When starting a new job, it's perfectly normal to feel some anxiety about your upcoming role. A new work environment paired with novel responsibilities and a team of strangers can cause even the most confident person to feel a bit uncertain. However, you can use a few tips and strategies to help you channel your emotions into positivity and productivity. In this article, we explain what job-related anxiety is and provide a list of ways you can use anxiety with a new job to help you meet your professional goals.
What is new-job-related anxiety?
Many people encounter new-job-related anxiety when preparing to begin a new position due to the many changes and uncertainties a new job brings. Anxiety can take a variety of forms, from a mental health diagnosis you can manage with medical support to an occasional feeling of being overwhelmed or underprepared in specific situations. For many people, this sort of anxiety is passing and can even be re-channeled into confidence, excitement and motivation with a little practice.
Strategies for using anxiety with a new job to help you meet your goals
There are multiple strategies you can use to help shift the negative energy of worry and uncertainty into positive feelings that will help you achieve your work-related objectives. Review this list of strategies for using your new-job-related anxiety to help you meet your professional goals:
Focus on your skills
If you start to feel anxious on your way to your first day at your new job, remind yourself that the company hired you for a very specific reason. Review your skill set, accomplishments and training in your head. This can not only help you feel more confident in your abilities, but it can also prepare you well for the work you'll do when you arrive at your new office.
Know you're not alone
While the office or workspace might be full of strange faces, remember that each of them was once facing the same room with the same trepidations. More than likely, the team is excited to welcome you to the organization and understands the anxiety about your new role. Smile and make eye contact with your peers when you get to work on the first day to help establish a friendly workplace persona and begin building rapport with your new coworkers.
Appreciate the novelty
Most people feel a little unsettled when faced with new situations since many people prefer familiar environments in which they're comfortable. If you're feeling anxious about the novelty of a new office and strange coworkers, take a deep breath and remember that in a few weeks, these feelings of newness will be gone, and you'll feel just as comfortable as you did at your last workplace.
Bolster your confidence
Anxiety can put you in a state of high emotion and high energy. If you're finding that you're pacing outside the building or jiggling your leg on the drive to the office, actively focus on channeling that nervous energy into confident energy. Think about the things you're most excited to explore in your new role and what inspired you to apply for this position initially. By the time you enter your workspace, you can greet your colleagues with positivity and confidence rather than nervousness and fear.
One of the best ways to feel comfortable and establish yourself professionally in a new workplace setting is to build rapport with your colleagues. For some people, meeting lots of new people can cause anxiety on its own, even without the added new job pressure. Remind yourself that, while these people are relative strangers today, more than likely, you'll form friendly professional relationships with many of them, making your work experience comfortable and happy. Make it a goal to get to know one or two people every day during your first week to help establish these relationships without feeling too overwhelmed.
Create a comfortable workspace
After the initial meetings and onboarding, you may have some time to settle into your personal workspace. Bring some personal items from home to decorate your space and make it feel comfortable and inviting. The sight of familiar, beloved objects can help soothe your anxiety and help you feel comfortable in your space, ready to work.
Establish a routine
Routines involve knowing what's coming next, which can help your mind relax and focus on the present task rather than worrying about what to do next. Work to establish a formulaic and sustainable routine during your first week at work. It can help soothe your anxious feelings and prepare you to maximize your productivity every day.
Understand your feelings
For those who suffer from feelings of anxiety only in high-stress situations like starting a new job, it can be useful to identify the root cause of the feeling to help dissipate or refocus it. If you're feeling anxious before your first day or on your way to work on day one, try to identify what it is exactly that's overwhelming or scaring you. If you can pinpoint the cause, you'll probably be able to rationalize the fear and calm your emotions before arriving at work. For example, maybe you're worried about fitting in with your coworkers. Understanding that you can slowly get to know your colleagues and bond with them over time can help take the pressure off of doing so right away.
See the possibilities
Much of the time, situational anxiety means you care deeply about the outcome of the situation you're in. Feeling anxious about starting a new job is a good sign that you're excited about the professional prospects that await you and you want to perform well in your new role. Use that energy to set professional goals and see the possibilities this new position might provide you with.