Getting a new job can be an exciting time—however, for some people, applying for a new position is more challenging than exciting. There are several reasons why a person may be afraid to get a job, including phobias and previous negative experiences. Being able to identify your fears is an important first step in overcoming them. In this article, we'll explore several reasons why an individual may have a fear of getting a job and five ways to to overcome this fear.
Reasons why people fear getting a job
For people who prefer familiar routines, the job application process can present many unknown factors, which can cause anxiety. A few of the reasons why people might fear getting a job include:
1. A previous negative experience or incident
A previous negative experience or event in the workplace is one reason why some people experience fear related to getting a job. For example, if someone experienced an injury while at work, they may fear returning to work in case another injury occurs. Other examples of negative experiences include at-work bullying, harassment, being let go from a previous position and being in a traumatic situation.
2. Performance anxiety
Finding a new job means submitting applications, going through the interview process, learning new job-related duties and performing new tasks. All of these things can cause someone to worry that they are not performing well enough, and they may begin to overanalyze themselves or their application documents due to concern that they are doing something incorrectly. While most people experience a mild form of performance anxiety throughout the job-search process, some individuals have so much anxiety that it makes the search particularly challenging.
3. Fear of change
If you are comfortable in your current position or have been in that position for a long time, changing your job might disrupt your current daily routine until you acclimate to the new position. For some people, this extended period of learning new things and understanding a new environment is an obstacle in their job search.
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes individuals to experience extreme fear and anxiety in certain public situations. For example, someone may be afraid to take public transportation or to work in an environment with other people. Many people with agoraphobia struggle to feel safe in public spaces, making it difficult for these individuals to find jobs in a traditional workplace setting.
How to overcome the fear of getting a job
If you're experiencing fear about getting a new job, there are several tactics you can implement to help overcome that fear. Here are a few effective ways to confront new job anxiety:
1. Get to know your fears
If you feel fear related to getting a new job but aren't certain where that fear is coming from, it can be difficult to address that fear. Take some time to determine exactly what frightens you when it comes to starting a new position. Whether it is the interview process or meeting new people, the more you understand what you're afraid of, the better you'll be able to address it.
Once you can name your fears, you'll be able to find specific resources for overcoming those fears. In doing this, you may discover that your fears are not uncommon and you are not alone, which may be reassuring.
2. Prepare for the interview
A common fear people experience in relation to getting a new job is the job interview, which may cause them to avoid preparing for the interview at all. Being under-prepared only increases this anxiety, so a great way to combat interview-related fear is to spend time getting ready. There are several things you can do to ready yourself for an interview, including:
- Researching the company
- Creating a list of questions to ask about the position and company
- Making a list of the relevant skills and experiences you possess
- Rehearsing interview questions with a friend or colleague
- Preparing your clothes the night before the interview
- Driving to the interview location the day before the interview to ensure you know how to get there
- Printing out copies of your cover letter and resume to provide to the interviewers
3. Take care of yourself
Good self-care practices can help ease your anxiety and ensure you're prepared and confident for an interview or first day at a new job. Adequate sleep, a healthy diet and exercise can all help stabilize your mood. Try meditating or yoga to reduce stress and calm your mind, and consider implementing any other strategies that help you relax.
On the day of your interview or your first day at the new job, practice breathing exercises—these can help settle your mind and decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The calmer you feel going into an unfamiliar situation, the less afraid you're likely to be.
4. Convince yourself you're good enough
Many people fear getting a new job simply because they're afraid they won't be good at it. The more confident you are in your abilities, the less likely you are to experience this fear of failure.
One way to convince yourself that you're capable of performing the job is to make connections between the tasks listed on the job description and the tasks you're already good at. Additionally, if you have professional recommendations, consider reading what other people have said about you to remind yourself that you are good enough.
Related: How To Overcome Fear of Failure
5. Keep your expectations realistic
When you get a new job, remember that you will be new to the position for some time. Your ability to perform the tasks will come with experience and practice. Rather than going into a new job expecting to know everything, give yourself room to make mistakes and grow within your position. With this patient attitude toward yourself, you'll likely improve in your role, and positive feelings will follow.