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Managing New Job Anxiety

Whether you’re entering the workforce for the first time or transitioning to a different company, starting a new job can cause a variety of challenges and anxieties. Preparing yourself ahead of time for potential stressors can help you ease into your role from day one.

New jobs & imposter syndrome

One feeling associated with starting a new position is imposter syndrome. This negative attitude or belief about your qualifications may prevent you from taking healthy risks out of a fear of failure. Imposter syndrome is incredibly common, with studies showing that around 82% of people struggle with it in their careers. This condition is prominent in high-achieving individuals and can make competent employees feel insecure about their abilities, avoid feedback from their superiors, and even turn down new opportunities.

If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, there are several methods for restoring confidence in yourself. Psychologists recommend talking about your feelings with a trusted individual outside your professional circle. Speaking with friends and family can provide a comfortable and familiar environment to discuss insecurities and find renewed confidence.

Psychologists also recommend viewing failures as opportunities to grow and acknowledging your own successes rather than brushing them off. Reframing your conception of success and failure is a great way to conquer feelings of inadequacy in the workplace.

Social stressors at the office

Stressed about socializing with new coworkers at the water cooler or introducing yourself in meetings? Social anxiety is common at a new job, making it difficult to connect with colleagues, supervisors, and team members. If you’re experiencing social anxiety in anticipation of your first day, don’t panic—there are a variety of techniques for managing it while on the clock. 

Getting acquainted with your coworkers can make your working environment much more comfortable. Try to get to know your coworkers as people rather than keeping things strictly business. Studies show that small talk improves connections and enhances creative thinking. 

Small talk is also a great tool for becoming acclimated to speaking at meetings. Arriving early to the meeting room and casually conversing with colleagues can help break the ice. However, if the thought of small talk with your supervisor sounds too intimidating, look for alternative ways to keep up active communication. Email and instant messaging are extremely common and normalized ways to keep in touch and ease into a working relationship.

Tips for your first day

To manage your first-day fears and start your new job with less stress, try the following techniques:

  • Attend onboarding sessions, training, and new hire meetings – If your company hosts an event for new hires, be sure to attend. Not only will it help you acclimate to the workplace more quickly, but it can also provide opportunities to meet coworkers.
  • Brainstorm casual questions to ask your coworkers – While it may seem unnecessary to prepare for casual conversations, small talk can be difficult at the moment. Think of questions both related and unrelated to work that can help you become acquainted with your colleagues. This could include anything from “Where are you from?” to “What is your role here?”
  • Go easy on yourself – Starting a new job and adjusting to a new environment is not easy. It will take trial and error, and you may not have success on your first attempt. Don’t internalize failures—remember that you are highly qualified for your role (you wouldn’t be hired if you weren’t!) and give yourself a break.

Seeking help

If you’re struggling with more severe and persistent symptoms of anxiety since starting a new job, get in touch with our counselors at Valley Oaks Health. We offer numerous services to help address stressors so you can put your best foot forward.

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