New job anxiety and 4 ways to cope with it
While it’s an exciting experience, starting a new job can be stressful, and new job anxiety is real. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you show up on your first day without knowing anyone or any job basics? Nobody likes that.
Still, it’s important to break through this initial stage of new job anxiety in order to get to what’s important: becoming an expert at your new position and, ultimately, taking your career to the next step. If you’re starting a new job in the new year, here’s everything you need to know about new job anxiety and how to deal with it.
What is new job anxiety?
New job anxiety involves feelings of stress, nervousness, excitement, sleeplessness, fear, depression and being overwhelmed at the prospect of switching positions. Depending on why, how and when you began your new job, these feelings can be minor, or extremely pronounced.
For instance, someone who’s starting a new job because they were fired or let go from a previous position might have a lot of new job anxiety. They might be asking themselves if they’re good enough to do the new job at hand, or whether or not they’ll be let go again.
On the other hand, someone who’s switching jobs because they’re excited about a career change or want to “level up” in their current career might only experience minor nervousness during their first few days on the job. No matter what your circumstances are, new job anxiety can be difficult to contend with without helpful coping strategies.
How long does new job anxiety last?
New job anxiety can last anywhere from one to two days, a week, or, in some cases, several months on the job. The difference depends on how anxious you are about taking on a new position, as well as what kind of job you’re performing.
People who suffer from high levels of imposter syndrome who take on high-level positions often have a lot of new job anxiety, whereas people who work in slower businesses performing simpler work might not feel stressed at all.
How to get over new job anxiety
The first step to overcoming new job anxiety in the new year involves practicing validation. Try to remember what you went through to get this job, and how much you overcame to make it happen. Not only did you potentially leave an old, comfortable position behind (which is hard to do!), but you also beat a competitive, multi-candidate hiring process in order to become the most qualified employee for the job.
Each time you’re experiencing new job anxiety, remember that there was a reason you were picked in the first place. Take a deep breath, settle in and pat yourself on the back — and take comfort knowing you’ll feel a lot better soon.
Reach out to friends and family
Part of the reason new job anxiety is so prevalent is that you’re leaving behind old office relationships for new ones. Without people to sit next to in the break room or meet up with for drinks post-hours, a new job might feel isolating.
To combat this, lean into other relationships while your new office relationships are still growing. Gain support from friends, family and partners during this time, and try to remind yourself that you didn’t become instant friends with people at your previous job, either. In time, you’ll soon have the same connections you once did with old coworkers.
Remember that everyone was once a new employee
Look around you. Everyone at this office, construction site, restaurant, school, firm or media company was once in your exact shoes. That’s right: everybody is a new employee at some point, and that means they all went through what you’re going through right now.
Not only is this beneficial for reducing new job anxiety, but it also means most people you work with will be more than happy to show you how to get the hang of things if you ask them. In fact, asking for assistance in your first few days and weeks is a great way to open the door to friendships with new coworkers, managers and other colleagues.
New job anxiety doesn’t just go away without help. It needs somewhere to go. So why not put it in a journal? Instead of letting your new job anxiety derail your social or work life, try venting about your feelings of anxiety in a personal or online journal. Doing so can mitigate feelings of nervousness and help you feel more at peace when you’re at work.
Above all, remember that while new job anxiety is scary, it doesn’t actually last all that long. Soon enough you’re going to be a pro at your current position, and you’ll be on the other end of things — helping the new new employee out, instead of asking questions about how to get things done.
Do you struggle with anxiety attacks? Check out our blog on 5 ways to crush an anxiety attack here.