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Stop feeling so anxious about your new job with these 10 tips

May 6, 2022 - 12 min read

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What is new job anxiety?

Is it normal to have anxiety when starting a new job?

5 symptoms of new job anxiety

How to overcome job anxiety

4 extra tips to boost your confidence at work

Moving forward

Congratulations — you've just landed your dream job. 

That’s good news. You're proud of yourself. And you should be. 

It’s also bad news. You’ve landed your dream job — now what? 

Your first day is approaching, and anxiety is creeping in. You’re thinking about how important it is to make a good first impression with your new colleagues. You're already rehearsing your introduction. You want to establish your competence and authority and set good boundaries. You also want to make sure your new boss likes you. 

Thinking about all this makes your palms sweat and heart rate jump.

New job anxiety has set in, and you haven’t even started yet. Some new job anxiety is inevitable, but that doesn't mean it has to stay. Learning what new job anxiety is and how to overcome it will make for a better, less stressful transition to your new job.

 

What is new job anxiety?

People sometimes call job anxiety the jitters, and it happens to anybody and everybody. Anxiety itself occurs when we experience change or new situations, so adjusting to a new job is a prime time for it to strike. 

Many things about your new job can induce anxiety. You have a new workplace to get used to commuting to, a new office, new managers. Everything is new, and you aren't comfortable yet. Perhaps this is a significant career change for you, and you're anxious about avoiding failure.

Or, you could be worried that your new workplace will cause burnout and that toxic leadership lurks around the corner. 

Pointing it out and acknowledging your anxieties is a good start to overcoming them. 

If you already struggle with your mental health, starting a new job with anxiety or depression feels impossible — but trust us, it’s not.

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Is it normal to have anxiety when starting a new job?

New job anxiety is so normal that it's likely more surprising if you don't experience any anxiety when starting a new job. Almost uncommon and suspicious even. People wonder how long new job anxiety lasts, and for that answer, it all depends on the individual themselves. 

For some, it only lasts the first week, during their onboarding. For others, the anxiety can last several weeks. It can come and go throughout the day, depending on your tasks or who’s in your meetings.

It's natural to feel anxious in any new situation, so why look at new job anxiety differently? You're starting from scratch in a new role with new people.

5 symptoms of new job anxiety

Anxiety makes itself known in both physical and mental ways. Some people experience sweaty palms, while others get headaches. Here are five symptoms of work anxiety that you may feel when starting a new job:

  1. Your appetite has disappeared
  2. You're  physically exhausted and mentally exhausted after each day
  3. Your heart rate has increased
  4. Your mind is filled with imposter syndrome 
  5. You’ve become more self-conscious about everything

Just because some anxiety is expected, doesn’t mean you have to suffer or continue to feel overwhelmed by work in your personal time. A BetterUp coach can provide the support and guidance you need to understand your anxiety and symptoms and work to overcome them.

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How to overcome job anxiety

You want to get over your new job anxiety to enjoy your new role and get into your new work. Remember how much effort you put into landing this new position? Don’t let that go to waste by sinking into self-criticism or negative self-talk. Unchecked anxiety can lead to burnout or self-sabotage.

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Check out these 10 coping strategies to help you deal with new job anxiety:

  1. Avoid all-or-nothing thinking and ask for feedback to learn as you onboard into your role
  2. Practice deep breathing exercises 
  3. Check-in with loved ones to take your mind off work
  4. Take notes during your onboarding and training
  5. Stop comparing yourself to other more experienced employees
  6. Remind yourself that your employer hired you for a reason — use positive affirmations 
  7. Watch and learn from other coworkers to see how they tackle work
  8. Identify and name what is making you anxious 
  9. Practice emotional regulation. Let yourself feel your emotions, but don't let them consume you
  10. Remember that you aren't the only one who's ever felt new job anxiety

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4 extra tips to boost your confidence at work

Waiting for new job anxiety to pass won't do you much good, and if we don't try our best to cope with our anxiety, it could worsen. Understand that you can face your anxiety yourself rather than wait for things to improve.

Read these four tips to give your confidence a boost:

1. Make an effort to connect with people

Seeing a friendly face around your new office helps ease our nerves and makes us feel more relaxed. Knowing that we have new co-workers around us to ask questions, eat lunch with, and chat with makes a huge difference.

Even if you make friends slowly, connecting with your new colleagues will ease feelings of anxiety. It will also strengthen your collaboration and teamwork skills, which makes work easier.

2. Start with a good morning routine

It's all in the preparation. Before you head off to work, let yourself have a relaxing morning. Eat a good breakfast, listen to your favorite music, or play with your pets. Let your mornings feel calming rather than rushed so you don't walk into work feeling overwhelmed.

Practice the commute before your first day so you know where to go, and time how long your morning routine takes you so that you're more organized and ready to start your day on the right foot.

3. Celebrate your achievements

Did you complete your first day at work? That calls for some celebration. Each day that you get through or each time you've had a job well-done, make sure that reward yourself for it. The more we recognize our successes, the more our confidence builds.

We see that we're capable of creating change, and it squashes feelings of self-doubt, too. Celebrating our achievements can be done by practicing self-care, like enjoying some ice cream or doing some mindful meditation.

4. Adopt a positive attitude and growth mindset

You did land this new job, right? They chose you to fill this role. It's an opportunity to grow and expand your skill sets. New situations are often uncomfortable, but they’re also exciting. Cultivating a positive mental attitude while you navigate these new experiences will help you reap the benefits, now and in the future.

Making mistakes fuels your growth and learning — and everyone does it from time to time.

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Moving forward

We can’t emphasize enough that feelings of anxiety when you start a new job are normal. It doesn’t mean that you’ve made a horrible mistake. Don’t hit send on that email begging for your old job back! 

Even the most successful CEOs have experienced new job anxiety. But that doesn't mean you should roll over and succumb to thoughts that serve no good purpose.

In the moment, it feels like you don't belong (because you don’t yet — belonging takes time). But you have to make an effort to counter those negative thoughts with positive ones.

When we try our best to understand our worth and all that we have to contribute to our new jobs, with time, we'll look back and wonder what we were so nervous about in the first place.

Find someone to help you stay focused on your wellness while growing your career. BetterUp can provide the guidance you need to develop the resilience and mental fitness skills to cope with work anxiety and any other bumps that come your way.

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Published May 6, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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