New Job Anxiety: 21 Tips to Bolster Your Confidence
New job Anxiety: After 17 years of
self-employment, I’m back! It was a good run but I’ve grown tired and had some
business failures which pushed me over the line in search of job stability.
All in all, self-employment
was a positive experience. I learned more about business working for myself
than any classroom could teach.
I’ve been operating like a
lone wolf all these years and feel it’s time to get back to a team environment.
It will be good for me.
Having said that, I’m
crapping my pants. I will be bringing man diapers in my briefcase. Did I just
say briefcase? Talk about being a dinosaur! I’m experiencing anxiety about how
I will transition back to this environment. I come from the land of fax
machines and rolodexes.
I’ve been calling all the
shots for the past 17 years - after reporting to my General - my wife,
Melissa. When all is said and done, we
all report to someone, even the self-employed!
Back to the new job anxiety.
How does one deal? Here’s what I’m going to do:
- Accept that
it’s time for a change – a positive one!
- Embrace the
anxiety. It’s just anxiety. I know, easier said than done. But do it. It will
- Have faith. I
believe life, God, the universe (whatever you believe in) has always guided me.
Ultimately, things usually happen for good reasons. Have faith in this journey.
- Acknowledge your
past successes. Most of us have had jobs in the past. There’s no reason we
can’t function in a new one.
- Consider the
upside. Think about all you have to gain from this new job – renewed
confidence, self-esteem, new skills, new colleagues, new environment, perhaps a
- Enjoy the new you. You will evolve as a human being and experience a sense of fulfillment.
- Employ the use of hypnotherapy and meditation. Melissa can help me (and you!) with this!
New job anxiety is something
we all must face and overcome. It’s as if it’s part of the job! I’m looking
forward to this new experience and will certainly follow my own advice.
I know things will work out –
maybe not exactly as I think they will, but they will.
Now shine those shoes, smile,
and walk into your new office with confidence. You can do it! ~Ted Dealing with Rage
New Job Anxiety: 21 Tips to Bolster Your Confidence ~parts adapted via Choosingtherapy.com
1. Practice Self Validation
Before your first day, reflect on why you were hired—after all, you were likely selected over others, so determine why YOU. Choose just one strength or trait that you believe qualifies you for this job.
When you experience the inevitable new-job anxiety as you begin, notice it and pause briefly. Take a slow, deep breath to reset, and remind yourself of this single strength. Imagine yourself using it on the job. Keep it at the forefront of your mind to boost your confidence and reduce your anxiety.
YOU got this job, because of your talent. No one can take this away from you, and this is your time to shine, so sit back, take deep breaths, and enjoy the ride in this new chapter in your life!
2. Practice Mindfulness
When you're feeling really anxious about starting a new job, one of the best things you can do is try out some mindfulness techniques. While this might not necessarily solve your anxiety, it can lessen the symptoms, and even encourage you to think about the cause of the anxiety and find a productive solution.
The point of mindfulness is to provide you with more clarity, while also giving yourself the chance to calm down and unwind. Mindfulness techniques can help to ground you in the present, instead of feeling anxious about the future. This way, you can acknowledge your anxieties and find a way to accept them, and let go.
3. Challenge Your Catastrophic Thinking
When starting a new job, or doing anything new that causes anxiety, a tip I like to encourage is challenging your thoughts. When people feel anxious, they often resort to thinking about the “worst-case” scenario: "If I don’t get that report to my boss today, I’m going to get fired!" That may be a possibility, but there are most likely other possibilities that aren’t being considered. I encourage my clients to think through not only the worst-case scenario but also, the best-case, and likely scenarios and how they would respond in each situation. This helps give the brain alternative things to focus on, while also helping us see the situation in a new light.
4. Talk to a Friend & Ask for Encouragement
Doubt is a huge source of anxiety. Remind yourself that you can do the job by thinking about all of your qualifications. If it’s hard to give yourself positive feedback, call a close friend or relative, and have them tell you all of the great things about you and how you are more than qualified for the job.
5. Reframe Your Anxious Thoughts
If the thought is "I’m not going to be as qualified as my new coworkers" and you think about that thought in the days leading up to the start date of the new job, it will increase your anxiety as the days go by. Start by identifying the thoughts you’re having that are coming from a place of anxiety. Next, see if you can determine the function of the anxious thought. With the previous example, the function of that thought might be so you do not do something embarrassing in front of new coworkers.
Once you have acknowledged where the thought is coming from, see if you can take the function into consideration and reframe the thought into something more balanced and helpful. If the initial thought was "I’m not going to be as qualified as my new coworkers" and I recognize that my thinking is trying to make certain I don’t over step and embarrass myself, I can reframe my thinking to "There is a learning curve at any new job," or, "My coworkers know a lot about this specific system that I’m new to and can’t understand yet." Then, balance it out with a thought that speaks to your competence, such as "They wouldn’t have hired me if I weren't qualified," or, "I bring really important skills to this job with me."
6. Get Everything Ready the Night Before
Preparation can always help first day nerves. You want to get everything ready the night before, to ensure in the morning you are not flustered and caught off guard. Do a trial run the day before around the time you are due to start—by minimizing all these possibilities that can go wrong, you will feel much more relaxed.
7. Figure Out Practical Details Beforehand
Practice before your first day on the job. Drive the same route you will take to your new office so that you will know exactly how to get there and how long it will take. If possible, learn where you will park and where to check-in on your first morning. Ask where to arrive and who to check-in with when you get there that first day. Being prepared will alleviate some of those first day jitters.
