feelings and emotions, thereby enabling you to better manage the jitters associated with starting a new job.
8. Set Realistic Expectations
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Remember that it’s okay to not know everything right away. It usually takes three to six months for new hires to become fully productive.
It’s your first day, and everyone knows that. Make work a learning process, not a test.
9. Ask Questions
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your hiring manager or human resources if you have queries before your first day.
“Don’t be afraid to call on them. After all, they’re not going to take away the job that they just gave to you,” advises Georgevich.
Also don’t be afraid to ask questions on your first day at work. It shows you’re interested and eager to learn, and it’ll help quell fears about the unknown.
10. Stay Positive
Remember to focus on the positive. Instead of thinking about everything that could go wrong, find things to look forward to.
Recognize that the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and grow in your career are all exciting aspects of starting a new job.
With this positive mindset, you’ll not only alleviate your anxiety, but also set the stage for success and job satisfaction.
11. Keep in Mind That It Will Get Easier
Starting a new job is overwhelming, but remember, every day you’re there, it’ll become more familiar and less daunting.
The initial confusion and fear of making mistakes are normal parts of any new experience, including jobs.
Just remember, as you navigate through your tasks and get acquainted with the team, these feelings will gradually subside and be replaced with comfort and confidence.
12. Don’t Try to Over-impress. Be Yourself
Chasing after perfection can lead to unnecessary stress and can actually diminish your performance. Instead, strive to be the best version of yourself, learning from mistakes along the way, and understand that growth comes with time and experience.
Remember, it’s your authenticity and certain skills that helped you land the job. So, don’t let imposter syndrome creep in.
13. Talk To Someone
Never worry alone. When you voice your anxieties to friends and family, it prevents you from becoming trapped in your own thoughts and helps you realize that the problem may not be as big as it seems.
14. Maintain Balance
According to Doctor Mike, anxiety manifests differently in people; some might overeat, while others might not eat at all. Neither extreme is beneficial. It’s important to maintain a balanced diet and incorporate regular exercise into your routine. Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals released during exercise, can help alleviate anxiety.
Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. However, by implementing these 14 tips, you can overcome your nervousness, make a great first impression and pave the way for success in your new adventure.