Starting a new job can make just about everyone a little nervous. There are a lot of unknowns involved. The position might be something entirely different for you. Your co-workers, commute, and so much more may all be quite new for you. Simply put, feeling anxious is normal and somewhat inevitable.
However, if you’re feeling more anxiety than you can handle, it is essential that you find ways to alleviate as much of it as possible in advance. The goal shouldn’t be an anxiety-free experience. Rather, you just want to get to a place where you’re feeling a manageable amount of first-day jitters.
How to Keep Your First Day at a New Job Anxiety at Bay
As touched on above, some anxiety is normal. So, don’t amplify it by timing so much of your focus on worrying and nervousness. Everyone gets new job anxiety and almost always, it lasts beyond the first day. Prepare yourself for an ongoing process and allow yourself to ease into the situation. A few suggestions:
Set yourself up for success, e.g.
- Practice the new commute at least once to get a feel for timing and logistics
- Scope out the area for possible lunch places
- Find out ahead of time how people tend to dress
- Learn as much as possible about the workplace culture, your future boss and co-workers, and anything else that will ease your mind
The night before that big first day, staying organized will calm your nerves. Some options to consider:
- Pick out your outfit
- Set your alarm extra early to give yourself time to move slowly and eat a healthy breakfast
- Plan to arrive early
Remind Yourself Why They Hired You
Before hitting the sack, take a few minutes to silence some doubts. Re-read your resume. Remind yourself how qualified you are. Impress yourself! If you got letters of recommendation, proudly read them aloud. Think about how you were the one chosen for this job.
Also, re-read any encouraging messages you got from friends and family. Bask in their support and feel secure that they are always there — even when you have one of those bad days at work. Imposter syndrome is a real thing. A powerful way to counter it is to focus on the facts: you are qualified, supported, and ready.
Practice Your Coping Mechanisms
When the big day arrives, inevitably, there will be some moments that make you edgy. Prepare for them beforehand. Practice your calming techniques. It may be breathing exercises, listening to mellow music, or whatever has worked in the past.
This is a good time to remind you to use your allotted break time. Sure, you may want to impress everyone by working through breaks but that is not sustainable. Take your breaks. Get outside if possible. Help yourself recharge before getting back to the tasks at hand.
Plan to Avoid Gossip
Some of your new co-workers may try to spill the tea about workplace politics. You can respectfully listen without agreeing or adding to the drama. Establish early on that you’re a team player and you appreciate a friendly conversation. But this doesn’t mean you’ll engage in gossip.
When First-Day Jitters Feel Like Too Much
For some of you, the pressure building up to your first day is a major challenge. If this sounds familiar, there is absolutely no reason to go it alone. Therapy can help in those weeks and days before you start the job. You’ll have a safe space to explore your emotions and develop new approaches. Let’s connect for a free consultation and get things off to a great start with career counseling or anxiety therapy.