8. Plan a Reward
Plan something enjoyable to do after your first day. Knowing fun lies ahead can shift your anxious energy into a more positive and excited mindset.
9. Thank Your Anxiety for Protecting You
Having some level of anxiety when starting a new job is actually helpful. We want to have some anxiety because it keeps us on our toes, ensures we’re productive, etc. So reframe the unhelpful parts of your anxiety and keep hold of the anxiety that is creating motivation to do well at your new job.
10. Identify Your Resources
Ask who you can turn to if you have questions or concerns. Find out how to contact the HR, learn about your proper chain of command, and figure out which coworkers can be helpful to you in learning the ropes. Doing It alone is scary in any situation; knowing who can be a support for you can help reduce the anxiety of starting at your new job.
11. Engage With Your New Peers
Remember that everyone started somewhere. You may be intimidated by your supervisor or those who are more experienced than you. When possible, try talking to these people and see what you can learn from them. You may find that they had similar feelings when they started working. Also, engage with your peers who can provide you with support and encouragement.
12. Get a Mentor in a Similar Position
Find a mentor or a colleague who can show you the ropes and invite them for coffee or lunch. Tell them you want to learn about what they do, most people love the chance to share their story with you. Having a friend at work will ease your anxiety because you will find out you are not the only one going through the same things.
13. Act as If You Are Not Anxious
Acting "as if" is a method in therapy that is a fancy way of saying "fake it ‘till you make it." Begin by identifying all of the things that you are currently anxious about regarding the job. Perhaps the list includes meeting new people, appearing confident, or learning the new system. Act as if you are a confident, social person who is skilled at learning new systems. If you are not sure entirely what that would look like, envision someone who you have met before who you viewed as confident, easily able to meet new people, and seemingly entered into new systems unphased. Act as if you are emulating that person. Behave in the ways that they used to behave, while doing so in a way that feels genuine.
While it might take some time, acting "as if" can be very helpful in seeing yourself behave in ways that you want to be behaving. If you act confident in that setting, your coworkers will see you in that light. If you are social from day one, they will know you to be social. Eventually the acting will become less and less, and you will feel comfortable in the space enough to be confident and social without feeling like you’re acting "as if."14. Be Clear on Your New Role
Some things that can be helpful in reducing your anxiety and stress are to:
15. Accept Feedback & Be Patient
- Get clarity from your supervisor (Know what your role is!)
- Be gentle with yourself (Starting a new job is a learning curve; no one is good at their job from day one.)
- Have an action plan of how you’re going to get organized in your job so that you know what you have to do and have the right tools to get things done.
It's okay to not know everything right away. Your work tasks will take more time right now as you are learning the systems, processes, and culture of your workplace. Be patient with yourself during the transition, own up to what you don’t know with your colleagues and supervisors, and seek out help from others as you acclimate to your new position. 16. Get to Know as Many People as You Can on the First Day
Although this can be overwhelming and increase anxiety, getting to know your coworkers at the start of a new job helps to mitigate some of the work-related stress. Part of these stresses is usually linked to meeting new people which is a lingering feeling when you do not know many people after weeks of being there.
Simply try to introduce yourself to as many people as you can and get to know their positions. This can also help when you need assistance with something at work and can make work tasks much less stressful as you now have people you can ask for help!
To implement this easily, take a walk around during your break time and say hello to those who are around you. This will also help those around you to recognize you and be much more apt to help you if need be.17. Focus on the Job
I always tell my clients to write a list of everything they are doing when feeling overwhelmed, but it’s not just about organization. Often a new employee thinks they are not keeping up or learning fast enough. The list of new tasks is usually 1 or 2 pages long. That’s concrete evidence that you are doing quite a lot!18. Manage Your Expectations
Check in with your expectations—even though it might feel really good to hit the ground running immediately, some parts of every job are easier to pick up than others. Would most people reasonably expect a learning curve?19. Stay Out of the Fray
Sitting with the uncertainty of not knowing how to excel is hard, and most people get better at their jobs over time. Your desire to do well is a strength, and so is freeing up your mental energy for the task at hand.
Keep yourself out of any office drama and politics. It is always better to mind your own business, and if someone talks negatively to you. Listen but don’t respond in a way that makes you a part of some mess. Office politics can get dirty.
At times there are workplaces that aren’t open to new employees. In such cases, you need to blend in with everyone but at the same time, not indulge in others’ matters. Other than this, also make sure to discuss your problems with your superiors. It is always best to communicate things timely rather than after they go wrong.
If you face any kind of discrimination regarding your race or even some other sort of inclusion issues, discuss them. Your managers are there to help and support you in whatever way they can.20. Let Yourself Feel Anxious
Normalize anxiety. Allow yourself to feel it. It is normal to feel anxious when we are about to experience the unknown, especially when it is something that we put a lot of weight on, like a new job. Anxious anticipation and excitement trigger the same adrenaline response and can feel remarkably similar in the body.
Reframe what this feeling means:
- First, take a few deep breaths
- Second, remind yourself that you are doing your best and that is all we can ever do
- See this opportunity as a new adventure that is creating a sense of excitement within you, rather than focusing on a negative outcome.
21. Consider Hypnotherapy
Hypnotherapy allows you to speak directly with your subconscious mind - the part of yourself running the show! The consistent practice of hypnotherapy has been show to help you get into alignment with your values and your goals all while in a focused and relaxed state - a position of control.
Basically, hypnotherapy helps you get on your own side quickly and easily! Try one of my complimentary Mellow Moments to get your mind calm and focused:)
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